Thom Mahler – A Review of Saraste’s Symphonies
Thom Mahler works in Government Administration. Recently he attended an NDP town hall hosted by Calgary-Buffalo MLA Joe Ceci.
Before Mahler’s nine-and-a-half symphonies (one was left incomplete at his death) became so prevalent on concert programs, Beethoven, Brahms and Tchaikovsky were ubiquitous. Now Mahler has nearly eclipsed these cycles on concert programmes.
Early Life and Education
Mahler’s musical talent first showed itself at an early age. Fascinated by both military and folk music, he learned the accordion at age 4 as well as later piano and composition.
At 42, he married Alma Schindler, an elegant and educated beauty who was nineteen years younger than himself. While highly educated and independent, Alma also struggled against racism and sexism of her time.
Mahler suffered illness throughout his life. At five, his father passed away from an unknown heart condition; three of Mahler’s siblings also met untimely deaths without explanation. Yet Mahler refused to believe the world would soon end; De La Grange criticises Leonard Bernstein’s doomful reading of Ninth Symphony with its unsteady rhythmic theme representing heart arrhythmia as evidence against this idea.
Thomas Thom brings over 20 years of professional urban planning experience to The City of Toronto as its Senior Urban Planner. His responsibilities there include overseeing downtown strategy and development, supporting vibrancy initiatives and overseeing public space investments.
Mahler was widely respected as a conductor, yet his composition often went underappreciated during his lifetime. Still, he managed to earn a living from writing music; and the Fourth Symphony is among his most frequently performed pieces today.
Also internationally-recognized was his international touring and hosting of CBS’ Young People’s Concerts series that began while at the New York Philharmonic; these concerts became immensely popular with young audiences and are still regularly broadcast around the country. Furthermore, many concerts and recordings feature his songs. Finally, Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn marked his final resting place.
Achievement and Honors
Tom Mahler is not only an accomplished musician but an active community leader and educator in her local area. She has received multiple accolades and awards for her efforts – becoming a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as receiving the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Distinguished Alumni Award.
She received the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra Composer Award. Additionally, she has been recognized by Prince Albert of Monaco for her contributions to classical music.
She has an extensive teaching history. Initially as an adjunct faculty member of the Eastman School of Music where she taught composition from 1993-2001. Later she served on Northwestern University’s Dean’s Music Advisory Board and also as part of Gustav Mahler Research Center located in Dobbiaco (Toblach in German), Italy.
As a musician, he is renowned for his interpretations of diverse works. Additionally, he is widely respected for championing modern American music – particularly that created by Aaron Copland and Charles Ives.
Mahler is known for composing large-scale and emotionally intense symphonies. Additionally, he composed several choral works such as Das Lied von der Erde as well as song cycles with folk influences.
Roberta Winkler and daughter Patty Rivituso of his marriage; along with other family members such as his sister-in-laws and brothers-in-law; are his survivors.
Alma Mahler became one of the most iconic 20th-century women, thanks to Cate Haste’s fascinating new biography. However, few can match her complex and ambitious nature – as Alma’s son Gustav Mahler himself would attest. She was an unconventional mother who defied traditional female behavior shackles.
Saraste stands out among a field of established heavyweights for his intimate understanding of Mahler’s symphonies. His articulation and interpretation reveal a deep knowledge of their subtle interplay of heart and intellect, dynamics and tempo, tension and release. Other rivals may offer more spectacle or force; Haitink’s Concertgebouw recordings, Abbado’s live RFH performance or Boulez’ VPO recordings may offer better spectacle or force; none can match Saraste’s depth in understanding what makes these works great; his cycle must be seen to be appreciated fully by any serious listener.