(Written 18 Oct 2011, after a discussion about the use of trumpets. )

Dear All,

Fred had written; Listen to the trumpets in the last 48 secs of the Amorosa aria from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro.


My reply; Mozart’s bright use of trumpets is good, but Mahler’s parody of things marching and military with trumpets and horns in ‘Song of the Night’ is great!


Fred’s response; That Mahler piece. I waited til minute 9 for the trumpets. At minute eleven I nearly heard a tune. Far be from me to denigrate a piece I don’t understand, but I can report that it’s better than Bartok.

Now, take that! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8x3wCoh9Mes&feature=related

My reply; Verdi’s Triumphant march is everything we expect it to be. There are no surprises. Trumpets sound the reveilli, flags flutter in the breeze, uniformed men march in step, and even – in minute 1:55 in the clip Fred has included for our edification – a young girl looks up, proudly waving the men on to battle. Sadly it a fraud, it is a lie.
And Mahler has seen through the lie. In minutes 08:45 and 11:33 of the ‘Song of the Night’ we hear the clear reveilli and the well-worked musical echo calling us to battle, but the music soon descends into the miserable muddle that really is war. Whenever there is the start of a stirring march in his composition, about to hit its stride, Mahler points beyond the veneer of parades and medals to a deeper reality of discord and sadness. Mahler was a real ‘mench’.
Incidentally, you may well be right about Bartok.