Gustav Mahler

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Gustav Mahler (1892)
Mahler's signature

Gustav Mahler (born July 7, 1860 in Kalischt , Bohemia , Austria-Hungary , † May 18, 1911 in Vienna ) was an Austrian composer at the transition from late romantic to modern . He was not only one of the most important composers of the late Romantic period, but also one of the most famous conductors of his time and, as opera director, one of the most important reformers of music theater .


Childhood and family

Gustav Mahler as a child, around 1865
Gravestone of the composer's parents in the Jewish cemetery in Jihlava (Iglau)

Gustav Mahler came from a Jewish family. His grandfather was Šimon Mahler, tenant and later owner of a distillery in Kalischt . His son Bernard Mahler (* 1827 in Lipnitz ; † 1889 in Iglau ) married Marie Herrmann (* 1837 in Ledetsch ; † 1889 in Iglau) in 1857 , she came from the family of a soap manufacturer. After the marriage, Gustav Mahler's parents bought an inn in Kalischt in addition to the distillery , which later became the house where Gustav Mahler was born.

In 1860 Mahler's parents sold their inn and business in Kalischt and moved to the Moravian town of Iglau , where Mahler spent most of his youth. He had to watch his father beat his mother, a trauma that he was only able to cope with late with the help of Sigmund Freud .

Six of the fourteen children died early. Gustav was the second born; his brother Isidor had already died when Gustav was born. Especially the death of his brother Ernst at the age of thirteen, when Gustav was only fifteen, bothered him very much.

Both parents died when Mahler was not yet thirty years old. After that, he felt obliged to look after his younger siblings. He helped his brothers until they were self-employed. One of them emigrated to America. Mahler took his sister Justine in with him, who ran the household for him for many years until they married. Justine (1868–1938) and Mahler's youngest sister Emma (1875–1933) married the brothers Arnold and Eduard Rosé , who were musicians in the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.


When Gustav Mahler was four years old, his musical training began with the accordion . Shortly afterwards he had his first piano lessons . At the age of six he was already giving lessons himself and composing his first pieces, but these have not been preserved. He attended elementary school and later high school. He read a lot, listened to folk and dance music on appropriate festive occasions, the military music of the soldiers stationed in Iglau and also Jewish music in the synagogue . All of these elements can be found again and again in his works.

He performed as a pianist for the first time at the age of ten, and at the age of twelve he gave concerts with technically very demanding pieces by Franz Liszt and Sigismund Thalberg .

At the age of fifteen, on the recommendation of a family friend, he went to the Vienna Conservatory and studied with Julius Epstein (piano) and Franz Krenn (composition). The next year he won first prize in both subjects. Fellow students included Hans Rott , Hugo Wolf and Mathilde Kralik von Meyrswalden. He continued learning the school material independently as an external person. In 1877 he took the final exam at the grammar school in Iglau. Failed the first time; the second time he made it. In December he heard the world premiere of Anton Bruckner's 3rd Symphony and was commissioned to produce a four-hand piano reduction for it. In 1878 he wrote the text for Das klagende Lied after a fairy tale in the Bechstein collection, completed his composition studies with a diploma and won first prize with a piano quintet that has disappeared. In the conservatory years he worked on two operas that remained unfinished: The Argonauts based on a drama by Franz Grillparzer and Rübezahl . At the university he studied archeology and history for a few semesters , music history with Eduard Hanslick and attended lectures by Bruckner.

During these years of study in Vienna Mahler belonged with Siegfried Lipiner and others to the philosophical and literary circle of friends around Engelbert Pernerstorfer , from which life friendships arose and which gave him diverse intellectual stimuli. For a few years he also became a strict vegetarian . Friedrich Eckstein wrote in his autobiography:

“One of them was rather short in stature; Even in the strangely bobbing manner of his gait, an unusual irritability was noticeable, his mentally tense, extremely agitated and narrow face was framed by a full brown beard, his speech was very pointed and of a strongly Austrian timbre. He always carried a pack of books or sheet music under his arm and the conversation with him was mostly in spurts. His name was Gustav Mahler. "

- Friedrich Eckstein

Mahler as conductor and opera director

In 1880 Gustav Mahler became Kapellmeister in the summer theater in Bad Hall and completed the cantata Das klagende Lied in November .

Various positions as Kapellmeister followed, where he mainly had to conduct operas and was able to gain extensive experience with this genre. He also heard the most important conductors of his time at concerts, made their acquaintance and that of the composers Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Richard Strauss . The stations were: Laibach (1881–1882), Olmütz (1883), Kassel (1883–1885), Prague with the artistic director Angelo Neumann (July 1885 to 1886), Leipzig (July 1886 to May 1888) as a colleague of Arthur Nikisch , with which there was rivalry, and Budapest (October 1888 to March 1891), where he was Royal Opera Director. He also came to Bayreuth for the first time (1883) , saw festival performances and made the acquaintance of Cosima and Siegfried Wagner . In Budapest Brahms attended a performance of Don Giovanni in which Lilli Lehmann sang, and he was very impressed by Mahler as a conductor.

From March 1891 to April 25, 1897, Mahler was the first Kapellmeister at the Stadt-Theater in Hamburg , where he lived at Bundesstrasse 10. There he directed inter alia. In 1892 the German premiere of Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin , "in the presence of the most satisfied composer," for which Mahler took over as the latter was desperate about the German libretto. In the meantime he was one of the most recognized conductors in Europe, whose major cities he visited as a guest conductor, e. B. with great success London from June to July 1892. Mahler had an extremely strenuous workload during these years. He conducted more than is usual today, for example in the 1894/95 season 138 of 367 performances, plus eight philharmonic concerts. In the same year he composed various songs, completed the 2nd symphony , conducted the world premiere of her first three movements in Berlin and composed five movements (except the first) of the 3rd symphony in just a few weeks of the summer . In Hamburg he also laid the foundation for a new style of music theater with his opera work.

During his time in Hamburg he made new friends. The one with the young Bruno Walter , who came to the Stadttheater as a choirmaster and répétiteur on the recommendation of Bernhard Pollini , became particularly important . Walter also followed him to Vienna as second Kapellmeister, and throughout his life devoted himself to the music of Gustav Mahler with all his skills. Likewise, the Hamburg music critic and composer Ferdinand Pfohl , who defended Mahler's compositional oeuvre against furious attacks in numerous profound articles.

