Expression and Irony in the Songs and Symphonies
A unique study not of Mahler’s works as such but of Mahler’s musical style, Mahler’s Voices brings together a close reading of the renowned composer’s music with wide ranging cultural and historical interpretation. Through a radical self-awareness that links the romantic irony of the late 18th-century to the deconstructive attitude of the late 20th-century, Mahler’s music forces us to rethink historical categories themselves.
Yet what sets it apart, what continues to fascinate and disturb, is the music’s ultimate refusal of this position, acknowledging the conventionality of all its voices while at the same time, in the intensity of its tone, speaking as if what it said were true. However bound up with the Viennese modernism that Mahler prefigured, the urgency of this act remains powerfully resonant for our own age.