Have you guys heard about the curse of the ninth symphony? It’s an old superstition that you’ll die while writing your ninth symphony, or after.
Like..
Beethoven
Dvorak
Schubert
Mahler tried to skip it by naming his ninth symphony something other than a symphony and then died during the writing of his tenth
Williams
Glazunov
Bruckner
And some recent guy, Davies, laughed when people asked if he was worried about the curse of the ninth, and then was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with cancer.
Whoa.
Crazy right?
So crazy.

Sometimes I like to imagine classical composers with sassy t-shirts

For example

Chopin:

Mozart:

Brahms:

Shostakovich:

Bach:

Liszt:

Mahler:

Mussorgsky:


Beethoven:

Stravinsky:

Legendary Dutch conductor William Mengelberg’s score of the Fourth Symphony by Gustav Mahler, with both his and the composer’s notes. One of the annotations – at the bottom of the page quoting Mahler’s comments from rehearsal – indicates that the introduction of the famous, lilting first theme should be played like a Viennese waltz. This and other tempo markings, corrections and musical indications have proven to be critical to our understanding of this piece [not to mention to the modern performing edition].

Mengelberg was one of Mahler’s foremost advocates and invited him to Amsterdam numerous times to present his work at Concertgebouw. One of those visits, in 1904, was the occasion for a special double performance of the Fourth from which this score dates. Here are Mahler and Mengelberg two years later, with conductor and composer Alphonse Diepenbrock on the right:

In 1939 Mengeberg recorded the Fourth Symphony with Concertgebouw, a performance which remains one of the most intriguing Mahler readings I’ve heard. Download it [zip, 105mb].