“And there he was now in person in the theater office when I came out from my first visit to Pollini: pale, thin, small in figure, elongated face, the steep forehead framed by deep black hair, significant eyes behind glasses, furrows of suffering and despair Humors in the face, which, while he was talking to another, showed the most astonishing change of expression, just as interesting, demonic, intimidating incarnation of Kapellmeister Kreisler as the young reader E. Th. A. Hoffmann's fantasies could imagine; he kindly asked me about my musical abilities and knowledge - which, to his apparent satisfaction, I replied with a mixture of shyness and self-esteem - and left me in a kind of stupor and shock. [...] Mahler appeared to me in face and demeanor as a genius and a demon [...] "

- Bruno Walter
Memorial plaque on the residential building in Vienna,
Rennweg 5 = Auenbruggergasse 2

The fact that Mahler was a Jew was the reason for an anti-Semitic campaign against him in Kassel as early as 1885 , although he was not particularly close to the Jewish faith . His worldview was more of a nature-religious and philosophical one, which is particularly evident in his statements and texts on the 3rd symphony, the 8th symphony and the song from the earth . However, he also dealt intensively with the ideas of resurrection and redemption in Christianity , which is made clear in the 2nd and 3rd symphonies, among other things. Nevertheless, Mahler feared, not without good reason, that his Jewish origins could be the reason for preventing further opportunities for advancement. “My Judaism, as things stand in the world now, prevents me from entering any court theater. - Not Vienna, not Berlin, not Dresden, not Munich is open to me. The same wind blows everywhere. ”On February 23, 1897, Mahler converted to Catholicism and was baptized together with his two sisters Justine and Emma in Hamburg's St. Ansgar Church, the“ Little Michel ”. On the occasion of his appointment as the first conductor of the Vienna Court Opera, this was held against him: “As is well known, Henry IV of France said: 'Paris is worth a mass.' The Kapellmeister Mahler probably thought similarly when he was baptized in order to gain the right to conduct the kk Hofoper. "

Notice for the presentation of Lohengrin , with which Mahler made his debut in Vienna

Mahler's fears did not come true - at least with regard to Vienna. As early as the end of 1896 he had established contacts with high-ranking personalities in the Danube metropolis in order to determine his chances and to prevent an anti-Semitic press campaign against him. In April 1897 he was able to sign the contract with the Court Opera in Vienna . For his inaugural performance on May 11, 1897, he chose Wagner's Lohengrin .

From 1897 to 1907 Mahler held the prominent position in Europe as the first conductor and director of the Vienna Opera House. In his memoir Die Welt von Gestern (1942), Stefan Zweig described the appointment of Mahler as an example of the distrust of the Viennese public towards younger artists: “When an astonishing exceptional case occurred and Gustav Mahler was appointed director of the court opera at the age of thirty-eight, he left a terrified murmur and astonishment through the whole of Vienna that someone "so young" had been entrusted with the first art institute. . . This mistrust that every young person was 'not entirely reliable' ran through all circles at the time ”.

Mahler's opera reform

Already in Hamburg Mahler had repeatedly turned against the carelessness and sloppiness with which the scenic side of opera performances was treated at that time. His idea of ​​opera as a unity of music and performance was based on Richard Wagner's concept of the total work of art . The Swiss stage designer Adolphe Appia and the British theater reformer Edward Gordon Craig developed this concept further at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The art of the scene should be creative and equal to the art of poetry and music. Their ideas were discussed in Vienna at the turn of the century, and Mahler probably knew at least Adolphe Appia's theory. In order to be able to transfer this modern concept of opera work into stage practice, Mahler extended his responsibility as opera director to include the scenic area, which subsequently led to violent conflicts with the general manager of the Imperial and Royal Court Theater.

In order to establish a new quality in the field of scenography, Mahler hired Heinrich Lefler as head of interior design three years after taking office . But it was not until 1903 that he found his most important ally in the visual artist Alfred Roller , who made the ideas of the theater reformers on the stage of the Vienna Court Opera the benchmark for contemporary opera productions. Mahler was familiar with Roller's work at the Vienna Secession and encouraged him to design the set for Wagner's Tristan und Isolde . On February 21, 1903, Mahler and Roller celebrated their first major joint success with this production. One critic described that Roller's concept of "varying, expanding, changing a basic chord of color: transforming something of the sensitive Tristan chromaticism into the art of decoration" had an overwhelming effect. Thoroughly structured stage spaces instead of illusionistic backdrop painting and the decisive effect of light for creating a "mental mood" ( Hermann Bahr ) were the pioneering inventions of Roller. In their collaboration, Mahler and Roller set the decisive course for the breakthrough in modern opera directing. It is certainly no coincidence that this upheaval took place at the same time as the “invention” of modern theater directing by Otto Brahm and Max Reinhardt .

However, Mahler was not yet able to fall back on suitable opera directors for his scenic ideas; he had to do this work himself in addition to conducting. He tirelessly moved back and forth between the orchestra pit and the stage in order to enforce the desired unity of musical and scenic representation through intensive rehearsal work. Instead of the usual pathetic gestures of the singers who stood in overloaded costumes on the ramp, Mahler asked for a role representation that was situational and psychologically precise and was in harmony with the singer-musical design. Roller describes that Mahler had "such a brilliant acting talent" himself that "it meant a trifle to him to give the singers the necessary playing instructions adapted to the scene."

Gustav Mahler (1898)

Mahler was strict in the selection of singers and did not allow himself to be corrupted either by the wishes of his superiors or by the preferences of the audience. However, he was not really familiar with the singing voice and its problems, but he had an ear for vocal potential and intuitively recognized a talent for drama. Among other things, he worked at the Vienna Court Opera under his direction. the singer-actress Anna von Mildenburg , the best Wagner actress of the time, the coloratura singer Selma Kurz , whose particularly long “short trills” became famous, Marie Gutheil-Schoder , who excelled as Carmen and in other passionate mezzo-soprano roles, Hermann Winkelmann and Leopold Demuth , the hero tenors Erik Schmedes and Franz Naval and the singer of the century Leo Slezak , whose remarkable head voice can still be heard on first records from 1905 in an aria from The White Lady and in Lohengrin's farewell song. The dramatic expressiveness of this singer, who was completely influenced by Mahler's staging skills, can still be felt in the recording of Tannhauser's “Romerzählung”.

Under Mahler's direction, the Vienna Court Opera developed into one of the leading houses in the opera world. The only weak point of his management was that there were hardly any premieres. The only exception was the Vienna premiere of Gustave Charpentier's Louise in 1903. In the repertoire that was close to Mahler's heart - Mozart, Beethoven and Wagner - he achieved outstanding results.

Gustav Mahler (etching by Emil Orlik , 1902)

During the Viennese years he traveled all over Europe, including to Saint Petersburg , Venice , Rome , Paris , Basel or Amsterdam to conduct and to perform his own compositions - with varying degrees of success. He won enthusiastic followers everywhere. In America his works were also performed and very much appreciated.

New friendships arose with the Rosé brothers, the painters of the Secession and especially the young composers Arnold Schönberg , Alexander von Zemlinsky and Alban Berg , who admired and held his music in high regard. Willem Mengelberg in Amsterdam was one of the young conductors who performed his symphonies. Many friends came from far and wide for the premiere of the 6th Symphony in Essen .

