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Mahler Today — November 9: The Welte-Mignon Recordings

Exactly 116 years ago, today, one of the biggest treasures for any Mahler lover was created: the Welte-Mignon recordings of Mahler playing four of his works on the piano.
Mahler recorded four rolls in a single session on November 9th, 1905 at the Welte-Mignon recording studios in Leipzig.
What happened during the recording session? According to texts published by the Welte company, the artist was seated before a grand piano equipped with the Welte system, it automatically replayed the tempo, phrasing, dynamics, and pedalling of a particular performance, and not just the notes of the music, as was the case with other player pianos of the time."
Mahler's comments in Welte's visitor's book are briefer than those of most of Welte's other recording artists, but nevertheless, show that he was deeply impressed: 'In astonishment and admiration, I join those who have preceded me [in this book]. Gustav Mahler.'
Mahler recorded all four of his rolls in a single session on 09-11-1905. He chose two of his songs, the vocal finale to his Symphony #4 and the first movement of his Symphony # 5 (which he had completed the previous year), all in arrangements for piano solo. The readings are fast, impulsive, and full of highly individual touches, presumably suggesting the manner in which Mahler intended his own works to be interpreted.
Gustav Mahler, ˆsterreichischer Komponist. Photographie von Moriz N‰hr. 1907. The Austrian composer Gustav Mahler. Photograph by Moriz N‰hr. 1907.


(H/T: The Mahler Foundation)

Resurrection and 49-Day Ceremony for Chris (w/ Zander’s Mahler 2)

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Listening to THIS, right now, on the train from Munich back to Regensburg, after officially welcoming Hyon Mun Sunim back to Europe.

We did a short, sweet 49 Day Memorial chanting tonight because today is the 49th-day of my brother, Christopher Paul Muenzen (M.D.) passing out of his body. Just today! Following the vast mixture of his karmic affinities, accumulated over a lifetime, he might be returning to (human?) bodily form.

Text

Fourth Movement: Urlight (Primal Light)

Original German:English Translation:O Röschen roth!
Der Mensch liegt in größter Noth!
Der Mensch liegt in größter Pein!
Je lieber möcht’ ich in Himmel sein!
Da kam ich auf einen breiten Weg:
Da kam ein Engelein und wollt’ mich abweisen.
Ach nein! Ich ließ mich nicht abweisen:
Ich bin von Gott und will wieder zu Gott!
Der liebe Gott wird mir ein Lichtchen geben,
Wird leuchten mir bis in das ewig selig Leben!

—DES KNABEN WUNDERHORN
O little red rose!
Man lies in greatest need!
Man lies in greatest suffering!
How much rather would I be in Heaven!
I came upon a broad road.
There came an angel and wanted to block my way.
Ah no! I did not let myself be turned away!
I am of God, and to God I shall return.
Dear God will grant me a small light,
Will light my way to eternal, blissful life!
—From Des Knaben Wunderhorn



Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony is what I consult after this sweet chanting with Sunim in Munich (and a taste of his supreme self-made medicinal liquor for the occasion, fermented from funeral ceremony eats he collected at Tae Go Sah temple in the parched desert of fire-driven California, from where he arrived to us several days ago!).