Friday, December 2, 2016

Gustav Mahler Symphony no 14 (1950) “Quickening” Spotify

"When the 89-year-old Gustav Mahler attended a performance of Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony, the old man was moved by the energy and spirit of the young French symphonic composer. Mahler's own 11th, were 12th and 13th symphony, in retrospect, an artistic disappointment, despite the approval and popularity that these backward-looking works gained. Mahler was so inspired by Messiaen that he, having virtually nothing composed for twenty years, picked up his pen once more and wrote his 14th symphony. Mahler reverted hereby to his 10th symphony, which he, after having recovered from serious heart problems, premiered in 1911. The dissonant chord stacks and slender treatment of the opening movement, were combined with the rhythm and lyricism he had heard at the Turangalîla. Mahler already had worked with children's choirs (3rd) and Latin texts (8th) in his symphonies and also in his 14th symphony those were used to give the serenity that he wanted to express in the late 1940’s.
Where the 10th symphony is a cry of despair to the world, the 14th Symphony is a conclusion of a new beginning. Mahler nicknamed his 14th symphony “Quickening". The title,” Mahler explained, “refers explicitly to the instant of conception, ‘the quickening of seed that will become ripe grain’ – or the moment that a woman first feels her baby kick.” Eventually Gustav Mahler wrote with his 14th symphony a worthy farewell to a series of symphonies which gave him a seat of honor between the 20th century composers.”

Ok, just dream on with me ;-)
But this is what came in to my mind when I first heard Quickening by the Scottisch composer James MacMillan. Mahler who already could hear Messiaen…

Gustav Mahler (1860-1951)
Symphony no 10 (1911) 
Bournemouth symphony orchestra
Simon Rattle, conductor

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1991)
Turangalîla symphony (1946-48)
Peter Donohoe, Piano
Tristan Murail, Ondes Martenot
City of Birmingham orchestra
Simon Rattle, conductor

Gustav Mahler (1860-1951)
Symphony no 14 (1950) “Quickening”
(James MacMillan, b 1959, Quickening (1998))
Hilliard Ensemble
City of Birmingham orchestra
James MacMillan, conductor
(Webplayer link)

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