Mahler's impatience with singers and orchestra members who did not meet his demands, increasing tours as a conductor of his own works, a press campaign against him with anti-Semitic tendencies and disputes with his superiors at court about frequent absences and the programming, the culmination of which was the ban on the world premiere of Richard Strauss ' Salome finally led both sides to end Mahler's term in Vienna. The censors had incriminated the Salome libretto as "morally offensive" and "sexually pathological" and prohibited its performance.

new York

On November 24, 1907, Mahler conducted for the last time in Vienna. The far-reaching conflicts with the director of the court opera were reflected not least in the fact that Mahler was not officially bid farewell. With the support of the chief courtier , Mahler still received a high severance payment, which Emperor Franz Joseph personally approved, as well as the maximum pension. Mahler arrived in New York on December 20; in January 1908 began his contract with the Metropolitan Opera in New York . Already with the first performance that he conducted (it was again Wagner's Tristan ), he had great success. The critics praised Mahler's slim Wagner sound, which did not drown out the singers and was completely new to the New Yorkers. In addition to his activity as a conductor, Mahler was offered the direction of the “Met”; he refused because he did not want to burden himself with the everyday things of an opera company again. The new director Giulio Gatti-Casazza , who was appointed to the “Met” by La Scala in Milan , brought Arturo Toscanini with him as a conductor. Mahler soon came into conflict with this. Like Mahler, Toscanini was an ardent admirer of Wagner's operas and did not want to limit himself to the Italian repertoire. Mahler understood that his ties to the “Met” would not last, although he was again working with the world's best singers, including Enrico Caruso , Antonio Scotti , Emmy Destinn , Fyodor Ivanovich Chalyapin and Leo Slezak. However, he was unable to implement his staging ideas according to his wishes. The singing performances and the splendid equipment were what counted for the patrons of the “Met”. There was no question of directing an opera in the sense of Viennese work. Mahler tried to bring Alfred Roller to New York in order to continue the Viennese reform efforts here, but this failed due to processes that have not yet been fully clarified.

A contemporary source describes Mahler's impact on New Yorkers:

“... and for some people the German doublet became too tight when they heard the name Mahler. Some of them out of enthusiasm, but most of them out of anger. It has been like that from day one. He worked immediately, inciting, provocative, alarming - no matter: he belongs to those electric and electrifying natures who give sparks or ignite at the slightest touch. In the beginning, it was only his frenetic unpopularity that made him popular. He has become famous, borne by the favor of hatred, carefully illuminated by envy, this eternally sleepless and powerful protector of all realities, by mockery, displeasure and bad gossip, that is, by the loudest bells on every street corner. [...] And so it was to be heard every day that he mistreated his musicians, whipped them to inhuman work, almost incited them to death, and that all, if they could, would like to drown him in a spoonful of water. It was said that he curates his singers, drills them like recruits, switches with them like the great Turk with his slaves. […] He hears the misery all around that it is too much work, with astonishment, without grasping it. He does the same thing, doesn't sit lazily at home and let others toil for him. But of course: he enjoys work, others sweat. […] The strong stimulus that exercised his personality was also strange. The intensity of his being seemed to fill the whole city. People talked about him and argued heatedly about him who had never been to the opera before. Now they ran to see him. Still other people, who up to now had hardly known what a theater director is and should be, asked about the evil Mahler. And everyone knew his face. This unusual, sharp-lined countenance had quickly engraved itself into every memory. [...] It is even too instructive how the people who otherwise cannot do enough to praise the beauty wonders of nature [...] are all immediately outraged when they are invited, the most wonderful miracle that nature offers us to venerate: the rise of a great man. "

Mahler turned down an offer from the Boston Symphony Orchestra . A new field of activity emerged when wealthy New York citizens decided to form a "Mahler Orchestra" out of New York's second orchestra, that of the New York Philharmonic Society. Excellent musicians were hired. In February 1909 Mahler's contract as chief conductor was announced. The first concerts took place in Carnegie Hall in late March and early April . From November 1, 1909, he exclusively conducted the concerts of the orchestra, which achieved world fame under the name of the New York Philharmonic . Mahler conducted the unbelievable number of 95 concerts in the two seasons that remained to him.

Caricature by Theo Zasche , 1906
Silhouette of Otto Böhler

Mahler and the women

His mother was very important to Mahler. Sigmund Freud , to whom Mahler went to Leiden in August 1910 for advice on his marital problems with Alma , analyzed Mahler's mother complex. He “looks for a mother in every woman, who was a poor, suffering and tormented woman”. The encounter between Mahler and Freud is also portrayed in the film Mahler on the couch . His sister Justine not only shared a common life, but also understanding and friendship. In every place of his changeable life he was passionately in love with a new young woman.

Mahler fell in love for the first time when he was six. He composed a song for this friend. At the beginning of 1880 in Vienna he composed three songs for Josephine Poisl, but she did not reciprocate his feelings. In Kassel it was the soprano Johanna Richter . The first songs of a traveling journeyman were written there in 1884 . 1888 in Leipzig, he wrote, inspired by his love for Marion von Weber, the wife of a grandson of Carl Maria von Weber , and by the novel Titan by Jean Paul in six weeks, the first symphony and the first songs Des Knaben Wunderhorn , a collection of texts with folk poetry, which he held in high esteem.

Two women played an important role in Hamburg: the violist Natalie Bauer-Lechner loved him very much, wrote detailed diaries about the conversations with him, which became a very thorough source for his thoughts, ideas and many experiences; she had grown spiritually and remained true to him in her love until the end of his life. For him it was a close, but only platonic, friendship. With Anna von Mildenburg , who was also highly dramatic in everyday life , he entered into the most passionate love affair before his marriage, which he ended when he moved to Vienna, where Anna von Mildenburg was also engaged. He could not imagine a marriage between two artists who were serious about their vocation. That is why the relationship with Selma Kurz ended very soon in the first years of Vienna. The mutual immersion in music and the gift of both singers to realize his musical theater performances in the most impressive way was an essential part of the relationship. And he didn't have to do without that with either of them.

"A common will must result, an encounter on the spiritual basis of a work must lead to a secret but most intimate agreement that alone can fulfill the will of its creator."

This is what Anna von Mildenburg wrote about the joint work in her memoirs, which appeared ten years after Mahler's death, without any bitterness towards him, and the letters they contain show how close the bond between Mahler and her was.

Marriage to Alma Schindler

Alma Schindler (around 1899, when Gustav Mahler met her)
Mahler's composing house on the Attersee
Mahler's composing house on Lake Wörthersee

Mahler had rather conservative ideas about marriage. Before he married Alma Schindler (born 1879) in Vienna's Karlskirche on March 9, 1902 , in December 1901 he had explained to her in a twenty-page letter what he expected from her. He gave her the choice of stopping her own compositions or refraining from marrying. He could not imagine a marriage with a competing colleague. Alma agreed, but resented it into old age, although she was by no means sure of her talent as a composer. She herself grew up among numerous artists. Her father Emil Jakob Schindler and her stepfather Carl Moll were painters. Through her parents' house she got to know Max Klinger , Gustav Klimt , Alexander von Zemlinsky (with whom she took composition lessons) and others. She was included in the conversations, loved, and admired for her beauty. She and Mahler met at Bertha Zuckerkandl's literary salon . Alma was fascinated by Mahler as a personality and a conductor. However, she could not do much with his music, and she missed a lot in her marriage to the 19-year-old man. Mahler loved her passionately and dearly, but due to his huge workload he had little time for visiting evenings and other pleasures and was in a composing house built especially for him during the holidays (1893–1896: Steinbach am Attersee , 1900–1907: Maiernigg am Wörthersee , 1908 –1910: Toblach ) completely absorbed in his music. He felt like her “teacher” in relation to worldview and life. He often said (received in letters) that he wished she had more “maturity”. The two had two daughters, Maria Anna († July 11, 1907) in November 1902 and Anna Justine in June 1904 , which Mahler was very happy about. The death of the not yet five-year-old Maria Anna ("Putzi") as a result of her scarlet fever - diphtheria disease caused the Maiernigg family to flee on Lake Wörthersee. Putzi, who was buried in the nearby Keutschach cemetery in 1907, was exhumed and buried on July 1, 1909 at the Grinzing cemetery in Vienna, because Gustav Mahler himself wanted to be buried with her one day.

