19 July 2009

A gem of musical history

A some of you may know, I am somewhat of a Gustav Mahler fan.[a] I particularly enjoy his 5th and 7th symphonies, which are in my opinion, the pinnacle of modern symphonic compositions, although I have not yet heard his 9th which is supposed to be his best work. However, as enthralling as modern playings are, I am always saddened when I cannot hear a piece directed by its original composer. And considering that Mahler died in the early 1900s, long before the advent of half-decent recording technologies, I pretty much had no hopes of hearing the "original".

However, I've stumbled upon something amazing today. Apparently, Mahler recorded many of his work using piano rolls. And not the shitty "mechanical" rolls, he went all out and used the fancy pants piano rolls which reproduces dynamics (aka volume, speed, and all that stuff which makes a playing "human"). I am completely flabbergasted by how amazing this sounds given how crude the technology is. I am in complete and utter awe before this.

So without further ado, from Youtube, I give you Mahler!


Interpretations (First parts of 1st movements for now, the rest of the symphony can be found easily from the given links):

I will update these lists as I find other recordings.


[a] In exactly the same way punching a judge in the face is "somewhat" of a procedural faux-pas when it comes to appealing a ruling.