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My Favourite Composer


I love Mahler.

Pretty much anything by Gustav Mahler gives me the shivers. It could be Symphony No. 1, where the opening multiple-octave ‘A’ just shimmers in a dynamic level that is at the very edge of being audible. It could be the ‘Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen’, with the opening song of such joy and light-heartedness. Or it could be Symphony No. 5 (my ALL time favourite symphony), the opening of which is one of the most evocative things I’ve ever heard.

It’s amusing to look back on that because I would never have cottoned this much to Mahler when I was younger. Mahler is far enough into late Romanticism and the dissolution of tonality (hey, how’s THAT for a pretentious sentence?) that it wouldn’t have made sense to me, even though I liked things like Mozart and Bach already.

The common wisdom is that your musical tastes settle roughly in your early teens, and are often violently opposed to that of your parents. It’s some sort of artifact of the need to make your individuality that all adolescents feel. It’s also a bit unfortunate, because after experiencing the wonderfulness that was acquiring a taste for Mahler (and assorted other Romantics), I wonder how many people are missing out on something they’d  love simply because they don’t sit and give it a chance. What do you the readers think about the development of musical tastes as we grow older?

Music is such a personal thing I can’t fault them for being steadfast to what they ‘know’ is amazing. But I think how many things that my education exposed me to in terms of music, and I wonder how many potential Bach fans out there are still obsessed with AC/DC and nothing else.

Not that there’s anything wrong with AC/DC! Hmm, where is my recording of Thunderstruck…


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