Mahler, Mission Impossible and new games
Mahler, symphony no. 9. Mahler was apparently a little affected
by a superstitious worry to the effect that nine symphonies is
as many as a great composer is allowed. Bruckner didn’t even
manage to comlete his ninth, and Beethoven’s ninth was his last.
As it turned out, Mahler’s ninth was indeed his last completed
symphony. (There is a “performing version” of his drafts for a
Thirty-five years later, it seems quite likely that Shostakovich
deliberately thumbed his nose at this tradition of great ninth
symphonies (and thereby thumbed his nose at the Soviet
government, who expected something great of him), by producing a
ninth symphony that was short, not overtly dramatic, and which
seemed very slight.
Anyway, Mahler’s ninth is quite a mysterious work. Its opening
and closing movements are both slow movements (an
Andante and an Adagio), while its two internal
movements are quite raucous and full of strange eruptions of
sound. However, it’s definitely coherent and melodic at the
A recent movie:
Mission Impossible 2. We got this out on DVD.
It’s slickly done, but it suffers from a number of faults. It
has a serious case of Bond-envy; its plot is ridiculous; Tom
Cruise smirks far too much; the other good guys are far too
marginalised (the best part of the first MI movie was the
initial segment when you saw a team of operatives working
together; Cruise as lone operative dominating the plot destroys
that interesting, and distinctive, flavour), and those bloody
masks are used far too much.
Plot holes range from the typical ridiculous science (why didn’t
the operatives that stole the magic medicine pick up the disease
from the scientist carrying both the medicine and the disease on
the plane?) to the implausible assumptions. Why, for example,
on knowing where the bad guys were (great location, Sydney
Harbour), did the good guys not get in several truck loads of
police to arrest them? The Australian authorities would be more
than willing to arrest people that special US agencies fingered
Computer game options
I’m thinking of buying a new computer game; maybe Baldur’s Gate II or Age of Empires II. It’s interesting that
they’re both sequels. Both are apparently significant improvements on
their predecessors, which does at least suggest that their developers
have paid attention to what users have said, and thought about how to
improve what they’ve done.
I’ve recently been playing Panzer General II a bit.
(Another sequel! And then there’s Railroad Tycoon II...)
I like PG2 as a relatively mindless, but entertaining way of consuming