Archive for emi

The influence of Mahler on Lennon & McCartney

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Seen in a recent review of a Mahler complete edition on EMI:

Mahler’s influences on subsequent generations have been extensive and wide – Zemlinsky, Schönberg, Berg and Webern in Austria, Shostakovich in Russia, Britten in Britain and Copland in America are just a few to acknowledge their debt. He also spread beyond the limits of classical music with Paul McCartney writing, “I have always adored Mahler, and Mahler was a major influence on the music of the Beatles. John and me used to sit and do the Kindertotenlieder and Wunderhorn for hours, we’d take turns singing and playing the piano. We thought Mahler was great.”

Mahler’s songs often have a folk-like simplicity which is actually very moving with hints of nostalgia, lost love, absence and grief. Some of the Beatles’ songs, especially the slow numbers, explore these emotional effects musically. They are less inclined to use folk song: rather paraphrases of the popular ballads of the interwar years, although sometimes a very Russian-sounding folk song will pop up. Their songs wander in and out of keys and often have more than three chords. They were on a higher level than most of their contemporaries, except the Beach Boys.

What we can never be sure of is the level of influence that Sir George Martin had in his arrangements and the musicians that he recommended they studied. After all, he was working with them one week and Barbirolli or Boult the next.

There is also the infamous article that William Mann wrote pointing out similarities between the pandiatonic discords that end Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and begin A Hard Day’s Night. Perhaps this encouraged the two to play (or attempt to play) Mahler’s songs.

Lennon never mentioned this, but then he didn’t mention Martin’s attempts to get him to listen to Ravel. (I forget the exact words, but Lennon is reported to have said something along the lines of “Nice tunes, but they go on too long”).

78s

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Has anyone got any old scratchy vintage recordings which they love to death?

I have Alma Rosé. She was the niece of Gustav Mahler, at the time director of the Vienna Opera, and the daughter of Arnold Rosé, concertmaster of the Opera Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic. She was detained in Auschwitz and died there, but organised the orchestra.

The disc also has Vasa Prihoda and recordings of Arnold Rosé from 1900. It’s heart-breaking stuff.

I know that many 78s end up in skips, but I’m not crying, there’s plenty of 78s at the record fairs for the few collectors that there are nowadays. If we saved all 78s then there would be nowhere to keep them and they would really be worth nothing. For every hundred 78s in a skip there will be one or two rare ones.

I still buy and listen to vinyl LPs and 45s, I am not a “collector” as such, i.e. I don’t pay exorbitant prices for recordings that are available on CD.

I buy from charity shops and car boot sales and give unwanted or finished with stuff back to the shops. Some of the sound on the early 60s vinyl is unsurpassed, especially Decca, EMI and Mercury, although of course playing them too much is a problem.

The finest sound I have come across is on the first pressings of Decca classical recordings of the late 50s and early 60s, a combination of excellent reproduction and great engineering.

I always end up with many records that are no use to even the charity shops (although they would take them to be polite), “Des O’Connor’s greatest hits”, “Christmas with Andy Williams” type of thing. They usually end up on a skip.

%d bloggers like this: