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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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Genre and Voice

Genre and Voice

(p.164) 5 Genre and Voice
Mahler's Voices

Julian Johnson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The different voices of Mahler's symphonies are related to the variety of genres on which they draw. These are part of the historical idea of the symphony but, in Mahler's work, increasingly come to undermine the idea of a unified symphonic voice. This chapter explores the ways in which song forms shape Mahler's approach to the symphony, particularly the alternation of two voice types in the Wunderhorn songs. The intrusion of operatic modes is considered in relation to Mahler's engagement with opera as a conductor but also in terms of the historical tension between opera and symphony in the work of Wagner. The theatrical elements in Mahler are examined alongside the legacy of the symphony as the most prestigious form of the Austro‐German idea of an absolute instrumental music.

Keywords:   genre, song, symphony, opera, theater

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