We Remember Mahler

Mahler’s Death in Vienna

Gustav Mahler died on the 18th of May, 1911. He had lived and worked in Vienna, Austria for many years. He struggled against persecution based on his birth to a Jewish family. And he struggled to have his compositions accepted by the public and by the day’s orchestra players, as well.

Conservative musicians and music critics of the time made fun of Gustav Mahler’s music, because it was larger than life, highly emotional, and depicted much that was uncomfortable in Life. Mahler had seen several of his siblings die at a young age. He witnessed stress and discord among his parents. Yet he also witnessed much of the great, impressive beauty of the Austrian countryside.

He spent a few summers at one of the loveliest places close to Salzburg, where in later years a film was made called “The Sound of Music”. Indeed, Gustav Mahler captured the images of the countryside at a region of many lakes, where lived for a few summers on the Attersee. At that place he composed during the summers, and then returned to Vienna in the Fall, to lead both Opera and Concert performances for the public’s enjoyment.

On this day, 102 years ago, Mahler died from a serious heart ailment. He was buried outside of Vienna at the little village of Grinzing, at the cemetery there. To this day, people travel to Grinzing to sample some of Austria’s wonderful white wines. Today, however, a few people will come by at the large block of stone at the Grinzing cemetery, which just bears the composer’s name. Those who come will know who the man was; and what impact he made on the development of music in the years following his life.

Click HERE for a list of performances of Mahler’s symphonies, as compiled by Alex Ross.

Here is music to memorialize this great man: Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, fourth movement, titled “Adagietto; Sehr langsam” (very slowly), performed by the Vienna Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein conducting:



Here is another performance of the same music by the World Orchestra for Peace, conducted by Valery Gergiev, at the Royal Albert Hall in London:



Tags: Gustav Mahler, Death anniversary, Adagietto, Symphony #5

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