Gustav Mahler

At Midnight
Dark Elegies
Shadow of the Wind
Splendid Isolation III

Gustav Mahler was born in 1860 in Bohemia and died in Vienna in 1911. Like Brahms he may be called a classical-romantic, since he wrote symphonies yet expressed the typical German romantic feeling. He was influenced by Bruchner, another "classical-romantic", and also by the spirit and technique of Wagner.

His musical education was received in Vienna and he held in turn a number of important opera conductorships -- including that of Vienna, where he ruled for ten years and carried out many reforms.

He conducted a German opera season in London in 1892, and from 1908 spent a good deal of time in America, especially in New York, where he was chief conductor at the Metropolitan Opera House and also director of the New York Philharmonic.

His symphonies (some with voices), have always been taken seriously in Germany and Holland -- in the latter, through the influence of J. W. Mengelberg, and from the late 1940's they became part of the standard concert repertory in Britain and the United States. His forty-two songs are of importance.

Mahler's symphonies are as follows: No. 1, in D (1888), No. 2, in C minor, Resurrection (1894); with solo voices and chorus, No. 3, in D minor (1895); with solo contralto, and boys' and female choruses, No. 4, in G (1900); with solo soprano, No. 5, in C sharp minor (1902), No. 6, in A minor (1904), No. 7, in E minor (1905), No. 8, in E flat (1907); with solo vocalists, two mixed choruses and boys' chorus, and organ, and No.9 in D (1909).  No. 10 was completed by Deryck Cooke and performed in 1964. There is also The Song of the Earth (Das Lied von der Erde); a symphony with solo voices.

Source:     The Oxford Companion to Music by Percy A. Scholes, 10th Edition; Oxford University Press, London, 1975

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