I have copied this excerpt from a NPR news transcript below

ALSOP: Isn't it nice? It's very pleasant and sunny and sounds like spring time. And, you know, it really belies the enormity of this piece and what's about to happen and the fact that Moller even gave it the subtitle - he only used it for the first two performances - but the Titan, modestly, as he always did, of course.

Is Titan, Moller here? And do the last few sentences means something like: "Though this is a masterpiece which he should be proud of, he is still humble"?

  • Some modern performances and recordings give the work (Symphony No. 1 in D major by Gustav Mahler) the title Titan, despite the fact that Mahler only used this label for two early performances. I assume Moller is some kind of weird misspelling of Mahler. – FumbleFingers Apr 13 '14 at 13:14
  • @FumbleFingers: It's not that weird a misspelling … they'd be pronounced the same in American English. I'd guess this dialogue was turned into text by a computer, and then corrected by an editor who didn't catch all the mistakes. – Peter Shor Apr 13 '14 at 13:16
  • @Peter: It seems pretty weird to me that such a radically different spelling should occur once in a transcript containing twenty-three instances spelt correctly. – FumbleFingers Apr 13 '14 at 13:20
  • 2
    Mooseorgie always titled his works modestly. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 13 '14 at 13:56
  • 1
    The but is a discourse marker, indicating the speaker is returning to the topic he digressed from. And modestly is meant ironically. – StoneyB on hiatus Apr 13 '14 at 14:49

This particular conversation does not read well in the transcript due to the speakers using extremely informal language.

The speaker is using "modestly" sarcastically and the gist of the meaning is that Moller [sic] once subtitled Symphony No. 1 in D major "Titan" which, characteristically, is not very modest.

The "but" (as StoneyB notes in the comments) "is a discourse marker, indicating the speaker is returning to the topic he digressed from."

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