Gustav Mahler


Born: July 7, 1860; Czech Republic   Died: May 18, 1911; Austria   Period: Romantic
"Imagine the universe beginning to sing and resound," Mahler wrote of his Symphony No. 8, the "Symphony of a Thousand." "It is no longer human voices; it is planets and suns revolving." Mahler was late Romantic music's ultimate big thinker. In his own lifetime he was generally regarded as a conductor who composed on the side, producing huge, bizarre symphonies accepted only by a cult following.
Born in 1860, in Kalischt, Bohemia, he came
Read more from a middle-class family. He entered the Vienna Conservatory in 1875, studying piano, harmony, and composition in a musically conservative atmosphere. Nevertheless, he became a supporter of Wagner and Bruckner, both of whose works he would later conduct frequently, and became part of a social circle interested in socialism, Nietzschean philosophy, and pan-Germanism. Around 1880, he began conducting and wrote his first mature work, Das klagende Lied. Mahler's conducting career advanced rapidly, moving him from Kassel to Prague to Leipzig to Budapest; he was usually either greatly respected or thoroughly despised by the performers for his exacting rehearsals and perfectionism. In 1897 he became music director of the Vienna Court Opera and then, a year later, of the Vienna Philharmonic. Mahler's conducting career permitted composition only during the summers, in a series of "composing huts" he had built in picturesque rural locations. He completed his first symphony in 1888, but it met with utter audience incomprehension. He reserved this time for symphonies, all of them large-scale works, and song cycles. In Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth), he merged the two forms into an immense song-symphony. The Viennese public largely failed to understand his music, but Mahler took their reactions calmly, accurately predicting that "My time will yet come." Meanwhile, his autocratic ways as a conductor alienated musicians. In 1901, the press and the musicians essentially forced his resignation from the Philharmonic. He married a young composition student, Alma Schindler in 1902, and they soon had two daughters. By 1907 Mahler was increasingly away from Vienna, conducting his own works, and thus he resigned from the opera as well. Just after accepting the position of principal conductor of New York's Metropolitan Opera, but before leaving Vienna, Mahler's older daughter, age 4, died from scarlet fever and diphtheria, and he learned he himself had a defective heart valve. In New York, he was impressed by the caliber of talent and quickly gained audience approval. In 1909 he became conductor of the New York Philharmonic, which he found much more agreeable than the opera work by this time. The following year, he had a triumphant premiere of his massive Symphony No. 8 in Munich. Despite the professional successes, his personal life suffered another blow when his and Alma's marriage began having problems. They stayed together, and after he became ill in February 1911, she saw to it that he made it back to Vienna, where he died on May 18.
The conductors Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer, Willem Mengelberg, and Maurice Abravanel kept Mahler's legacy alive, and Mahler's are now among the most recorded of any symphonies. His frequent incorporation of vocal elements into symphonic writing brought to full fruition a process that had begun with Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, demonstrating his music's firm roots in the Germanic classical tradition. However, it was his huge tapestries of shifting moods and tones, ranging from tragedy to bitter irony (often explicitly indicated in performance directions), from café music to evocations of the sublime, that portended a century in which multiplicity ruled. Read less
Mahler: Kindertotenlieder; Schumann: Frauenliebe und Leben; Brahms: Four Serious Songs / Ferrier
Release Date: 11/08/2011   Label: Musical Concepts  
Catalog: 1153   Number of Discs: 1
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Kathleen Ferrier Sings Mahler
Release Date: 09/14/2010   Label: Musical Concepts  
Catalog: 1120   Number of Discs: 1
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Mahler: Symphonies, Nos. 3 & 4 / Paavo Jarvi, Frankfurt Radio Symphony
Release Date: 02/24/2015   Label: C Major  
Catalog: 719108   Number of Discs: 2
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Mahler: Symphony No 5 / Rosbaud, Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 02/26/2013   Label: Ica Classics  
Catalog: 5091   Number of Discs: 1
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Mahler: Das Lied Von Der Erde / Coote, Fritz, Albrecht, Netherlands Philharmonic
Release Date: 04/30/2013   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186502    Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen

Browse 101-108 of 108 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Mahler, Zemlinsky: Lieder / Von Otter, Gardiner, Ndr So
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439928 Release Date: 03/11/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander von Zemlinsky,  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Anne Sofie von Otter
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 102.
    Jascha Horenstein Conducts Strauss, Wagner, Mahler, Et Al
    Label: Vox Box Legends   Catalog: 5529 Release Date: 10/22/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Richard Wagner,  Gustav Mahler,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Norman Foster
    Conductor:  Jascha Horenstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 103.
    Mahler: Orchestral Songs / Haitink, Norman, Baker, King
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 454014 Release Date: 04/09/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Jessye Norman,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Hermann Prey,  James King  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 104.
    Mahler: Symphony No 2 / Sinopoli, Fassbaender
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 445587 Release Date: 02/01/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Rosalind Plowright
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Choir
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  • 105.
    Bruno Walter Edition - Mahler: Symphonies 1 & 2, Etc
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64447 Release Date: 01/24/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Mildred Miller,  Maureen Forrester,  Emilia Cundari
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Westminster Choir,  New York Philharmonic
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  • 106.
    Daniel In The Lion's Den / Daniel Perantoni
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 163 Release Date: 06/28/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Francis Mcbeth,  Ben Bernie,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Jean-Baptiste Arban  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Perantoni,  Lawrence Strieby,  Allan Dean,  Anthony Plog  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Strange
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arizona State University Symphonic Band,  St. Louis Brass Quintet
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  • 107.
    Mahler, Schumann, Martin: Orchesterlieder / Fischer-dieskau
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 336931 Release Date: 06/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frank Martin,  Robert Schumann,  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Conductor:  Hans Zender,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Zubin Mehta,  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 108.
    Mahler: Songs Of A Wayfarer, Etc / Hampson, Bernstein
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 431682 Release Date: 09/12/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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