Embrace Everything - The World of Gustav Mahler

Embrace Everything - The World of Gustav Mahler

The Embrace Everything podcast series is an exploration and celebration of the music of Gustav Mahler. Throughout his life, Mahler insisted that music had to, literally, embrace everything. This makes his compositions unusually rich in what they offer both audience and musicians. Each season will explore a different Mahler symphony and include interviews with leading conductors, music scholars and musicians. Additionally, Mahler’s own words and those of his contemporaries will be read by actors.

Episodes

June 10, 2020 2 min

Season 1 focuses on Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D major (1888), taking listeners back to the work’s origins in the street songs, folk tunes and bugle calls of Mahler’s childhood. Each episode is devoted to a movement of the symphony. Guests include conductors Kent Nagano and Michael Tilson Thomas; principal musicians of the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam; and scholars ...

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Gustav Mahler’s First Symphony is the story of a young man beginning his journey through life. In fact, it is Mahler himself, looking at the world with wide-eyed wonder. Originally, he titled the first movement “Spring Without End,” for its depiction of the joys of nature. 

Guests include Michael Tilson Thomas (San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony), Kent Nagano (Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg State Opera and Philharmonic...

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In the second movement of his First Symphony, Gustav Mahler draws upon the dance music of his youth. As his mood becomes more exuberant, so too, does the music.

Guests include Michael Tilson Thomas (San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony), Kent Nagano (Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg State Opera and Philharmonic), Marilyn McCoy (Columbia University), Philip V. Bohlman (University of Chicago), and Christian Glanz (University...

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Early audiences found the third movement of Gustav Mahler’s First Symphony grotesque, macabre and unsettling. Inspired by an engraving entitled “The Huntsman’s Funeral,” Mahler juxtaposes death with humor, incorporating a popular children's melody—a brilliant touch that still delights and spooks audiences today. 

Guests include William Hudgins (Principal Clarinet, Boston Symphony Orchestra), Dominic Seldis (Principal Bass, Royal...

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Gustav Mahler originally titled his First Symphony “Titan,” because of the mighty struggle between his hero and fate, a monumental battle that reaches its climax in the fourth movement. 

Guests include Michael Tilson Thomas (San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony), William Hudgins (Principal Clarinet, Boston Symphony Orchestra), Jennifer Montone (Principal Horn, Philadelphia Orchestra), Marilyn McCoy (Columbia University), and C...

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Season 2 focuses on Mahler’s Second Symphony in C minor (1894), delving into Mahler’s gigantic musical exploration of life, death, and what lies beyond. Each episode is devoted to a movement of the symphony. Guests include conductors Kent Nagano and Michael Tilson Thomas; principal musicians of the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra; and scholars from Columbi...

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Mahler’s Second Symphony begins with the funeral for the hero of his First Symphony. The dramatic music rages with sorrow and anger...but also hope, for life after death.

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For his Second Symphony, Mahler created a second movement he described as a memory, “a ray of sunlight, pure and cloudless, out of the hero’s life.” The music is bittersweet.

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In the summer of 1893, Mahler wrote a song, entitled “St. Anthony of Padua’s Sermon to the Fish.” It turned out so well, he incorporated melodies from it into the third movement of his Second Symphony.

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The fourth movement of Mahler’s Second Symphony is a delicate song for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. It’s a turning point in the symphony, where the protagonist’s spiritual wisdom blossoms.

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Mahler described the last movement of his Second Symphony, which includes two soloists and a chorus, as a colossal fresco of The Day of Judgement. All of humanity meets its maker, and Mahler stretches his musical wings, soaring to glorious heights.

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