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For Gustav Mahler, there was nothing abstract or escapist about music. ?The symphony must be like the world,? he insisted. ?It must embrace everything.? He lived up to that ideal spectacularly, creating works of such emotional range and imaginative power that each feels like a world in itself. Uniquely, Mahler made himself the prism through which that wealth of experience is refracted. This revolutionary biography utilizes traditional and new media to ...
For Gustav Mahler, there was nothing abstract or escapist about music. ìThe symphony must be like the world,î he insisted. ìIt must embrace everything.î He lived up to that ideal spectacularly, creating works of such emotional range and imaginative power that each feels like a world in itself. Uniquely, Mahler made himself the prism through which that wealth of experience is refracted. This revolutionary biography utilizes traditional and new media to provide a uniquely rounded portrait of this visionary composer and his earthshaking music.
This multimedia biography also includes:
--2 CDs of music spanning Mahlerís career
--Free access to a dedicated website with hours of extra music and other bonus material
Stephen Johnson studied at the Northern School of Music, Manchester, under Alexander Goehr at Leeds University, then at Manchester University. Since then he has written regularly for The Independent and The Guardian, and was Chief Music Critic of The Scotsman. He has also broadcast frequently for BBC Radio 3, 4 and World Service, including a series of fourteen programs about the music of Bruckner for the centenary of the composerís death. He is the author of Bruckner Remembered, a contributor to The Cambridge Companion to Conducting, and a regular presenter for Radio 3ís Discovering Music. In 2003 Stephen was voted Amazon.com Classical Music Writer of the Year.
I am three times homeless: a native of Bohemia in Austria; an Austrian among Germans; a Jew throughout the world.
Of all the remarks attributed to Gustav Mahler, this one is perhaps the most famous. From a geographical and ethnic perspective it is, of course, completely accurate. Throughout his life, Mahler was conscious of being an outsider, never quite 'at home'. However, the saying also contains an important spiritual truth. Here Mahler clearly identifies himself with the archetypal romantic figure of 'The Wanderer', celebrated in the titles of three songs by his beloved Schubert, as well as in the same composer's famous 'Wanderer' Fantasy for Piano and great song cycle Winterreise ('Winter Journey'). Mahler may also have had a much older figure at the back of his mind: the legendary 'Wandering Jew', according to tradition punished for mocking Christ as he carried his cross by being condemned to wander over the face of the earth until Judgement Day. In the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Austrian Empire, anti-Semitism was, as we would now say, 'institutionalised'. The Church still taught that the Jewish people were collectively responsible for the death of Christ, and that their dispersal throughout the world (the so-called 'diaspora') was their divinely ordained punishment. Wherever he went, and no matter how much success he achieved as an artist, Mahler continued to run up against anti-Jewish attitudes — expressed sometimes in the form of mild, unthinking prejudice (routine 'Jewish jokes') and at other times as pure, virulent hostility.
Chapter 1: Three Times Homeless
Chapter 2: The Wanderer
Chapter 3: Resurrection
Chapter 4: Beyond All Bounds
Chapter 5: Alma
Chapter 6: Heights and Depths
Chapter 7: A Hymn to Eros
Chapter 8: Catastrophe
Chapter 9: 'To Live for You, To Die for You'
Annotations of CD Tracks