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: Symphony No. 1 / Thierry Fischer, Utah Symphony
Release Date: 09/11/2015   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 715   Number of Discs: 1
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Mahler 10 / Nezet-seguin,  Orchestre Metropolitain
Release Date: 09/18/2015   Label: Atma Classique  
Catalog: 2711   Number of Discs: 1
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Mahler: Symphony No. 5 / Myung Whun Chung, Seoul Philharmonic
Release Date: 09/25/2015   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002376302   Number of Discs: 1
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Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn / Connolly, Henschel, Et Al
Release Date: 11/14/2006   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 901920   Number of Discs: 1
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Mahler: Das Lied Von Der Erde / Herreweghe, Remmert, Et Al
Release Date: 07/11/2006   Label: Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord  
Catalog: 1951477   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Symphony no 5 in C sharp minor: 4th movement, Adagietto

Browse 101-108 of 108 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Adagio Mahler: Adagietto From The Fifth Symphony, Etc
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8552243 Release Date: 05/13/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Ewa Podles
    Conductor:  Antoni Wit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice
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  • 102.
    After Hours Classics Vol 4 - Orchestra Plays Adagio
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 423 Release Date: 11/19/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Huang Zi,  Takashi Yoshimatsu,  Anton Bruckner,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki
    Conductor:  Kurt Eichhorn,  Tadaaki Otaka
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bruckner Orchester Linz,  Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 103.
    Schubert/Mahler: Death And The Maiden;  Mahler / Mito Co
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 61970 Release Date: 02/20/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Franz Schubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mito Chamber Orchestra
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  • 104.
    Adagio / Karajan
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 445282 Release Date: 05/16/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  Leon Spierer,  Michel Schwalbé,  Frank Maus
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 105.
    150 Jahre Wiener Philharmoniker - Bruno Walter
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90114 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 106.
    The Joy Of Bernstein
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 445486 Release Date: 05/03/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Gustav Mahler,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Jan-Hendrik Rootering,  June Anderson,  Sarah Walker,  Klaus König  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Children's Choir,  Berlin Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 107.
    Leonard Bernstein - A Tribute
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46701 Release Date: 12/27/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Ives,  Gustav Mahler,  George Gershwin,  Leonard Bernstein
    Performer:  William Vacchiano,  Leonard Bernstein,  John-Paul Bogart
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic Chorus
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  • 108.
    Barber Adagio And Other Romantic Favorites For Strings
    Label: Cbs Great Performances   Catalog: 38484 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Samuel Barber
    Performer:  David Nadien
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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