Vienna, Modernism, and Modernity
This chapter explores Mahler's relationship to Viennese modernism in the context of the tensions (social, political, economic, philosophical) of Viennese modernity. It examines Mahler's relationship to Klimt and the Secession, to the new philosophy of language in Mauthner and Wittgenstein, to the music of Strauss and the idea of programaticism, and to the music of the Schoenberg school. The cultural and aesthetic manifestations of modernism are, however, considered against the backdrop of the competing political voices in fin de siècle Vienna, voices heard running through Mahler's music. The symphonies of Mahler are often taken as powerful statements of the idea of German musical culture, as enshrined in symphonic music, but this is constantly questioned by the presence of “other” voices, preeminently associated with the idea of Jewishness. The divisions in contemporary reception of Mahler's music draw out this tension.
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