Alma could not understand that the happy father in 1904, while the two daughters were playing happily in the garden, completed his songs for the death of children , based on texts by Friedrich Rückert , which he had written after the death of his daughter Luise and his son Ernst.

After Mahler's death, Alma married the architect Walter Gropius (1915) and later (1929), after her divorce from Gropius, the poet Franz Werfel . The daughter Anna first went to California with her mother and later lived as a sculptor in Spoleto . She died in 1988 while visiting her daughter Marina in London, where she was also buried.

Illnesses, life crises, death

Gustav Mahler, 1909

Mahler's health was disturbed throughout his adult life by a haemorrhoid disease , from which he almost bled to death several times, and by recurring tonsillitis, which was never completely cured and which was probably also the cause of his bacterial heart disease, from which he ultimately died.

The year 1907 marked a turning point in life in many ways. It was foreseeable that the time as opera director was coming to an end due to the increasing activity as a composer and conductor of his own works as well as difficulties and disappointments. The contract with the Metropolitan Opera in New York was signed when the older daughter suddenly died in July, which hit Alma and Gustav Mahler very deeply, but did not strengthen the bond. Mahler, who needed quick and long hikes to recover, loved swimming in ice-cold water and whose activity as a conductor was also very lively and physically strenuous, was diagnosed with heart disease. He believed he was standing on the edge of the abyss, was deeply desperate, but had no idea how few years he would actually have. He finally resumed all his activities. The actual processing and confrontation with the experienced and the topics of farewell to life, the meaning of existence, death, redemption, life after death and love happened with him as always in music. The result was The Song of the Earth after originally Chinese, by Hans Bethge translated poems that Mahler encouraged to a representation of life in its various aspects and to say goodbye to him. The 9th symphony as well as a 10th symphony , which was completed in the shortcut , was also created, but this was not completed until it was ready for performance.

Mahler's departure from Vienna in December 1907 was a triumphant event. Around two hundred people had come to the Westbahnhof to say goodbye, including Arnold Schönberg , Alban Berg , Anton Webern , Alfred Roller , Carl Moll , Gustav Klimt , Bruno Walter and Arnold Rosé . Alma Mahler recalled: “When we arrived they were all there, hands full of flowers, eyes full of tears, got into our coupé, wreathed it, the seats, the floor, everything. When the train started moving, Gustav Klimt said what many thought: 'Over!' "

The enthusiasm with which Mahler was received and celebrated in America at the Metropolitan Opera with his concerts - and also with his own music - was once again a real high point in his life. He even enjoyed the social invitations. The premiere of the 8th Symphony on September 12, 1910 in Munich and the repetition of the concert on the following day were to be triumphant successes for Mahler. When the last note of the work had faded away, the enthusiastic applause would not end; it should have lasted over half an hour.

In 1910, the last year of his life, there were human and artistic difficulties with the Philharmonic Orchestra in New York as well. His wife's love affair with Walter Gropius brought Mahler to the brink of intellectual dissociation . He went to Sigmund Freud - they met in Leiden , Holland - and underwent a brief analysis that lasted only an afternoon. Freud himself wrote about it in a letter to Theodor Reik from 1933:

“In very interesting forays into his life, we uncovered his love conditions, especially his Marian complex (mother bond). I had reason to admire the man's ingenious understanding. No light fell on the symptomatic facade of his obsessional neurosis. It was like digging a single, deep shaft through a mysterious structure. "

The (unfinished) 10th Symphony was written in the summer (July – August) of 1910 at the time of a serious marital crisis. Alma Mahler, who felt neglected by her husband, had started a love affair with the young architect Walter Gropius in a health resort near Graz . Gropius wrote her a love letter with ardent passion, which he inadvertently addressed to Mahler himself. The consequences were immeasurable. Mahler was tormented by the idea of ​​having lost Alma's love forever. The fear that he was too old for her can be traced back to the time of the engagement and, along with the accusation that he had neglected her love in his egomania, emerged with such violence that it drove him into despair. He tried in vain to win her back with completely exaggerated, repentant expressions of love, including the dedication of the 8th Symphony to Alma.

The manuscript of the 10th symphony has an abundance of intimate entries that document that Mahler was going through the worst existential crisis of his life at the time. The deeply moving exclamations indicate that the addressee of these entries was Alma: “You alone know what it means. Oh! Oh! Oh! Goodbye my string game! Goodbye, goodbye. Goodbye. ”(At the end of the fourth sentence) -“ Live for you! Die for you! Almschi! ”(At the end of the finale).

Mahler conducted his last concert in New York on February 21, 1911. He was already sick. The flu was initially suspected, but the disease turned out to be bacterial inflammation in his heart, which had long been weakened from birth due to a double heart valve defect. The doctors in America, Paris, and finally Vienna could no longer do anything for him. Mahler died on May 18, 1911 in the Löw Sanatorium in Vienna and was dedicated in honor of the Grinzinger Friedhof (group 6, row 7, number 1; his daughter Maria Anna Mahler, who died at the age of four in July 1907, has been in the side grave number 2 since 1909) Buried grave . The music journalist Paul Stefan reported on the funeral:

“Tomorrow and Vienna. A chaos. You cling to details that no one can yet know. He is to be buried in the small cemetery in Grinzing, next to the daughter. The corpse is brought there. The other morning. The road 'on the long rivers' leads across country to cypress trees. The chapel is a narrow space, just for the coffin and a couple of wreaths. The others line the paths to the grave. A woman comes by and says to another: 'Now he's quiet inside. Everything was too small for that too. ' The church in Grinzing is small, the churchyard narrow. And a spectacle for the Viennese is imminent. The church and cemetery are cordoned off. Only cards will give access. One learns that Franz Schalk, Gregor, the directors asked that the opera be closed on the day of the funeral. No answer to that. The court, the municipality of Vienna does not move. And then the celebration. (Because it was her). We stand in front of the church when the coffin is carried out. It's raining. We get to the grave more quickly via a vineyard path. The train arrives. The rain stops. A nightingale sings, the clods fall. A rainbow. And the hundreds are silent. "

- Paul Stefan

Mahler as a composer - meaning and aftermath

Mahler mostly practiced his composing activities in addition to his conducting profession during the summer holidays, which he usually spent in the Austrian mountains. During the winter, they worked out, orchestrated and produced a score that was readable for print. Accordingly, his catalog raisonné is rather narrow and limited to a few genres. There is also an unusually high number of self-citations, which means: In works there are sections - often even with the same notes - that were used earlier, for example in the 6th and 7th symphonies or in the 1st symphony and songs. These two genres also make up his most important compositions, and they are often combined with one another in new ways.

