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Fascistic Mahler Fans

from The Virginian-Pilot

A concert-goer rustled a bag of gum during a Mahler symphony. A “violent attack” ensued.

By Isaac Stanley-Becker

It is said to represent the composer’s love letter to his new bride. And, like love, the Adagietto transports those who receive it – its atmospheric notes offering release from the grim foreboding and frenetic outbursts of the earlier movements of Gustav Mahler’s 5th Symphony.

But worldly concerns have a way of intruding: an iPhone light, a candy wrapper, one too many trips to the restroom.

The rustling of a gum wrapper at a performance of the symphony last week in the Swedish city of Malmo brought a section of the audience back down to earth, and brought several concertgoers to blows. Mahler’s late Romantic epic became the occasion for an epic clash over candy.

As Andris Nelsons, an eminent Latvian conductor, coaxed the quiet notes from the string section of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, a woman in the balcony rustled a bag of gum, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reported. A young man sitting next to her glared a few times and then lost his patience. He snatched the bag from her and threw it onto the floor.

Witnesses told the daily newspaper published in southern Sweden that the woman sat stoically through the rest of the Adagietto, which typically lasts about 10 minutes (“very slow,” Mahler instructed in the score), and the vigorous and triumphant finale. The symphony, composed in 1901 and 1902, has been described as a “large-scale journey,” similar to climbing Mount Everest. Leonard Bernstein conducted the Adagietto at the funeral services for Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

But as the concert hall vibrated with the final, resounding notes, and as applause rang out, she exacted her revenge….

[ click to continue reading at The Virginian-Pilot ]

Posted on October 22, 2018 by Editor

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