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Rethinking Mahler$
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Jeremy Barham

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199316090

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199316090.001.0001

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The Earliness of Mahler’s Late Romanticism

The Earliness of Mahler’s Late Romanticism

The Poetics of the ‘Deceptive Perfect Cadence’ in the Ninth Symphony and Das Lied von der Erde

(p.51) 3 The Earliness of Mahler’s Late Romanticism
Rethinking Mahler

Mark Summerfield

Oxford University Press

The music of late Mahler recurrently features an elision of the traditional deceptive and perfect cadence progressions into a V–VI–I progression: a ‘deceptive perfect cadence.’ The way this progression is used in Mahler’s music can be related to Mahler’s descriptions of how musical works should be constructed, particularly his insistence on development, evolution, and the avoidance of clearly delineated boundaries. Schoenberg’s description of the use of the deceptive cadence to introduce a digression provides the basis for an alternative to descriptions of Mahler’s musical techniques, particularly those relating to closure or cadential practice, which concentrate on modernistic juxtapositions or the subversion of classical techniques. Instead, I will show how Mahler’s ‘digressive’ musical language relates to nineteenth-century conceptions of the organic fragment which reach back to the aesthetics of early romantics such as Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel.

Keywords:   Mahler, deceptive perfect cadence, Ninth Symphony, Das Lied von der Erde, digression, fragment, Schlegel

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