What is really special about Mahler, however, is that he stands on the threshold of new music ; this is also how their early representatives ( Arnold Schönberg , Alban Berg and Anton Webern ) saw it, all of whom referred to him. Mahler composed in a time when traditional conventions no longer carried on and therefore the best were looking for new ways. His music was also of great influence on Dmitri Shostakovich . This is particularly evident in his symphonic work in the last phase (examples are Shostakovich's 12th and 15th symphonies).

In terms of sound, Mahler often works with unusual registers, for example at the beginning of the 1st symphony, where he notes the violin in such a high note that it can only be played as a flageolet . Unusual instruments such as cowbells , hammers or mandolin and guitar are also required, or the horns , for example, should be heard from a great distance , which means that they are set up at a very large distance behind the stage during performances. Extreme glissandi can also often be heard, or the bowing or hitting of the strings with the wood of the violin bow ( col legno , col legno battuto). These sometimes extreme effects can no longer be composed easily at the desk. Mahler could easily try it out as a conductor in other orchestral work, which led opponents (who did not have this opportunity) to the derogatory remark “Kapellmeister music”. The crumbling of the conventions affects the forms, the number of movements in Mahler's symphonies fluctuates between two and six, the connection with the genre of songs has already been mentioned.

The recourse to "lower" music is also a feature. B. in the 1st symphony, where the "fire brigade band" can be heard as well as klezmer- like popular music and bird voices, next to the heaviest brass like Wagner or Bruckner . Mahler was too often misunderstood as their epigone, or simply as a potpourri composer . A fragmentary, splintered train of works, an impossibility to continue to conceive rounded, finished works, is also reflected in Mahler's tendency to rewrite works again and again, each time with a conviction of total perfection. The intellectual content of Mahler's music was way ahead of its time, and for this reason it was misunderstood by most contemporaries as piecemeal, Kapellmeister music, and the like. Mahler was aware of this, as his sayings document: "At the end of the world I want to be in Vienna because everything arrives there 25 years too late" and "the time for my music will still come". Mahler's 7th Symphony from 1905, with its two 'Nachtmusiken' and especially the eerie Scherzo 'Schattenhaft', is both pioneering and anticipating the horrors of the future. Adorno's finding that this music with the withering away of tradition simultaneously represents what has been hollowed out and what is always true is only really understandable in today's social situation - the so-called postmodernism .

Mahler, who read a lot until the last book literally fell from his hand on his deathbed, repeatedly combined literature and music in his works . He used folk poetry in particular , as well as fairy tales and legends , but also texts by Grillparzer , Rückert , Nietzsche , Chinese poetry and Goethe's Faust .

Two examples:

O man! Pay attention!
What does deep midnight say?
I slept!
I woke up from a deep dream!
The world is deep,
and deeper than the day thought!
O man! Deep!
Their woes are deep!
Desire deeper than heartache!
Woe speaks - go away!
But all pleasure wants eternity,
wants deep, deep eternity!

Where am i going I'm going, I'm walking in the mountains.
I'm looking for rest for my lonely heart.
I wander to my home, my place!
I will never go far.
My heart is still and waits for its hour:
the dear earth everywhere blossoms in spring and is green
again! Everywhere and the distant blue light!
Eternal ... Eternal ... Eternal ... Eternal ...

“Der Abschied” in the song of the earth for alto and orchestra, Chinese poetry: The Chinese Flute , translated by Hans Bethge

Mahler also set his own texts to music. The songs of a traveling journeyman are largely based on youthful poems; In the finale of the 2nd symphony he combined stanzas from The Resurrection of Klopstock with his own verses.

Even during his lifetime, Mahler was widely recognized as one of the most important conductors of his generation. His work at the Vienna Court Opera is considered epoch-making. Stefan Zweig , for example, wrote in his memoir about Mahler's fame in Vienna: "To have seen Gustav Mahler on the street was an event that one proudly reported to one's comrades the next morning, like a personal triumph". Measured by the standards of the time, Mahler's musical and scenic interpretations were characterized by a high degree of fidelity to the work. But he was also not afraid to make changes to the scores if it served the effect he intended. His role model had a direct influence on a younger generation of conductors ( Bruno Walter , Otto Klemperer , Willem Mengelberg and others).

His position as a composer, however, was controversial until well after his death. A community of enthusiastic supporters quickly formed, but in the music-interested public, his creations initially met mostly with disinterest, incomprehension or rejection.

It was not until the 1960s that his work finally became established in the course of the so-called “Mahler Renaissance”. The conductors Leonard Bernstein and Rafael Kubelík played an important role in this, and they also recorded the first complete stereo recordings of the symphonies at the same time (Kubelik was the first to start his complete recording, but Bernstein completed his more quickly). The recordings by Claudio Abbado , Georg Solti , Bernard Haitink , Michael Gielen , Jascha Horenstein and Wyn Morris are equally important contributions to the Mahler renaissance .

Today Mahler's work is played frequently and distributed on sound carriers by well-known interpreters. Mahler himself is considered a paradigmatic artist personality of the fin de siècle . This is how contemporaries saw it: Thomas Mann, for example, set a memorial in the novella Death in Venice just one year after Mahler's death , the protagonist of which, the writer Gustav Aschenbach, bears traits of the composer - and those of the narrator (hidden) in the year Dated 1911. In Mann's great old work Doctor Faustus , an incarnation of the devil (that of a music theorist in the so-called devil's chapter) can be assigned to Mahler's physiognomy, but the theory - even literally - by TW Adorno , partly with his active participation in the creation of the novel. Luchino Visconti reinforces this impression in his 1971 film Death in Venice by turning Aschenbach into a composer. In 1974, Ken Russell's biography Mahler focuses on the terminally ill Mahler's last trip to Vienna and complements it in flashbacks with memories of the artist's biography as well as free associations based on Mahler's music. At the end of Russell's film, Mahler walks up to his doctor, who knows about the composer's health, and cheers: “ I am going to live forever! ” Russell used Mahler recordings by the Concertgebouw Orchestra under Bernard Haitink as the soundtrack .

The asteroid (4406) Mahler, discovered on December 22, 1987, has been named after him since 1990 .

In 1992 the Austrian 500 Schilling commemorative coin Gustav Mahler appeared in silver with an edition of 320,000 pieces. On the front it shows the portrait of the famous artist and his name in the form of his signature. On the back there is a muse with a lyre, entwined with branches, the background shows symbolic staves, it is the music allegory after Koloman Moser .

In 1996, on the occasion of the Wiener Festwochen, the play Alma - A Show biz ans Ende by Joshua Sobol , directed by Paulus Manker, premiered. The piece describes the life of Mahler and his wife Alma in simultaneous acts; all of the music comes from Mahler's work, conducted by Leonard Bernstein . The interactive piece was made into a film in 1999. This was followed by multilingual new productions in various European cities as well as in Los Angeles and Jerusalem.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Gustav Mahler's death, the International Mahler Festival took place in Leipzig in 2011 and the International Gustav Mahler Society began to publish the Gustav Mahler Complete Edition .


