Web Eye Candy finds week 38
Posted: Sep 18, 2013
One day, Mahler was climbing the banks of a mountain stream with another musician. His friend, in a lugubrious mood, lamented that no more great music was being written. After Beethoven, Wagner, Bruckner and Mahler, nothing new of significance could be expected.Suddenly, Mahler stood rooted to the ground in an attitude of mock alarm. He gestured in consternation to the stream and cried, “Great God, look there !”
“What is it ?” asked his anxious friend.
“The last wave,” was Mahler’s reply.
One day, two men were walking on a bridge that crossed a small stream. One man represented the musical past, while the other represented the future, the radical, unpredictable future. The two men were discussing the disconcerting or conversely promising direction of new music. One was deeply pessimistic, envisioning a gloomy future for great music. The other was naively hopeful, youthfully candid. The two men were Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler. Brahms was the old, grumpy master, the great classicist; Mahler was the young, fervid modernist. While the old master was ranting at everything new, declaring that all the great works in music have already been composed, Mahler mischievously pointed to a ripple in the water on the stream below and uttered, “Look, there goes the last wave!” What was stated with a sense of sarcasm actually illustrates an important, and often forgotten point. Music, as Brahms reluctantly admitted, has no beginning or end.