Mahler just scared the hell out of me

Must tell you this because I’m laughing at myself and am happy to give you the opportunity to do the same.

A few minutes ago I finished my rant about the NFL protests and a pompous dope I encountered, leading to an exemplary NYT opinion piece about the protests and the law.

While I was writing it, I was playing Mahler’s sixth symphony on my, um, Victrola. No, you know what I mean–my turntable. Because, yes, it is an LP.

Over the past years I’ve converted 12 feet of records into CDs and I’m down to the last ones–a couple of operas and all of Mahler’s symphonies. Of which there are ten.

Mahler wrote very long symphonies which can be very loud, as I’m sure you know, and very emotional. The sixth, which I’m not familiar with, had its moments but as we–the LP, the CD onto which I was transferring it and I–were getting to the final bars, I went to the turntable to hover over the needle because the CD holds only 80 minutes and according to my calculations I was running out of space. I was pretty sure I’d get all three sides onto one CD but didn’t want to take my chances.

So, there am I, sitting on the back of my couch, hovering over the LP and watching the needle on its final minute or so of the symphony. But unlike most of Mahler–the tenth if I remember is an exception–the tail end of the sixth was pianissimo, very very quiet. A whisper.

“Hm,” I said to myself,” this is really atypical of Mahler. I’ll bet he’s going to blare out some final fortissimo stuff.” But just in case, I leaned close to the speakers. At which point BLAM BLAM BLAM! LOUD!!! And although I was figuring he’d do it, he took me by such surprise, I literally jumped out of my seat, flailing like a cartoon animal.

And began laughing. Mahler had a sense of humor. Let’s call it the Mahler Surprises Naomi Symphony.

You can laugh at me, too. Go on; you have my permission.

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