See also: Category: Work by Gustav Mahler


  • 1st symphony, 2nd movement (excerpt)
    1st Symphony in D major
    The subtitle Titan (based on the novel by Jean Paul ) and the program for it were later dropped.
    Instrumentation: large orchestra.
    First performance: November 20, 1889 in Budapest under the direction of the composer. Back then with an additional set of Blumines .
  • 2nd Symphony in C minor (Resurrection Symphony )
    Instrumentation: large orchestra, organ, two vocal soloists (soprano, alto) and choir.
    First performance: December 13, 1895 in Berlin under the direction of the composer
  • 3rd Symphony in D minor
    Instrumentation: large orchestra, vocal soloist (alto), women's and boys' choir. First
    performance: June 9, 1902 in Krefeld under the direction of the composer
  • 4th Symphony in G major
    Instrumentation: orchestra, vocal soloist (soprano)
    World premiere: November 25, 1901 in Munich under the direction of the composer
  • 5th symphony without key Scoring
    : large orchestra First
    performance: October 18, 1904 in Cologne under the direction of the composer
  • 6th Symphony in A minor
    Instrumentation: large orchestra
    First performance: May 27, 1906 in Essen under the direction of the composer
  • 7th Symphony in E minor
    The term Lied (s) of the night is occasionally used and does not come from the composer.
    Instrumentation: large orchestra.
    First performance: September 19, 1908 in Prague under the direction of the composer
  • 8th Symphony in E flat major
    The name Symphony of the Thousand , which this work was given due to its enormous human resources (it is said that more than a thousand participants were involved in the premiere; the exact number of participants is questionable, however), does not come from the composer.
    Instrumentation: very large orchestra, organ, eight vocal soloists, two large mixed choirs and boys' choir. First
    performance: September 12, 1910 in Munich under the direction of the composer
  • Das Lied von der Erde
    Instrumentation: large orchestra and two vocal soloists (alto / tenor or baritone / tenor). There is also a piano version by the composer.
    First performance: November 20, 1911 in Munich ( posthumously ); Conductor: Bruno Walter (solos: Sara Cahier & William Miller ). Thechamber ensemble version of the
    Lied von der Erde (Premiere Toblach 1983),left as a fragmentby Arnold Schönberg andcompletedby Rainer Riehn ,has been performed almost as often, at times even more frequently, than Mahler's original version with a large orchestra over the past decade. The arrangement by Schönberg extends to about the middle of the first movement; the editing of the second half and the five remaining movements was done by Rainer Riehn.
  • 9th Symphony without key
    Instrumentation: large orchestra
    World premiere: June 26, 1912 in Vienna (posthumously); Conductor: Bruno Walter
  • 10th Symphony in F sharp major (unfinished)
    Instrumentation: large orchestra
    World premiere of the Adagios & Purgatorio movement: October 12, 1924 in Vienna (posthumously); Conductor: Franz Schalk based
    on the short score and the sketches as a concert version presented by Deryck Cooke ; further versions by Clinton Carpenter , Joseph Wheeler , Remo Mazzetti , Rudolf Barschai and Nicola Samale / Giuseppe Mazzucca . Even Hans Wollschläger worked on a complete, but gave the work 1962.

Choral works

  • The plaintive song
    Symphonic cantata for soli, choir and orchestra based on a text based on Ludwig Bechstein's own composition
    : 1878–1880 (in 3 parts), revised 1893 and 1898 First
    performance: February 17, 1901 in Vienna (revised version, in 2 parts; 1st part: forest fairy tales deleted) under the direction of the composer

Orchestra and piano songs

  • Three songs for tenor voice and piano (1880)
    Im Lenz , Winterlied , Maitanz im Grünen (Texts: Gustav Mahler)
  • Songs and chants for voice and piano
    Spring Morning ( Richard Leander ), Memory (Leander), Hans and Grete (Mahler), Serenade ( Tirso de Molina ), Fantasy (de Molina)
  • Songs and chants from Des Knaben Wunderhorn based on texts from the poetry collection of the same name by Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim
    • Nine songs and chants from Des Knaben Wunderhorn for voice and piano
      To make bad children good , I went with pleasure through a green forest !, Off! Out !, strong imagination , to Strasbourg on the ramparts , relieving in summer , parting and avoiding , not bye !, self-esteem
    • Fifteen songs, humoresques and ballads from Des Knaben Wunderhorn with orchestral or piano accompaniment
      Der Schildwache Nachtlied , Verlorne Müh '!, Who came up with this little song ?!, The heavenly life , consolation in misfortune , The earthly life , Urlicht , Des Antonius von Padua fish sermon , Rhine legend , three angels sang a sweet song , praise of the high intellect , song of the persecuted in the tower , where the beautiful trumpets blow , revelge , the drum bell
  • Songs of a Wayfarer
    Four Songs on her own poems and verses from Des Knaben Wunderhorn for voice and piano (1883-1885) or voice and orchestra (1893-1896)
    When my darling has her wedding , Went today 'tomorrow across the field , I have a glowing knife in my chest , The two blue eyes of my darling
  • Rückert-Lieder (1901/02)
    Don't look at my songs *, I breathe a mild scent *, At midnight *, I have lost the world *, Do you love for beauty
    • In addition to a piano version, also an orchestral version by the composer
  • Kindertotenlieder (1901, 1904)
    5 songs for medium voice (mezzo-soprano / baritone) and orchestra. There is also a version for voice and piano by the composer. Texts: Friedrich Rückert First
    performance January 29, 1905 in Vienna under the direction of the composer
    1. Now the sun wants to rise so brightly , 2. Now I can see why such dark flames , 3. When your little mother , 4. I often think they just went out , 5. In this weather
  • The Song of the Earth : See Symphonies .

Chamber music

  • Piano quartet in A minor (1st movement and fragment of a Scherzo movement)
    Composition: around 1876–1877
    Instrumentation: piano, violin, viola, cello

Doubtful attribution


  • Johann Sebastian Bach : Suite based on the orchestral works by JS Bach . After Bach's orchestral suites No. 2 and 3 (1909)
    First performance: New York on November 10, 1909. Conductor: Gustav Mahler (New York Philharmonic)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart : Figaro's wedding . Opera
    premiere: KK Hof-Operntheater Wien on March 30, 1906. Direction: Gustav Mahler
  • Ludwig van Beethoven : String Quartet op. 95 First
    performance: Vienna on January 15, 1899. Conductor: Gustav Mahler (Vienna Philharmonic)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: 9th Symphony (1895)
    First performance: Hamburg on March 11, 1895. Conductor: Gustav Mahler
  • Carl Maria von Weber : The three pintos . Opera in 3 acts (1887–1888) First
    performance: Stadttheater Leipzig on January 20, 1888. Direction: Gustav Mahler
  • Carl Maria von Weber: Euryanthe . Opera
  • Carl Maria von Weber: Oberon . Opera
  • Franz Schubert : String Quartet in D minor, D810 (1894) First
    performance: Hamburg on November 19, 1894. Conductor: Gustav Mahler (2nd movement alone)
  • Robert Schumann : Symphonies (changes in the supposedly "weak" instrumentation)
    No. 1 : First performance: Hamburg on January 21, 1895. Conductor: Gustav Mahler
    No. 2 : First performance: New York on November 22, 1910. Conductor: Gustav Mahler ( New York Philharmonic)
    No. 3 : World premiere: New York on January 31, 1911. Conductor: Gustav Mahler (New York Philharmonic)
    No. 4 : World premiere: Vienna on January 14, 1900. Conductor: Gustav Mahler (Vienna Philharmonic)

