Gustav Mahler, Vol. 2: Vienna: The Years of Challenge, 1897-1904

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9780193151598: Gustav Mahler, Vol. 2: Vienna: The Years of Challenge, 1897-1904

In an age of artistic accomplishment, Gustav Mahler stood out as one of the supremely gifted musicians of his generation. As a composer, he won acclaim for his startling originality. As a conductor, his relentless pursuit of perfection was sometimes seen as tyrannical by the singers and musicians who came under his baton. And always, even with his greatest triumphs, he provoked controversy among the critics. Now Henry-Louis de La Grange, Mahler's celebrated biographer, offers new insight into Mahler's life and work with his latest look at the career of this musical genius.
In Mahler in Vienna, La Grange follows the great musician to the intellectual and artistic capital of turn-of-the-century Europe. From Mahler's spectacular debut as director of the Vienna Court Opera to his triumphant tour of the continent, we see him at the height of his powers. La Grange vividly portrays the marvelous spectacle, including the extraordinary range of artists who worked with Mahler--the composers Dvorak, Gustave Charpentier, Richard Strauss, Zemlinsky, and Schoenberg; the painters, architects, and decorators of the Secession (led by Klimt); and the writers Hauptmann, Dehmel, Hofmannsthal, and Schnitzler. In Vienna, the conductor worked a revolution in standards of performance and (along with Secession painter Alfred Roller) scenic illustration. It was also during this period that he wrote some of his best-loved symphonies--including his Fourth and Fifth--and his three orchestral song-cycles and collections, the Wunderhorn-, Ruckert-, and Kindertotenlieder. For each of these works La Grange provides full notes and analytic descriptions. And the author does not neglect Mahler's temptestuous personal life, for during these years he met Alma Schindler--"the most beautiful woman in Vienna." La Grange deftly captures the story of their engagement and marriage in 1902.
Mahler remains one of the greatest figures in the history f music, a man whose work provokes strong reactions today as in his own time. This account is just one part of the definitive four-volume biography Gustav Mahler, the result of a thirty-year research project; the author has personally translated it from his original French into English. Scrupulously researched and insightfully written, this volume is a brilliant account of a critical epoch in Mahler's life.

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Gustav Mahler was one of the supremely gifted musicians of his generation. His contemporaries came to know him as a composer of startling originality whose greatest successes with the public never failed to provoke controversy among the critics. As a conductor, his relentless pursuit of perfection was sometimes viewed as tyrannical by the singers and musicians who came under his baton. Professor Henry-Louis de La Grange has devoted more than thirty years of painstaking research to this study of Mahler's life and works. His biography, ultimately to be completed in four volumes, is drawn from a vast archive of documents, autographs, and pictures, assembled by La Grange at the Bibliotheque musicale Gustav Mahler, Paris. This second volume covers the years 1897-1904, when the focus shifts to Vienna. It opens with Mahler's triumphant debut as director of the Vienna Court Opera, and follows with the revolution he wrought in standards of performance and, with the Secessionist painter Alfred Roller, in scenic representation. An account is also given of Mahler's stormy and brief engagement as conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic Concerts, following Richter's resignation in 1898. La Grange depicts the brilliant society of pre-war Vienna, then the centre of the intellectual and artistic world; the extraordinary range of artists among whom Mahler lived and worked included the composers Dvorak, Gustave Charpentier, Richard Strauss, Zemlinsky, and Schoenberg and his two disciples, Berg and Webern; the painters, architects, and decorators of the Secession with Klimt at their head; the writers Hauptmann, Dehmel, Hofmannsthal, and Schnitzler. There he also met Alma Schindler, 'the most beautiful womanin Vienna', and La Grange tells the story of their engagement and marriage in 1902 and the early years of their tempestuous relationship. As his fame spread throughout Europe, Mahler travelled with his music to Germany, Russia, Holland, Poland, and Belgium, meeting many other leading musicians of his day, including Pfitzner, Mengelberg, Diepenbrock, Oskar Fried, and many others. During this period Mahler wrote some of his best-loved works, including the Fourth and Fifth symphonies, and the three orchestral song-cycles and collections - the Wunderhorn-, Ruckert-, and Kindertotenlieder. For each of these works La Grange provides full notes and analytical descriptions.

About the Author:


Henry-Louis de La Grange is President of the Gustav Mahler Musical Library, Paris. He is also a chevalier of the Order of the Legion d'honneur, and an officer of the Ordre du Merite.

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