Gustav Mahler

Submitted by admin on Sun, 09/25/2016 - 23:16

photo of MahlerQuotes

  • If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.
  • The real art of conducting consists in transitions.
  • I am hitting my head against the walls, but the walls are giving way.
  • It is strange how one feels drawn forward without knowing at first where one is going.
  • Fortunately, something always remains to be harvested. So let us not be idle.
  • Destiny smiles upon me but without making me the least bit happier.
  • The call of love sounds very hollow among these immobile rocks.
  • When I have reached a summit, I leave it with great reluctance, unless it is to reach for another, higher one.
  • A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything.
  • With the coming of spring, I am calm again.
  • Spring won't let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.
  • The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause.
  • All that is not perfect down to the smallest detail is doomed to perish.
  • The impressions of the spriritual experiences gave my future life its form and content.
  • Details

Gustav Mahler was born in Kaliště in Bohemia on  7 July 1860, and died in Vienna 18 May 1911,. He was an Austrian late-Romantic composer, and one of the leading conductors of his generation. As a composer he acted as a bridge between the 19th century Austro-German tradition and the modernism of the early 20th century.

He was a German-speaking Jew of humble circumstances, and displayed his musical gifts at an early age. After graduating from the Vienna Conservatory in 1878, he held a succession of conducting posts of rising importance in the great opera houses of Europe, culminating in his appointment in 1897 as director of the Vienna Court Opera. Mahler converted to Catholicism to secure the post, but he experienced regular opposition and hostility from the anti-Semitic press. Nevertheless, his innovative productions and insistence on the highest performance standards ensured his reputation as one of the greatest of opera conductors, particularly as an interpreter of the stage works of Wagner, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky.

In his lifetime his status as a conductor was established beyond question, but his own music gained wide popularity only after periods of neglect which included a ban on its performance in much of Europe during the Nazi era. After 1945 his compositions were rediscovered and championed by a new generation of listeners; Mahler then became one of the most frequently performed and recorded of all composers, a position he has sustained into the 21st century.

Mahler's wrote relatively few works; for much of his life composing was necessarily a part-time activity while he earned his living as a conductor. Aside from early works such as a movement from a piano quartet composed when he was a student in Vienna, Mahler's works are generally designed for large orchestral forces, symphonic choruses and operatic soloists. These works were frequently controversial when first performed, and several were slow to receive critical and popular approval; exceptions included his Symphony No. 2 and the triumphant premiere of his Eighth Symphony in 1910. Some of Mahler's immediate musical successors included the composers of the Second Viennese School, notably Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern. Dmitri Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten are among later 20th-century composers who admired and were influenced by Mahler.

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