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Thursday, September 08, 2005
The Curse of the Ninth

Gustav MahlerDid you know that there is a superstition among classical music composers called the curse of the ninth?

Fearing a rapid death soon after finishing their ninth symphony, composers started building on the idea that there was somehow a curse attached to it. You see, Beethoven never finished his tenth symphony. Schubert died right after his ninth symphony. So did Dvorak. So did Vaughan Williams.

Composer Gustav Mahler lived in fear of the curse of the ninth, to the point where he designed his ninth symphony, Das Lied von der Erde, to function as a song cycle instead of as a symphony.

This is just one of the things to learn at our upcoming 12-session class on Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schoenberg, taught by Time Out New York classical critic Daniel Felsenfeld.

And hey, Schoenberg’s complete works are available for free online as well. 

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