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EXCO-605: When Mahler Met Freud

Instructor: Paris Lavidis

In 1910, Gustav Mahler met Sigmund Freud. Strictly speaking, this extremely famous meeting concerned the composer’s marriage – Alma, his wife, had recently engaged in an affair – but, as an unintended consequence, the historical record of the event concerns to a far greater degree Freud’s account of Mahler’s music, an integral part, it seems, of his psychoanalysis of the man behind it. Using this event as inspiration, this course will attempt both to perform a psychoanalysis of Mahler’s music and to tackle the conceptual framework of psychoanalysis through Mahler’s music, emphasizing the ways in which musical form, especially as seen in the German tradition of which Mahler is often considered the apex, becomes charged with psychoanalytic function. As a result, students will not only gain personal intimacy with both Mahler’s music and the conceptual framework of psychoanalytic theory, but also the way in which the hybrid paradigm of “psycho-musico-analysis” plays out in Beethoven, Brahms, Berg, Schönberg, Lachenmann, as well as others with varying degrees of distance from Mahler. Weekly lecture responses will be collected; further, there will be a term project involving the analysis of a work, either by Mahler or not, that engages with the paradigm developed in the class.

Course Application: https://docs.google.com/a/oberlin.edu/forms/d/1y0u6Wu2PI_t_F9Uqs_Ccmq5ZroQrzcDj2wqgokRdUIU/edit?usp=drive_web

Emails: plavidis@oberlin.edu

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