Mahler warns about his music
Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-05-07
The erudite and often hilarious Language Log demonstrates a bucket load of reasons why I (and perhaps anyone with an ear attuned to Bach) should hate Mahler.
"Mahler’s score markings" (2009-05-06) gives "accurate" translations of the directions in his manuscripts – which explains why Mahler sounds like Mahler does.
This covers a translation of various Mahler instructions by a professor of modern linguistics and second violinist in an orchestra – a translation also noted by the New Yorker music reviewer.
My anti-favorite because it makes no logical sense is:
Somewhat louder, though still inaudible as before
But the what-it-should-sound-like instructions are even more damning:
- do not look at the conductor
- with more intense inner torment
- with indescribably horrific inner torment
- From this point on, the spit valves should be emptied with ever-increasing emotion
- with steadily decreasing competence
- as if wild animals were gnawing on your liver
Yeah, they are unofficial and certainly not literal translations… but pretty darn accurate according to my ear.