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Mahler's VoicesExpression and Irony in the Songs and Symphonies$
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Julian Johnson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372397

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372397.001.0001

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Mahler and the Musical Voice

Mahler and the Musical Voice

(p.3) 1 Mahler and the Musical Voice
Mahler's Voices

Julian Johnson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Mahler's music foregrounds the idea of a musical voice, by means of rapid changes or even reversals of the expressive tone in which it seems to address us. This was underlined in his earliest songs and first major work, Das klagende Lied, in which the power of the voice is dramatically staged. His work, comprising exclusively songs and symphonies, constantly renegotiates the relationship between the actual human voice and the figurative idea of the voice in orchestral music. The legacy of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony plays a key role here. Mahler's use of the orchestra is explored in terms of how it constructs a collective voice but also in how it is used to fragment any unitary idea of voice; how it amplifies the idea of expression and, at the same time, undermines it.

Keywords:   voice, symphony, orchestral tone, lyric voice, fragmentation

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