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Mahler as Social Critic: The Finale of the Seventh Symphony

(This article is from my doctoral dissertation, Mahler’s Seventh Symphony, Modernism, and the Crisis of Austrian Liberalism.)

No other movements of a Mahler symphony has engendered the kind of controversy and hand-wringing among critics and scholars as the finale of the Seventh. It could be said in this regard that the finale is the Achilles heel of the symphony, preventing the symphony in the eyes of some from achieving a greatness it might otherwise have attained. For, it also might be said, if Mahler had succeed in composing a finale that could be heard as bringing the prior four movements together in a clearer symphonic focus, the symphony as a whole might be more favorably considered. This is… Continue reading

Playing Classical and Finger-style Acoustic Guitar Without Nails

— Article in process —

I do not play with nails. This was born of simple necessity and not for a particular technical or aesthetic reason. I was playing a lot of viola when I began studying classical guitar, and it is difficult to properly hold the viola bow with long nails; particularly the thumb nail. When I began classical guitar study, I discussed this issue with my teacher James Hunley, who assured me that one could produce a fine tone without using nails. James was and is correct. James uses nails and has a beautiful tone, one of the finest I’ve heard. Nevertheless, he worked with me to learn to play without nails rather than insist on the long-standing… Continue reading

Singular Lessons I learned From Each of My Teachers

--- Article in process --- As I compiled the list of my primary teachers over the years, I realized that irrespective of the length of time I spent with each one (in some cases years, in others just a few weeks), all my teachers had an important impact on my musical life. The essay I hope to write will highlight at least one extremely important lesson I learned from each teacher. I owe much to my teachers, and this in turn has inspired me to teach, coach and advise musicians to whatever extent possible. Continue reading