A Musicologist Writes #6
During my recent deep and penetrative research into Chinese influences in the works of Gustav Mahler (with particular reference to "Das Lied von der Erde" and the unfinished Eleventh Symphony "Das Lied der Farbenblinden Pekinesen" (Manuscript held in the Chetnole Library of Congress Threadbone Collection LC/AJT/5786777765665533333344441414232425266622cii), I was struck by the notable similarity between the composer and a man I believe to have been a progenitor of the late (sic) Professor Brian Thrupiece - Herr Dr Dr Dr Dr Alma Mahler Werfel Gropius Durchstucke. Both, as the image below illustrates, were near contemporaries and would have been about 50 years of age at the time of their depiction. Their dates were: Mahler (1860-1911); Durchstucke (1858-1943).
Mahler's tragedy - as is well known - is that he died too young; Durchstucke's - as is less well-known - that he lived too long, surviving into an era which had moved well-beyond the barrel-organ and automatic-piano music for which he was best known. Alas there is little chance that we will hear his Suite for Three Barrel-Organs and Alphorn "Rustikale Momente hinter der Hecke" any time soon, whilst the once popular compendium presciently entitled "Album der Stücke, die Bald Vergessen Werden" is long out of print and, following a fire at the Musikverlag Knochen-einfädeln where all of his manuscripts were carefully discarded, unlikely ever again to see the light of day.
Still it is good to be reminded of the random filter of history which resurrects and celebrates the composer of great 19th century Germanic symphonies but forgets the man who's tunes were once the constant accompaniment to Erntefeste und Abendessen. As the great Wolfgang Amadeus von Schiller-Goethe-Kant famously wrote "Oh Zeit, du Scheiße, du beraubst mich um alles außer meiner Gelenkentzündung" ["Oh time you shit-feast, you rob me of everything save my arthritis"].*
*Wolfgang Amadeus von Schiller-Goethe-Kant [1512-1525] was a child prodigy. Born in Neustadt am Rübenberge [Lower Saxony], he suffered from several conditions - especially arthritis - long before they had been discovered in Germany. He is often regarded as the founder of modern German physiology and it is widely surmised that Mozart's mother - Doris Mozart - who was a martyr to the complaint may have named her son for him. The Wolfgang Amadeus von Schiller-Goethe-Kant Institute in Clopenberg is not, however, named for him, rather for another man bearing the same name.