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John Adams…the first source of reference for anyone seriously interested in Mahler, is the massive multivolume biography by Henry-Louis de La Grange…For those who desire a more manageable overview of this artist's extraordinary life and work, Jens Malte Fischer's Gustav Mahler…is a good place to start. At 700-plus pages, Fischer's book is no bagatelle either, but it is the work of a sympathetic writer who takes pains to establish the historical and cultural milieu that informs Mahler's music. His affection for his subject is palpable, the descriptions of the rural setting of the composer's Bohemian childhood are evocative, and the discussions of the symphonies and song cycles are original and refreshingly opinionated.
—The New York Times Book Review