Anyone who enjoys listening to classical music, like Tunde Folawiyo, will be aware of Gustav Mahler, a Post-Romantic composer famed as much for his operatic and orchestral conductor skills as he was his compositions.
Mahler was keen to push the boundaries of music, and it was this passion that led to him greatly expanding the Romantic orchestra, specifically for his work, the ‘Eighth Symphony’, for which he required more than a thousand instrumentalists and vocalists, including an organ, an extensive percussion section, two harps, quadruple winds, an adult choir, a children’s choir and eight solo vocalists. In addition to the nine symphonies which he composed, Mahler was known for song cycles such as ‘Kindertotenlieder’, and ‘Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen’.
Born in Kalischt on the 7th of July, 1860, Mahler was raised in a large family, and had a total of eleven siblings. He demonstrated an aptitude for music at a young age, and his father, noticing this talent, decided to hire a piano teacher to provide the boy with lessons. Mahler had his first recital in public at just ten years of age. The positive reception which he received during this and subsequent performances eventually led to him being enrolled in the Vienna Conservatory.
Here, he received lessons from Julius Epstein, and befriended other students, including Hugo Wolf and Hans Rott. During this period of his life, he also became fascinated with the philosophical theories of Nietzsche, and the music of Wagner. After turning eighteen, he began to create what would be his first major composition, entitled ‘Das Klagende Lied’. In general, his experiences at the conservatory were very positive; in addition to developing a highly unique and sophisticated style of composing, he also won several awards for his piano playing.
Over the next three decades, Mahler continued to compose, but earned his income primarily from conducting operas and orchestras, initially in Hungary and Bohemia, and later, in Hamburg, Budapest, Leipzig, Prague and eventually Vienna. He developed a reputation as a highly innovative conductor, due to the way in which he chose to present operatic works – particularly those by Wagner. He passed away when he was fifty years old, after having suffered from an infection.
Whilst classical is one of his favourites, Folawiyo enjoys many different music genres. Those who share his passion for this subject may have spotted Tunde Folawiyo featured in Maestro Media.