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Scholarly Journeys Toward Gustav Mahler – Essays in Honour of Henry-Louis de La Grange for his 90th Birthday

Edited By Paul-André Bempéchat

This collection of essays forms the second Festschrift to honour the dean of Gustav Mahler research, Henry-Louis de La Grange, on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday. It includes vibrant, new historical, theoretical, and aesthetic research on the complex mind which produced among the best-loved orchestral works and songs of Western classical music.
Henry-Louis de La Grange's passion and tireless devotion to Gustav Mahler began when he first heard his Ninth Symphony conducted by Bruno Walter at Carnegie Hall in New York. He went on to plumb the depths of this composer's mind and soul and to explore every facet of his existence.
Among the many honours he has gleaned since the publication of the first Festschrift, Neue Mahleriana (Lang, 1997), Henry-Louis de La Grange has been named Professor by the Government of Austria (1998) and Officier de l'Ordre de la Légion d'honneur (2006). He has also been awarded Bard College's Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters, the Österreichisches Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst, 1. Klasse (2010), the Gold Medal of the Internationale Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft (2010), and an honourary doctorate from The Juilliard School (2010). As another everlasting tribute, the American film director Jason Starr released his documentary film, For the Love of Mahler: The Inspired Life of Henry-Louis de La Grange, in 2015.
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Mahler and the Organ



Some of the most thrilling moments in Mahler’s symphonic output feature the organ: the climactic ‘Aufersteh’n’ (fig. 48, movement 5) outburst of the Second Symphony (1895); the thundering opening of the Eighth Symphony (1910). However, these two works—with the exception of the continuo-like role in the unusual Suite after the Orchestral Works of J. S. Bach (1910)—constitute the only examples of Mahler’s use of the instrument. If, as Thomas Schäfer claims, ‘There is no musical category in the work of Gustav Mahler so neglected in the history of its effect…than instrumentation’1 then the organ’s pivotal role in these grand symphonic statements is indeed worthy of investigation. Following a brief survey of the organ’s use in the nineteenth-century concert hall and opera house, I propose that Mahler exploits certain musical characteristics unique to the organ in order to conjure up a sense of temporal and spatial ‘otherness’ at these pivotal moments.

The organ has long inspired a sense of awe, both for its physical and spiritual majesty, and as a symbol of complex engineering. Mozart famously called it ‘the king of instruments’,2 and the young Gustav Mahler was profoundly impressed by the organ in the Jakobskirche in his native Jihlava/Iglau, whose large golden angels seem to take flight from the casework.3 As with all instrumental design, huge technological advances were made in organ construction throughout the nineteenth century, and the Industrial Revolution led to vast...

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