Earlier this month, I drew your attention to the most disgusting Mahler recording in recent memory – a choral setting of the Fifth Symphony Adagietto to the words of ‘Ave Maria’. Neither the words nor the sentiments fitted the composer’s known intentions (see Why Mahler? pp138-9). The violation cannot be justified for any musical reason beyond cupidity.
Yet justify they try. In a note on the Choir of New College Oxford website, Professor Edward Higginbottom claims that it was all right to put godly words to Mahler’s Adagietto because Samuel Barber did just the same to his Adagio.
Can anyone here spot the hole in the logic? Give me strength…. Can’t the Oxford dummies tell the fundamental difference between a composer adding words to his own piece and having it vandalised a century later by a fellow called Higginbottom?
I won’t quote any further from his argument because it just gets sillier and sillier. Read it here, if you like, for yourselves.