What are you listening to today,
and what drew you to that particular piece, performer, or genre?

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I'm having a Mahler interlude this evening. 

I just listened to several different performances of the Mahler 5th Adagietto.  This one, conducted by Gergiev in his pre-toothpick days, is my favorite.  He has so perfectly captured the Fin de Siècle sound and feeling.

Death in Venice, anyone?

This Mahler is lovely. I like Gergiev too and all of his interpretations. It sounds like a lament of lost love, and I suppose it is. Those long suspensions and low strings really stab you in the heart. Did he write this before the war or after?

Hey Ken - your question prompted me to do a little research! Mahler wrote his Fifth Symphony in 1901-1902, the years he met and married his beloved Alma.  Legend says that the Adagietto is a love song to Alma.  Here's the poem Gustav wrote to her:

(How much I love you, you my sun,
I cannot tell you that with words.
I can only lament to you my longing
and my love, my bliss!)

So maybe what we both hear as longing for a lost love, was instead his tenderness for his "found love"!  Knowing what we know about their later lives, and the war and the end of an era, it's hard for me not to read future events into the slow-moving, profoundly moving beauty of this movement. 

That's one of the gifts of true masterpieces - they contain an infinite number of facets.

Harmonia, you mentioned Gergiev, which reminded me of a great film with him conducting in a ballroom scene. The film is Russian Ark. Have your seen it? Everyone should see it! Filmed in the Hermitage by Sokurov in one single shot.

https://youtu.be/pRm9pX5Re8o

Ken, thank you so much for the link you posted.  I've been hearing about Russian Ark for years, but have never seen it.  I don't even know where I can find the entire film to watch.  Do you know of a site? 

I so enjoyed the Ballroom Scene - Gergiev with a baton and neat hair is quite a rarity!  This Youtube video led to another, about 26 minutes in length, that is a portion of the film.  One of these days I will be able to say I've seen it all!!

You're welcome, Harmonia! Doesn't your library have DVD's? In Illinois the libraries are connected and anyone can get anything. I There are pirating sites, but try a library first. It's worth the effort, Good luck!

That's a good idea, Ken.  I'll try that!

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