Order of Guimarães 2012
2 Bb clarinets (2nd + Eb clarinet)
1 bass clarinet
Percussion (3 musicians)
Mahler represents the end of an era: the era that watched the last few years of the Austro-hungarian Empire and the transition to the modern world, a world that was, mainly, being forged in this Empire: Freud, Marx, Einstein, Kafka, Schoenberg and Wittgenstein destroyed the security of that civilisation so dear to Franz Joseph. Mahler, a morave who began his career in Prague, the fetish city of Mozart and Kafka, felt – more than any other – the "malaise in civilization" described by Freud, who went so far as to psicanalise him in the very same year of his death, 1911 (also the same year of "Death in Venice" by Thomas Mann, whose protagonist is based on the composer).
This malaise, which is combined, in Mahler, with a terrible death impulse, a poisoned gift from the Germanic romanticism to european twentieth century, haunts all his works. Jew, Mahler did not live up to the advent of nazism, therefore he did not assist to the creation of hell on Earth, which will take so many of their own people. The vision of the symphony as a " world", made him a visionary, that piles up buggle calls, military marches, popular songs, religious hymns, allusions to other composers and the more varied paraphernalia in a music that, since his death, never failed to haunt the composers which experienced the destructive zeal of the totalitarianisms of the twentieth century, composers such as Chostakovitch, also accused of "cosmopolitanism" (accusation made in particular to soviet jews by Stalin): "All my symphonies are tombstones" confessed Chostakovitch. The same could have been said by Mahler regarding the most part of his music.
But are we facing the real Mahler? Masked under a profusion of beautiful melodies, a brilliant orchestration, and a mass of sound produced by mamouth orchestras, death lurking, but we chose to ignore it. As the viennese of 1914, we dance, while our world is falling apart.