Joseph Delaplace, Deviation and distanciation in the Scherzo of Gustave Mahler's Seventh Symphony

The Scherzo from Mahler's Symphony n. 7 is entirely characteristic of a compositional practice whose constituent elements are not always immediately obvious. This article aims to identify the salient traits and the aesthetic influences of a score wherein the unsettingly strange is mixed with themes of a quasi-citation quality and of a deceptively innocent gaiety. The complex musical language of this work also integrates material of a decidedly popular nature. Mahlerian distanciation in the context of the Scherzo form and of the symphonic genre in general is the key feature of this analysis, which relies on Adorno's concept of "variant" and on the piece's writing-out of repetition. With Adorno's study of the composer as a reference, it is ultimately the paradoxical modernity of Mahler's writing that will be investigated.