Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

Gustav Mahler and the Symphony of the 19th Century

Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

Gustav Mahler and the Symphony of the 19th Century

Article excerpt

About Other Composers and Musicians Floras, Constantin. Gustav Mahler and the Symphony of the 19th Century. Translated by Neil K. Moran. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2014. x, 397 pp. ISBN 978-3-631-62689-4 (hardbound): $85.95; 978-3-653-02427-2 (ebook): $85.95. www.peterlang.com

This English translation is an expanded version ofMahler und die Symphonik des 19. Jahrhunderts in neuer Deutung that was first published in 1977 (with a second edition appearing in 1987). It describes Mahler's symphonic works as the culmination of a tradition that was increasingly influenced by personal experiences and extra-musical ideas. Floros's exploration of the foundations of this tradition begins with Beethoven. Mahler and his contemporaries such as Liszt, Tchaikovsky, and Strauss felt that some of Beethoven's orchestral works (particularly the Third, Fifth, Sixth, and Ninth Symphonies) were best understood as expressions of poetic or programmatic ideas. In particular, Mahler's belief in the primacy of content over form was influenced by Beethovenian models in which expansion of the symphonic idea and creation of unifying musical elements ("flashbacks") both lent to the perception of these works as programmatic. …

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