“Mahler wanted to live, that’s the whole point!”
Do you remember the first time you heard Mahler’s music?
Pappano: My first encounter with Mahler’s music was, of course, with the vocal music; the RÃ¼ckert-Lieder ”“ Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen [I am lost to the world] had a huge impact on me, but you know, strangely enough, the song that stays with me is Liebst du um SchÃ¶nheit [If you love for beauty]. I know that song was originally not part of the group, but it’s so specifically Mahlerian. Mahler’s identity is absolutely unmistakable ”“ in three notes. And this is what made such a huge impression on me; it couldn’t be anybody else.
It’s very popular to say that Mahler was influenced by this or that. He was a conductor, the greatest conductor of his generation, certainly for opera, and he had everything in his head, so of course his music can be a mishmash of all different things; but what you do with this mishmash, what you do with your influences and how you make them into something that is your own ”“ he did that like nobody else.