Gustav Mahler

Biography

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: Symphony No 8 / Solti, Chicago [Blu-ray Audio]
Release Date: 02/11/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001993346   Number of Discs: 1
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Mozart: Symphony No. 40; Mahler: Kindertotenlieder; R. Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra
Release Date: 02/11/2014   Label: Testament  
Catalog: 1489   Number of Discs: 2
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Mahler: Symphony No 6, Etc / Järvi, Royal Scottish No
Release Date: 02/03/2004   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9207   Number of Discs: 1
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Mahler: Symphony No 1 / Kegel, Dresden Po
Release Date: 12/11/2007   Label: Berlin Classics  
Catalog: 4913   Number of Discs: 1
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Mahler: Symphony No. 7 / Jarvi, Residentie Orchestra The Hague
Release Date: 07/27/2010   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5079   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Symphony no 3 in D minor

Browse 1-25 of 99 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Mahler / Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker [11-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 00206510 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Alban Berg
    Performer:  Eteri Gvazava,  Anna Larsson,  Renée Fleming,  Guy Braunstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Orféon Donostiarra,  Lucerne Festival Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    James Levine Conducts Mahler: Symphonies Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 & 10
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 7686092 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Judith Blegen
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 3.
    Bernard Haitink: The Symphony Edition [36-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002010702 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 36
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Lucia Popp,  Carolyn Watkinson,  Peter Schreier,  Robert Holl  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Netherlands Radio Chorus,  St. Willibrod Boy's Choir  ... 
    CD: $113.99
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  • 4.
    Mahler: Symphony No. 3
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 557 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Denis Wick,  Dennis Egan,  Claudio Arrau
    Conductor:  Jascha Horenstein
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  • 5.
    Boulez Conducts Mahler - Complete Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001931702 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Johan Botha,  Dorothea Röschmann,  Anna Larsson,  Christian Gerhaher  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    Mahler: Symphonies Nos 1-3  / Maazel, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 360 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Michelle DeYoung,  Sally Matthews,  Sarah Connolly
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    CD: $39.99
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  • 7.
    Claudio Abbado - The Symphony Edition [41-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001846502 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Violeta Urmana,  Thomas Moser,  Thomas Quasthoff,  Karita Mattila  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra Mozart,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $129.99
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  • 8.
    Wiener Philharmoniker Symphony Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001797302 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Hanna Schwarz,  René Kollo,  Kurt Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Karl Böhm,  Leonard Bernstein,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Monteverdi Choir  ... 
    CD: $163.49
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  • 9.
    Mahler: Symphonies No 1-10, Das Lied Von Der Erde / Royal Concertgebouw
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 12101 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Bernarda Fink,  Ricarda Merbeth,  Miah Persson,  Camilla Nylund  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Harding,  Mariss Jansons,  Iván Fischer,  Daniele Gatti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Netherlands Radio Choir,  Boys of the Breda Sacrament Choir  ... 
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  • 10.
    Label: Farao   Catalog: B108046 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Christian Böld,  Markus Wolf
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
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  • 11.
    Label: Farao   Catalog: S108047 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Markus Wolf
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
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  • 12.
    Mahler: Symphonies 1-9 / Gergiev, London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Lso Live   Catalog: 730 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Elena Mosuc,  Zlata Bulycheva,  Anna Larsson,  Laura Claycomb  ... 
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev,  Joseph Cullen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  Tiffin Children's Choir  ... 
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  • 13.
    Mahler: Symphony No. 3; Berg: Lulu Suite
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 3160 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Alban Berg,  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Mary Lindzey,  Hildegard Rutgers
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon
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  • 14.
    Mahler: Symphony No  3 / Stenz, Cologne Gurzenich Orchestra
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 648 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Michaela Schuster
    Conductor:  Markus Stenz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Mahler: Symphony No 3  / Schwarz, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony
    Label: Artek   Catalog: 57-2 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Catherine Wyn-Rogers
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir,  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Mahler: Symphony No. 3 / Thomas, DeYoung, Pacific Boychoir, San Francisco Girls Chorus, San Francisco Symphony
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 60045 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Michelle DeYoung
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Chorus,  San Francisco Girls Chorus  ... 
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  • 17.
    Mahler: Symphony No. 3 / Honeck, Pittsburgh Symphony
    Label: Exton   Catalog: 450 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Michelle DeYoung,  George Vosburgh,  Peter Sullivan
    Conductor:  Manfred Honeck
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Mahler: Symphony No 3 / Tennstedt, London Philharmonic
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5033 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 19.
    The Mahler Project / Michael Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 39 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Isabel Bayrakdarian,  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson,  Michelle DeYoung,  Alexander Barantschik  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Chorus,  San Francisco Girls Chorus  ... 
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  • 20.
    Mahler: Symphony No 3 / Fujimura, Nott, Bamberg Symphony
    Label: Tudor Records   Catalog: 7170 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Mihoko Fujimura
    Conductor:  Jonathan Nott
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Mahler: Symphony No 3 / Fink, Jansons, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 10004 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Bernarda Fink
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Netherlands Radio Choir,  Boys of the Breda Sacrament Choir  ... 
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  • 22.
    Mahler: Symphonies no 3, 6 & 10 / Adler, Vienna SO
    Label: Classics   Catalog: 51279 Release Date: 07/07/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Hilde Rössl-Majdan
    Conductor:  Charles Adler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Boys' Choir,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 23.
    Klaus Tennstedt - The Complete Mahler Recordings
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 94493 Release Date: 06/07/2011   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Doris Soffel,  Edith Mathis,  Ortrun Wenkel,  Lucia Popp  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir,  Southend Boys Choir  ... 
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  • 24.
    Mahler: Symphonies No 1-10 / Zinman, Zurich
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 72723 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Anna Larsson,  Juliane Banse,  Birgit Remmert,  Luba Orgonasova  ... 
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra,  Schweizer Chamber Chorus,  Zurich Vocal Ensemble  ... 
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  • 25.
    Mahler: Symphony No. 3; Debussy: La Mer / Mitropoulos, Cologne Rso
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5021 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Gustav Mahler
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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