"It's Mahler!" declares Leonardo DiCaprio (in the role Teddy Daniels) in Martin Scorsese’s 2010 film Shutter Island when Mark Ruffalo's character wonders if the music played on a gramophone is from Brahms: an understandable mistake, since the Bohemian composer was deeply inspired by Brahms. When it comes to his symphonies and song cycles, Gustav Mahler is one of the most immediately recognizable composers, but the quartet movement for piano, violin, viola and cello performed here—composed in 1876 when he was only 16 at the end of his first year as a student at the Vienna Conservatory—shows both the marks of his youthful Brahmsian devotion and the signs of the budding composer’s unique melodic inventiveness.
Though based in the United States during its composition, Austrian Fritz Kreisler’s little-known String Quartet in A Minor, performed here by members of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, shows his enduring devotion to his native land and its capital city. The 1922 work is sophisticated and ambitious, and as he himself put it, “This is my confession or avowal to Vienna, what that city meant to me, and my great love of the Viennese spirit.”
Time to Celebrate Zubin Mehta