Recordings for Welte-Mignon

On November 9, 1905, Mahler recorded four of his own compositions on piano rolls for the Freiburg company M. Welte & Söhne , manufacturer of the Welte-Mignon reproduction piano :

  • Went across the field this morning . From: Songs of a traveling journeyman
  • I walked with pleasure through a green forest . From: Des Knaben Wunderhorn
  • 1st movement ( funeral march ) from the 5th symphony
  • 4th movement ( Heavenly Life ) from the 4th symphony


Gustav Mahler did not compose a single opera or stage music. Several choreographers have designed ballets based on his music. John Neumeier , who greatly appreciates Mahler's music, has created a total of 15 choreographies for Mahler's compositions. For this he used Mahler's 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th symphonies, the song of the earth and Des Knaben Wunderhorn . Other choreographies to the music of Gustav Mahler are Das Lied von der Erde by Kenneth MacMillan (Stuttgart 1965) and Dark Elegies by Antony Tudor (London 1937).


Memorial plaque at the Wiener Konzerthaus

In Vienna, the previous Maximilianstrasse was renamed Mahlerstrasse in 1919.

In the Moravian Jihlava , the former Iglau, where Mahler grew up after his birth, his parents' house still stands at 4 Znojmo Street (Znojemská ul.) - today's Gustav Mahler House .

The Mahler Spur , a mountain ridge on Alexander I Island in Antarctica, has borne his name since 1961 .

The Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra founded by Claudio Abbado in 1986 was named after him.

In his illustrated book “Das Mahler Album” Gilbert Kaplan shows in detail how Mahler was honored in various ways and received public recognition - and not only after his death, but also during his lifetime; Kaplan can refer to Christoph Metzger's perspectives on Gustav Mahler's reception , in which an overview of the chronicle of the awards was presented.

Visual arts

Mahler's “processing” in the visual arts took place very extensively in a wide variety of techniques and styles. The painters Leo Eichhorn , Anton Wagner-Henning and Akseli Gallen-Kallela made oil portraits for which Mahler partly sat as a model. The composer Arnold Schönberg , who was friends with Mahler in the later years, also made two oil paintings: a portrait and in 1911 a picture entitled The Burial of Gustav Mahler . The writers Alfred Döblin , Koloman Moser , Emil Orlik , Fritz Erler , Willy von Beckerath , Theo Zasche and many others made a wide variety of drawings, etchings , sketches, watercolors and engravings by Mahler. The tenor Enrico Caruso drew numerous caricatures of the conductor during their time together in New York. Mahler's distinctive head shape and facial features were also processed by numerous professional caricaturists, his work was the cause of numerous satires and parodies in daily newspapers, cultural journals and specialist journals during his lifetime. There are also numerous silhouettes that were popular during Mahler's lifetime .

Max Oppenheimer , RB Kitaj , David Levine and Christian Ludwig Attersee took on Mahler's portrait after his death.

Auguste Rodin created a so-called Mozart (Gustav Mahler) marble bust as well as two bronze busts based on the living model and, according to Alma Mahler, would have liked to continue working on Mahler, but he had to travel on.

A Mahler statue by the Czech sculptor Jan Koblasa was unveiled in Jihlava in 2010 to mark the composer's 150th birthday .

Postage stamps and coins

Mahler was immortalized on postage stamps all over the world. In his home country Austria, on his 100th birthday in 1960, the Austrian Post issued a special postage stamp worth ÖS 1.50, as well as a stamp worth 100 euro cents on his 150th birthday. In addition, postage stamps appeared, among others. in Albania, Bernera Islands (Scotland) , Grenada (twice), Israel, Congo, Cuba, Monaco, the Netherlands, San Marino, Somalia, Czech Republic, Turkmenistan, Hungary.

In 1992 a 500 shilling coin was also issued.



  • Herta Blaukopf (Ed.): Gustav Mahler. Letters. 2nd Edition. Zsolnay, Vienna 1996, ISBN 3-552-04810-3 .
  • Herta Blaukopf (Ed.): Gustav Mahler - Richard Strauss. Correspondence 1888–1911 . Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag, Munich 1984, ISBN 3-442-33037-8 .
  • Henry-Louis de La Grange , Günther Weiss, Knud Martner (eds.): A happiness without peace: Gustav Mahler's letters to Alma. First complete edition. 2nd, revised edition. btb, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-442-72243-8 .
  • Stephen McClatchie, Helmut Brenner (ed.): Gustav Mahler “Dearest Justi!” Letters to the family . Weidle, Bonn 2006, ISBN 3-931135-91-8 .
  • Franz Willnauer (Ed.): Gustav Mahler: “My dear defiant head, my sweet poppy”, letters to Anna von Mildenburg . Zsolnay, Vienna 2006, ISBN 3-552-05389-1 .
  • Franz Willnauer (Ed.): Gustav Mahler: “Dear Mr. College!” Letters to composers, conductors, artistic directors. Zsolnay, Vienna 2010, ISBN 978-3-552-05499-8 .
  • Franz Willnauer (Ed.): Gustav Mahler: Letters to his publishers. Universal Edition, Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-7024-7119-4 .


  • Herbert Killian (Ed.): Gustav Mahler in the memories of Natalie Bauer-Lechner. with comments and explanations by Knud Martner. Verlag Karl Dieter Wagner, Hamburg 1984, ISBN 3-921029-92-9 .
  • Frank Berger: Gustav Mahler - Vision and Myth. An attempt at a spiritual biography . Urachhaus Verlag, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-7725-2378-6 .
  • Hermann Danuser:  Mahler, Gustav. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 15, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-428-00196-6 , pp. 683-687 ( digitized version ).
  • Jens Malte Fischer : Gustav Mahler. The strange confidante . Paul-Zsolnay-Verlag, Vienna 2003, ISBN 3-552-05273-9 .
  • Uwe Harten : Mahler, family. In: Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon . Online edition, Vienna 2002 ff., ISBN 3-7001-3077-5 ; Print edition: Volume 3, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 2004, ISBN 3-7001-3045-7 .
  • Henry-Louis de La Grange : Gustav Mahler. Chronique d'une vie.
    • I Vers la Gloire 1860-1900 . Fayard, Paris 1979.
    • II L'âge d'Or de Vienne 1900–1907 . Fayard, Paris 1983.
    • III Le Génie foudroyé 1907–1911 . Fayard, Paris 1984.
  • Henry-Louis de La Grange: Gustav Mahler. (New editions, improved and expanded by the author)
    • Volume 1. (in preparation)
    • Volume 2. Vienna: The Years of Challenge 1897–1904 . Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 1995, ISBN 0-19-315159-6 .
    • Volume 3. Vienna: Triumph and Disillusion 1904–1907. Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 2000, ISBN 0-19-315160-X .
    • Volume 4. A New Life Cut Short 1907-1911. Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 2008, ISBN 978-0-19-816387-9 .
  • Alma Mahler-Werfel : Memories of Gustav Mahler . Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main 1980, ISBN 3-548-03526-4 .
  • Donald Mitchell: Gustav Mahler .
    • Volume 1. The Early Years . London 1958, rev. 1985. (New edition: Boydell & Brewer, Woodbridge 2003, ISBN 1-84383-002-7 )
    • Volume 2. The Wunderhorn Years . London 1975. (New edition: Boydell & Brewer, Woodbridge 2005, ISBN 1-84383-003-5 )
    • Volume 3. Songs and Symphonies of Life and Death . London 1985. (New edition: Boydell & Brewer, Woodbridge 2008, ISBN 978-0-85115-908-9 )
  • Karl-Josef Müller: Mahler: Life - Works - Documents . Schott, Mainz 2010, ISBN 978-3-254-08264-0 .
  • Wolfgang Schreiber: Mahler . (= rororo picture monographs ). Reinbek 2003, ISBN 3-499-50181-3 . (short, illustrated and clear biography)
  • Natalie Bauer-Lechner: Memories of Gustav Mahler. EP Tal und Co. Verlag, Leipzig 1923. (online)

