Adagietto: sehr langsam. Oder zu schnell?

Here is one fact : Mahler’s fifth symphony is his most accessible work; and among this piece the fourth movement is the most heard.

Serious music fans (those who spend thousands of hours listening to different versions of same music opus) tend to point out another fact, that most contemporary conductors (except Bruno Walter) tend to indulge in a cheap sentimentality by stretching this eight minutes (the length Mahler had conducted it) work into a syrupy twelve minutes.

The thing they hated most, of course, is that Luchino Visconti made this piece too famous in his Death in Venice.

Listening to music and enjoying them, it seems to me, has become first, a prestige, and second, a knowledge-oriented feat.

I wanted to pose just one little question to these people : do you think you understand this piece of music better than those conductors (assuming some of them are not sacrifying their conscience to cater for the artistic taste of the so-called general public) and Visconti?

Furthermore, if you do NOT know that Mahler had done it in eight minutes, would you insist, or even prefer it that way?

If you really care about the way it should be, not the way it sounds inside you, how do you explain that there is a note for this chapter « sehr langsam » which means « very slow »?

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