St. Thérèse - Nietzsche is my Brother

St. Thérèse and Gustav Mahler’s 10th Symphony

St. Therese Nietzsche

I forgot to mention that St. Thérèse: Nietzsche is my Brother, a play written by a Carmelite nun, is underscored by Gustav Mahler’s 10th symphony. The play follows five movements accompanied by Mahler.

I always liked Mahler but have not listened to him for a decade or more. At the time I liked him but thought him to be a bit melancholy. Now, of course, I am listening to Mahler again and have upgraded him to “reflective.” I think that’s because I’m approaching sixty and getting more reflective myself. I think I moved toward Mahler rather than him moving toward me.

I only can love classical music based on the inspiration of others and from other important factors in my life. I am not a musician and have no mastery whatsoever to love classical through its proper musical form. So, I rely, as in most things, on those who inspire me, particularly the saints.

From the introduction:

“The structure of Nietzsche Is My Brother deliberately calls to mind a musical score rather than a play: we note that the division is not into acts and scenes but into “movements,” five of them, to be precise (thus recalling, however, canonical Renaissance drama), each of which is accompanied by part of the corresponding movement in Mahler’s tenth symphony. Each “movement” enacts parallel episodes freely taken from the lives of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and Friedreich Nietzsche, in which they express their developing characteristic thought.”

When I first listened to Gustav Mahler’s 10th about fifteen years ago, I was doing something at the time and didn’t even know when it ended. I had to go back and replay the ending because it just sort of disappeared on me. It just died. After replaying, I thought it was the greatest, if not the most depressing, ending I had ever encountered.

At the time I thought it a bit too melancholy, but as I get older I find it more endearing. I’m pretty sure Mahler was depressed when he wrote it at the end of his life. He never actually finished it. It’s like his final goodbye. The presentation here is really powerful. If you want to listen to and watch a composer’s expression of his own passing on to oblivion, here you go (for just the finale, go to the 1:18:00 mark).

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