Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mahler tempo markings?

From a friend on Facebook, via David Pesetsky:
Rehearsal memo to the musicians of the Orchestra for the next rehearsal:

Several weeks ago, we sent you a list of translations of the German markings in the Mahler Symphony. We now realize that this list contained many serious errors. The following contains the correct versions. So we don't waste valuable rehearsal time on this, copy these corrections into your part immediately.

Langsam - Slowly

Schleppend - Slowly

Dampfer auf - Slowly

Mit Dampfer - Slowly

Allmahlich in das Hauptzeitmass ubergehen - Do not look at the conductor

Im Anfang sehr gemaechlich - In intense inner torment

Alle Betonungen sehr zart - With more intense inner torment

Getheilt (geth.) - Out of tune

Von hier an in sehr allmaehl icher aber stetiger Steigerung bis zumZeichen - From this point on, the spit valves should be emptied with ever-increasing emotion

Hier ist ein frisches belebtes Zeitmass eingetreten - Slowly

Haupttempo - Slowly

Noch ein wenig beschleunigend - Slowing down but with a sense of speeding up

Immer noch zurueckhaltend - With steadily decreasing competence

Sehr gemaechlich - With indescribably horrific inner torment

Etwas bewegter, aber immer noch sehr ruhig - Somewhat louder, though still inaudible as before

Alle Betonungen sehr zart - With smallish quantities of fairly mild inner torment

Gemaechlich - Intermission

Ganz unmerklich etwas zurueckhaltend - Slowly

Etwas gemaechlicher als zuvor - Slowly

Von hier ab unmerklich breiter werden - As if wild animals were gnawing on your liver
Ohne cresc. - Without toothpaste

Immer noch etwas zurueckhaltend - Slowly

Vorwaerts draengend - Slowly

Hauptzeitmass - Slowly

Allmaehlich etwas lebhafter - Screaming in agony

Ohne Nachschl(age) - Without milk (sugar)

Kraeftig bewegt - Slowly

Mit dem Holze zu streichen - Like a hole in the head

Mit Parodie - Viola solo<>

Sehr einfach und schlicht, wie eine Volksweise - Slowly

Daempfer ab - Eyes closed

Ploetzlich viel schneller - Even more ploddingly
Den ersten Ton scharf herausgehoben - Do not play until the buzzer sounds

Am Griffbrett - As if in tune

Aeusserst zart, aber ausdrucksvoll - Radiantly joyful, despite the itching

Wieder zurueckhaltend - Increasingly decreasing

Noch breiter als vorher - Better late than never

Nicht eilen - No eels

Allmaehlich (unmerklich) etwas zurueckhaltend - Much faster (slower) than conductor

Lang gestrichen - Heads up

Lang gezogen - Heads back down

Die werden allmaehlich staerker und staerker bis zum (fp) - In the event of a water landing, your seat cushion may be used as a flotation device


Anonymous said...

This comes from an April fool's day gag passed out at a rehearsal of Mahler's first symphony by the New Philharmonia Orchestra of Massachusetts. The author's home page is, and there's a downloadable PDF there.

Anonymous said...

He also gave an instruction to the clarinets to play with the bells up. I don't think it was Lang gestrichen but I have always thought it would be a wonderful metaphor for restrained exuberance. Do you know what it was and what piece?