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«THE EIGHTH SYMPHONY [268 blank] [269] On September 12, 1910 in Munich, under Mahler’s direction, the premiere performance of the Eighth Symphony ...»

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34 See the chapters on the Second Symphony, p. 177 and p. 242, note 13, on the Fourth Symphony, pp. 344-45 and p. 391, note 21, on the Sixth Symphony, p. 505 and p. 539, note 21, and on the Seventh Symphony, p. 574 and p.

615, note 26.

35 Both solo sopranos and all choral sopranos sing this line.

36 The second measure of this example (m. 313) erroneously indicates a G–B-flat dyad. It is actually an octave G from the men of choir 1; there is no B-flat.

37 The word play here between “Durchführung,” the term generally used in German for the development section, but which literally means “leading through,” and “Emporführung” (“leading upward”), is not possible to replicate in English.

38 These ideas have an echo in Greene’s assessment of the recapitulation. See Consciousness and Temporality, pp.

212-20 and note 28 above.

39 Bekker never clearly states that Pater seraphicus is cut entirely.

40 When Goethe’s stage directions are quoted by Bekker, they will be given in English with the original German in parentheses. When actual text is quoted, this will be reversed, with the English translation in parentheses.

41 Bekker’s caveats about the three-part division are interesting. It is clear that even at this early stage, there were at least some misgivings about the idea of three movements being rolled into one. Where it is preserved in later analysis, there always seem to be similar caveats. Greene, for example, preserves the Adagio, Scherzo, Finale model, as it assists him greatly in the presentation of his highly philosophical analysis, but divides the “Scherzo” and the “Finale” into four alternating sections (Consciousness and Temporality, pp. 229, 233). The differences in perceptions of genre are also noteworthy. Floros considers the first part “cantata-like” and the second as “closer to the realm of music drama,” with Parsifal as the most obvious model (The Symphonies, pp. 226-27). Mitchell, firmly holding to his perception of the first part as a motet, applies the “cantata” label, with convincing argument, to the second part, specifically stating that it is not a music drama, but conceding that the cantata genre is already close to the theater. He also allows for an application of the “oratorio” genre, particularly at the entry of the first male soloists. Ultimately, it is the freedom offered by either or both of these genres that is important: “No doubt this very lack of clear-cut formal and stylistic boundaries and definitions was exactly what Mahler wanted and exactly matched to what we perceive to be his formal needs as revealed to us in the actual composition of Part Two” (Songs and Symphonies of Life and Death, pp. 572-73).

42 With one minor (and arguably justifiable) exception, Bekker includes the entire Goethe text as set by Mahler, dividing it between musical examples and quotations in the body, often directly following an example with the text that succeeds it in the body. This is similar to the procedure used by Bekker in other vocal movements, such as the Finale of the Fourth. When an example is the only quotation of certain lines of text, the text and translation will be included in the caption for the example. The text will not be redundantly included in the captions for examples whose text is repeated in the body (such as the two directly above).

43 Greene’s analysis of the “Adagio” convincingly divides it into instrumental and vocal sections where each instrumental section has a corresponding texted passage. Even the anticipation of the “Scherzo” (here given as Example 8-48) that precedes the first vocal entry is analogous to the beginning of the actual “Scherzo.” It is in the discussion of the Pater ecstaticus solo where Greene’s interpretation is most interesting. He divides the solo into three phrases, where the first two strive increasingly toward a goal and the third, which culminates in the “core of eternal love,” does not actually fulfill or actualize that goal, but absorbs and intensifies the process (a smaller-scale reflection of the recapitulation in the first part). Love, then, is pure, subjectless loving. The subject of the process is totally merged with and submerged into the process itself (Consciousness and Temporality, pp.

222-26). This is not far removed from Mitchell, who focuses much of his discussion of Part II on these solo arias or songs and their role in establishing “Love” as the central topic of Part II (and the symphony). He divides the solo into an AABA’ form, where B is developmental and A’ is a reprise. He also emphasizes the expanded melisma at the end and states that this “rightly leaves us in no doubt that the idea of ‘immortal love’s core’ is the core of the symphony’s Part Two” (Songs and Symphonies of Life and Death, p. 575).

44 Bekker inserts two lines of dashes here without explanation. They seem to indicate Mahler’s omission here of the Pater seraphicus speeches and the responses from the blessed boys.

45 Indeed, as Floros illustrates, Pater profundus breaks into the “Accende” theme three times, always in imitation with instruments. These passages all speak of “love and enlightenment” (The Symphonies, pp. 230-31). Mitchell emphasizes the vividness of the nature imagery and the more complex musical language, but also points out that the formal outline is similar to that of Pater ecstaticus (Songs and Symphonies of Life and Death, pp. 577-78).





Greene also notes the similarities between the solos, but indicates that the forward pressure is more violent. Like the earlier solo, this one also, via the “Accende” theme, absorbs that pressure without actualizing its goal.

(Consciousness and Temporality, pp. 226-28).

46 In contrast to the temporal method of the “Adagio,” Greene sees these emphatic “arrivals” in the “Scherzo” section as arrivals without effort, essentially the opposite effect, but still one that illustrates that pure love is not about a process toward an arrival. There is either a process or an arrival, but the one is subsumed in the other.

With this in mind, Greene splits the “Scherzo,” considering the solo of Doctor Marianus and the appearance of the Mater gloriosa as the first part of the “Finale,” with the “Scherzo” resuming again for the three penitent women, Gretchen’s first appearance, and the return of the blessed boys (Consciousness and Temporality, pp.

228-31). Mitchell contends that this music is “not a scherzo at all, but a relatively fast flowing and brightly colored choral song.” He prefers to consider the central section of Part II as being in the “Wunderhorn” spirit.

He emphasizes the predominance of higher voices and the absence of adult male voices throughout the section.

Like Greene, he considers the following “Infirma/Uns bleibt ein Erdenrest” passage to be an interruption (Songs and Symphonies of Life and Death, pp. 579-80).

47 Bekker does not include the remainder of Doctor Marianus’s lines that are under the younger angels and blessed

boys. They are as follows:

–  –  –

48 Bekker inserts another line of dashes here, presumably because Mahler omits seven lines of the Doctor Marianus speech at this point.

49 The solo of Doctor Marianus is another passage that elicits much commentary. Greene believes that the solo is yet another variation on the concept of aspiration and fulfillment. Here, the music that aspires toward fulfillment is itself transformed. Instead of an “arrival,” the “aspiring” music itself is, in its course, unconsciously changed into music that “sustains” a fulfillment. The ensuing appearance of Mater gloriosa is not an arrival, but a departure for the Marianus solo that precedes it (Consciousness and Temporality, pp. 232-37). For Mitchell, the Marianus solo is curious in that E major is a key of aspiration and he begins there (including the first entry of the harps with a chord on E). He then modulates to the home key of E-flat for the end of his solo, which can be interpreted as him not quite being able to reach the heights of the Virgin Mother herself. This seems to be confirmed when the music swings back to E for the orchestral “Gloriosa” music. While Mitchell speculates elsewhere that it may have been logical for the symphony to end in E, the symbolism of the key meant that the symphony, like Doctor Marianus, could not end there (Songs and Symphonies of Life and Death, pp. 575-77 and 600, n. 16).

50 Bekker refers to the “Schlummerlied,” Op. 124, No. 16 by Schumann, which is in E-flat rather than E. Mitchell sees the materialization of the Virgin Mother as the moment when Part II crosses the nebulous boundary between dramatic cantata and music drama. He also notes that the entry of the chorus, beginning with male voices alone, women joining only to swell the choral sound later on, is symbolic of the choir being pulled upward by the “Eternal Feminine” (Songs and Symphonies of Life and Death, pp. 580-82).

51 Another line of dashes from Bekker indicates two lines of text omitted by Mahler.

52 Mitchell makes an interesting comparison of this canonic trio with the music of the three boys from Mozart’s Zauberflöte, but thinks Mahler’s own use of a canon by Weber as a vocal trio for his completion of that composer’s Die drei Pintos is a more intriguing model (Songs and Symphonies of Life and Death, pp. 587-88).

53 Greene asserts that this Marianus solo “is a condensed version of the whole Finale,” stating that it gathers together all the motifs from Part II. He says that Marianus’s plea is heard as having already been answered, and that an urgent striving toward a culmination is supplanted directly by a sustaining of that culmination without a direct arrival. This is the same process heard in his earlier solo (Consciousness and Temporality, pp. 238-39).

54 Goethe’s word “hier” is in the score; The word “nur” in the example before “wird’s Ereignis” is a misprint.

55 For Greene, the Chorus mysticus represents the same process as the two Marianus solos, but on a greatly expanded scale: “Human consciousness has not only been fulfilled, but in having already been fulfilled, it is also transformed. Hushed awe has been changed into unbuttoned exhilaration” (Consciousness and Temporality, pp.

239-40). Mitchell spends most of the last part of his analysis discussing the Chorus mysticus, including a comparison of Mahler’s setting to those of Liszt (in the Faust Symphony) and Schumann (in the “Faust” Scenes). He arrives at a conclusion that Mahler’s “compilation style” encompasses a sort of summary of composers who have come before him. He compares the Wunderhorn-like middle section, with its bright female chorus, to Wagner’s flower maidens in Parsifal, for example. It is also a summation of his own works to that point. A comparison of this E-flat-major conclusion to that of the Second Symphony is almost unavoidable. See Songs and Symphonies of Life and Death, pp. 182-92. One of Mitchell’s last points is that by the end of the symphony, any sense of duality is erased, a point also made by Greene, although his concept of the initial dualities is, as has been mentioned, rather different from Mitchell’s.



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