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 8 / Solti, Chicago [Blu-ray Audio]
Release Date: 02/11/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001993346   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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Mahler: Symphony No 2 / Mehta, Vienna Philharmonic [Blu-ray Audio]
Release Date: 02/11/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001993646   Number of Discs: 1
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Mahler: Symphony No 4 / Tennstedt, SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden
Release Date: 10/18/2005   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 5039   Number of Discs: 1
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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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Work: Symphony no 5 in C sharp minor: 4th movement, Adagietto

Browse 26-50 of 146 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    A Tribute To Maya Plisetskaya
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 101539 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Rodion Shchedrin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Gustav Mahler,  Charles Gounod
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  • 27.
    Live - Barber, Strauss, Mahler / Salerno-Sonnenberg, New Century CO
    Label: Nss Music   Catalog: 10 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Richard Strauss,  Gustav Mahler
    Conductor:  Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Chamber Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Label: Northquest   Catalog: 315003 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Antonín Dvorák,  Georges Bizet,  Alexander Borodin  ... 
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  • 29.
    Label: Northquest   Catalog: 315000 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Richard Wagner,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    CD: $11.49
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  • 30.
    Cantando / Massimo La Rosa, Elizabeth Demio
    Label: Fivefour   Catalog: 50138611 Release Date: 10/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Paul Hindemith,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Massimo La Rosa,  Elizabeth DeMio,  Teddy Abrams
    CD: $27.99
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  • 31.
    Bernstein's Mahler [DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001443709 Release Date: 07/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Ingrid Mayr,  Edda Moser,  Gerti Zeumer,  Judith Blegen  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Friends of Music Society Chorus,  Vienna Boys' Choir,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung  ... 
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  • 32.
    Mahler Adagios
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 08753 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Ortrun Wenkel
    Conductor:  Klaus Tennstedt,  Sir John Barbirolli,  Otto Klemperer,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 33.
    Mahler: Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001437902 Release Date: 06/22/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Yvonne Minton,  Brigitte Fassbaender
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Riccardo Chailly
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  • 34.
    50 Classical Music Favorites
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001388102 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Luigi Boccherini,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Heinz Holliger,  Italo Colandrea,  Antonio Perez,  Michael Copley  ... 
    Conductor:  Frans Brüggen,  Sir Colin Davis,  Kurt Masur,  Silvio Varviso  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
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  • 35.
    Over The Rainbow & Bach Again
    Label: Longhorn Music   Catalog: 2010002 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Randall Snyder,  Morten Lauridsen  ... 
    Performer:  Harvey Pittel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tex Sax
    CD: $12.99
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  • 36.
    Discoveries / Gustavo Dudamel
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001345802 Release Date: 10/06/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Arturo Márquez,  Gustav Mahler,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustavo Dudamel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
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  • 37.
    The Classic 100 Symphony
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 867769 Release Date: 10/06/2009   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ross Edwards  ... 
    Performer:  Mel Waters,  Kaori Kimura,  Takashi Harada,  Anna Fraser  ... 
    Conductor:  István Kertész,  Patrick Thomas,  David Stanhope,  David Porcelijn  ... 
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  • 38.
    Esprit - Zen
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5171 Release Date: 05/26/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Franz Schubert,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Hopkinson Smith,  Sara Mingardo,  Rolf Lislevand,  Philippe Jaroussky  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-Christophe Spinosi,  Rinaldo Alessandrini,  Laurence Equilbey
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Italiano,  Ensemble Kapsberger,  Accentus  ... 
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  • 39.
    Perfect Romance
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7480122 Release Date: 04/17/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonín Dvorák,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
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  • 40.
    For Mother - A Classical Bouquet
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001267302 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Jules Massenet,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Erik Satie  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Nigel Kennedy  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Adagio - The Ultimate Collection
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570015-16 Release Date: 02/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schmidt,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki,  Niklas Eklund,  Hana Mullerova-jouzova,  Jirí Válek  ... 
    Conductor:  Kenneth Jean,  Michael Halász,  Nils-Erik Sparf,  Stephen Gunzenhauser  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra,  Budapest Symphony Orchestra,  Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 42.
    Cinema Classics / Davis, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28270 Release Date: 02/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Lai,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Maurice Jarre,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 43.
    Best Of Stuttgart Sound - Roger Norrington
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93232 Release Date: 01/13/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Hector Berlioz,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 44.
    Romantic Adagios / Svetlanov, Marturet, Et Al
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17749 Release Date: 01/13/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Jacques Offenbach,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Dubravka Tomsic,  Herbert Waltl,  Marian Pivka,  Marián Lapsansky  ... 
    Conductor:  Frank Shipway,  Eduardo Marturet,  Theodore Bloomfield,  Oliver Dohnányi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra,  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 45.
    Oster Impressionen
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 182592 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Hermann Prey,  Rosemarie Lang,  Hermann-Christian Polster,  Annelies Burmeister  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Mauersberger,  Hans-Joachim Rotzsch,  Kurt Thomas,  Helmut Koch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Kreuz Choir,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Leipzig Thomaner Choir  ... 
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  • 46.
    Seiji Ozawa Celebrates 20 Years With The Boston Symphony
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 438887 Release Date: 11/10/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gustav Mahler,  Igor Stravinsky,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 47.
    10 Ans Et Toujours Naďve! - Mahler, Schubert, Vivaldi, Bach, Etc / Alessandrini, Korcia, Et Al
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5160 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Francois du Caurroy,  Leos Janácek,  Maurice Ravel,  Anatole Liadov  ... 
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  • 48.
    Relax - The World's Most Beautiful Music - Music For The Soul - 36 Tracks
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 17279 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Karl Jenkins,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Sabine Meyer,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Paul Beniston,  Hugh Bean  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Vonk,  Alberto Lysy,  Karl Jenkins,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Weimar,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Camerata Lysy  ... 
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  • 49.
    Meditation Classics / Masur, Suitner, Neumann, Bongartz,  Weigle, Et Al
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 184572 Release Date: 09/09/2008   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Egon Morbitzer,  Siegfried Stöckigt,  Oskar Michallik,  Hans Pischner  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling,  Heinz Bongartz,  Otmar Suitner,  Walter Levin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Berlin Radio Music School Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 50.
    After Work Hour - Classical Music Selection 4
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 182762 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Jean Sibelius,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Christian Funke,  Siegfried Stockigt,  Egon Morbitzer
    Conductor:  Georges Sebastian,  Heinz Bongartz,  Hans Vonk,  Herbert Kegel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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