Gustav Mahler

"Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen"

            As we all know, the world changed in permanent and profound ways shortly after Mahler’s death.  In most respects the cataclysm of World War I was the turning point of modern history--all that was before passed away, and the horrors of the ensuing times began.   Mahler’s introspection seems to understand that the “Guns of August” were near.  His life’s epitaph perhaps is best heard in his poignant song, Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen.  It is one of his last works, and part of the group of Rückert-Lieder, after the poet, Friedrich Rückert, who not only wrote the poetry for this group of five songs, but also for Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder (“Songs on the Deaths of Children”).  They were given their première in Vienna in January of 1905.

Adagietto

           Gustav Mahler’s excruciatingly beautiful music is laden with the melancholy and presentiment of hopelessness that often infused late nineteenth-century Romanticism.  His large-scale symphonic works often require large numbers of performers (in great variety), and can challenge the endurance of the audience, as well as that of the players.  More recognized in his time as conductor than as composer, he assiduously composed in summers, while pursuing a strenuous conducting career that was brought to an early end by heart disease.  He was married in 1902 to the famous--some would say infamous--and beautiful Alma Schindler, a woman almost twenty years his junior.

Songs of a Wayfarer

            Gustav Mahler’s excruciating beautiful music is laden with the melancholy and presentiment of hopelessness that often infused late nineteenth-century Romanticism.  His large-scale symphonic works often require large numbers of performers (in great variety), and can challenge the endurance of the audience, as well as that of the players.  More recognized in his time as conductor than as composer, he assiduously composed in summers, while pursuing a strenuous conducting career that was brought to an early end by heart disease.  He was married in 1902 to the famous--some would say infamous--and beautiful Alma Schindler, a woman almost twenty years his junior.

Symphony No. 2 in C Minor “Resurrection”

            When Gustav Mahler died in 1911, at the age of fifty-one, his years cut short by heart disease, by most measures he had enjoyed an enviable life and career.  He was respected as one of the most effective and innovative of opera conductors; his leadership of some of the world’s most admired symphony orchestras had set new artistic standards; his songs and his symphonies were beginning to enjoy a modicum of success in respected artistic circles; and he was married to one of the most attractive, talented, and vivacious women in Europe.  But, that is a sadly incomplete picture.  In point of fact, after ten years of leading the musical life of the world’s most important musical city, he was hounded out of his tenure as conductor of the court opera and the Vienna Philharmonic by a

Symphony No. 4

        Gustav Mahler’s excruciating beautiful music is laden with the melancholy and presentiment of hopelessness that often infused late nineteenth-century Romanticism.  His large-scale symphonic works often require large numbers of performers (in great variety), and can challenge the endurance of the audience, as well as that of the players.  More recognized in his time as conductor than as composer, he assiduously composed in summers, while pursuing a strenuous conducting career that was brought to an early end by heart disease.  He was married in 1902 to the famous--some would say infamous--and beautiful Alma Schindler, a woman almost twenty years his junior.

Symphony No. 5

            When Gustav Mahler died in 1911, at the age of fifty-one, his years cut short by heart disease, by most measures he had enjoyed an enviable life and career.  He was respected as one of the most effective and innovative of opera conductors; his leadership of some of the world’s most admired symphony orchestras had set new artistic standards; his songs and his symphonies were beginning to enjoy a modicum of success in respected artistic circles; and he was married to one of the most attractive, talented, and vivacious women in Europe.  But, that is a sadly incomplete picture.  In point of fact, after ten years of leading the musical life of the world’s most important musical city, he was hounded out of his tenure as conductor of the court opera and the Vienna Philharmonic by a