Marvellous? Mahler

I have a box set of Gustav Mahler’s The Symphonies on 12 cds that I received as a Christmas present in 2007. After several listenings I remain indifferent to the sweep of his music. His life deserves a ten part bio-series though. After the Ken Russel’s over-the-top Mahler no one has been brave enough to take a serious look.

As a composer he falls between Beethoven and Schoenberg. The symphonies are sometimes tone poems and other time monumental complex pieces that include choirs, soloists & ponderous emotional intent. He also composed sets of lieder that are equally as ponderous. I have a recording of them as well.

The fact that I don’t really get Mahler, say the way I love Beethoven or Shostakovich, is a sign that my musical tastes aren’t sensitive enough. Much like Wagner I find listening to them more a ‘duty’ that a pleasure. I’ve been drawn into conversations about composers & have been made to feel that my partialities are a sign of a lack of intellect. Such is life. I’d rather be common that elite – which isn’t to forget that liking classical music already implies a certain elitism.

What else did he write? Good question. He incorporated some of his early work into his symphonies and then those original manuscripts are ‘lost.’ There is a partial paint quartet, the handful of lieder & that’s it. Maybe, like some Mozart, Bach & Vivaldi, those lost manuscripts will be discovered as kitchen shelf paper.

If you are unfamiliar with Mahler a good start is Symphony #B: “Symphony of a Thousand” that features baritones, sopranos etc plus a choir or two. Pump up the volume & left it pummel you 🙂

The Grinding

Festive readers, I am pleased to bring you a wrap up of the week-end’s events.  The highlight of which has to be the annual Lighting of the Trees. Held in several locations in the hills about Crab Apple Corners the horizon is illuminated by the first official rite of the season.

I choose to attend the ceremony at Hijil’s Farm – they had obtained two of the remaining stand of ancient red wood sycamores and had them flown in for the occasion. Trees so large they needed two helicopters to carry each of them.

The first flame was applied to them by our local Miss Pig Driver, Tanis-Lotus Flatly. The trees did us the great honour of being slow to ignite, but once they had been engulfed in flames the look of joy in the faces of the children was worth the wait.

Once these two trees were in flames, burning torches were taken to the sites where other trees were ready for the ceremony. The Great Maple at McCracken’s of Daw Hill was the next to be torched and quickly one could see similar fires all across the country side. Hijil’s Farm perched atop Green Bluffs gave us a splendid view of the various tributes to the season.

Once the first two trees had been burnt to cinders our parish Vicar Father Frank did The Grinding and was quickly joined by the other men who were of age, to participate in this ritual.

I was thrilled to be offered by my one and only Hank Grebly the fruits of his grinding. A jar filled with these delicate ashes and moose fat can sit proudly on any mantle piece. There will be enough here to guarantee me a year of fertility and good weather. After all, it only takes a pinch a day, tossed into the wind to catch the eye of the spirits for protection.

The carolling at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral was once again a thrill, especially now that the bells have almost been tuned. The climax of each verse is a ringing of these bells that echoes though our happy valley and shimmers through the fragrant smoke produced by the Lighting of the Trees.

January 10, Thursday: 8 p.m. Hot Damn! Its’ a Queer Slam – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: feature Regie Cabico

returning every Tuesday 2019

June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C. 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s – sweet,eh?

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr


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