Further literature

Mahler reception in the arts


Fine arts

  • Martina Pippal: Gustav Mahler and the visual arts - history of a relationship? In: Erich Wolfgang Partsch, Morten Solvik (Ed.): Mahler in context . Böhlau, Vienna 2011, pp. 265–289.



  • Death in Venice . (OT: Death in Venice / Morte a Venezia. ) Feature film, Italy, 1971, screenplay: Luchino Visconti , Nicola Badalucco, director: Luchino Visconti, music: Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony ; 4th movement, Misterioso, from his 3rd symphony ("O man! Pay attention!", Alto solo).
  • Mahler . Feature film, Great Britain, 1974, 115 min., Director: Ken Russell
  • Gustav Mahler - I will die to live . Feature film, Austria, 1987, 93 min., Director: Wolfgang Lesowsky
    The feature film was made in collaboration with the International Gustav Mahler Society .
  • Mahler's Sixth - The Song of Transience. Scenic visualization without dialogue, Switzerland, 1997, 89 Min, written and directed. Adrian Marthaler, production: Swiss Radio and Television, ZDF , Arte , ORF , Summary of
  • Alma - A Show Biz ans Ende 1999, written by Joshua Sobol , directed by Paulus Manker
  • Gustav Mahler - The world has lost me . Film-biography, Germany, 2005, 52 min., Written and directed by Franz Winter
  • Mahler - with a measured step. (OT: La 5e symphonie de Mahler: d'un pas mesuré. ) TV feature film, France, 2009, 65 min., Director: Pierre-Henry Salfati, production: 13 Production, arte France, German first broadcast: January 25, 2010 , Table of contents by arte, among others. with Eric Frey (Gustav Mahler), Marianne Anska ( Alma Mahler ), Serge Feuillard ( Sigmund Freud ).
    The focus of the Mahler portrait is the four-hour encounter with Sigmund Freud on August 26, 1910, who told him the cause of his neurosis during a long walk at a spa in Leiden in the Netherlands (father beat his wife Marie, his wife Alma [Marie ]’s affair) with Walter Gropius ) and recognized their consequences. Mahler's 5th Symphony serves as the musical leitmotif and background music for the film .
  • Mahler on the couch . Feature film, Germany, Austria, 2010, 98 min., Written and directed by Percy Adlon , Felix Adlon , release date: July 7, 2010. Starring Johannes Silberschneider as Gustav Mahler, Barbara Romaner as Alma Mahler and Karl Markovics as Sigmund Freud.
  • My time will come - Gustav Mahler in the memories of Natalie Bauer-Lechner . Docu-drama , Austria, Germany, Switzerland, 2010, 52 min., Script and director: Beate Thalberg , production: 3sat , BR ,, SF , Tellux-Film, Unitel, ORF , first broadcast: June 28, 2010 at ORF2 , inter alia. with Petra Morzé and Robert Ritter .
  • Gustav Mahler. Autopsy of a genius. Documentary, Germany, 2011, 88 min., Book: Andy Sommer and Catherine Sauvat, director: Andy Sommer, production: Bel Air Media, arte France, German first broadcast: May 18, 2011 on arte.

Web links

Commons : Gustav Mahler  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Mahler - With a measured step. (OT: La 5e symphonie de Mahler: d'un pas mesuré. ) TV feature film, France, 2009, 65 min., Director: Pierre-Henry Salfati, production: 13 Production, arte France, German first broadcast: January 25, 2010 , Table of contents ( memento of January 23, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) by arte
  2. Friedrich Eckstein: Old days that cannot be named! Herbert Reichner Verlag, Vienna 1936, p. 112.
  3. ^ Theater und Kunst. In:  Wiener Zeitung , April 21, 1897, p. 19 (online at ANNO ). After an amicable agreement, Mr. Capellmeister Gustav Mahler will leave on the 25th of d. M. from the Hamburg Opera Association to move to Vienna.Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz
  4. Photo Bundesstrasse 10 in “The celebrities once lived in these houses” ( Hamburger Abendblatt ) with reference to Christiane Kruse: Who lived where in Hamburg. Stürtz-Verlag, Würzburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-8003-1996-1 .
  5. Quoted from Gilbert Kaplan (ed.): Das Mahler Album. 2nd, expanded edition. Brandstätter, Vienna 2011, ISBN 978-3-85033-501-0 , p. 38.
  6. January 19, 1892: Mahler saves Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" ( Memento from May 28, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), BR-Klassik from January 16, 2015, accessed on May 21, 2015.
  7. Bruno Walter: Gustav Mahler . Herbert Reichner Verlag, Vienna 1936, p. 11 f.
  8. quoted from: Jens Malte Fischer: Gustav Mahler. The strange confidante. Biography. Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Vienna 2003, ISBN 3-552-05273-9 , p. 313.
  9. ^ Letter to Friedrich Löhr, end of 1894 or January 1895. Quoted from: Herta Blaukopf (Ed.): Gustav Mahler Briefe. Zsolnay, Vienna 1996, ISBN 3-552-04810-3 , p. 140.
  10. ^ Text .. In:  Figaro. Humoristisches Wochenblatt / Figaro , April 24, 1897, p. 6 (online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / fig(On the bottom left of the page)
  11. ^ Theater and art. In:  Wiener Zeitung , Wiener Abendpost, April 8, 1897, p. 6 (online at ANNO ). Gustav Mahler was hired as capellmeister for the Imperial and Royal Court Opera Theater.Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz
  12. ^ Theater and art news .. In:  Neue Freie Presse , May 12, 1897, p. 8 (online at ANNO ). Vienna, May 11th. [Hofoperntheater.] When it became known a few days ago that the new Capellmeister at the Hofoperntheater, Mr. Mahler, would conduct “Lohengrin” as his inaugural opera, voices were raised all around: “What do you want after“ Lohengrin ”, someone practiced so well Opera, say about a Capellmeister? ”We think that these voices will be partly silent during the prelude, but completely silent in the course of the first act. You can say a lot about Mahler, and the best thing, which is the most important thing for us, is not only an infinitely confident, spirited musician, but an excellent theater conductor. He has that something that separates the stage singer from the concert singer, the opera composer from the symphony orchestra, from the lyric poet: theater blood. His interest in the ramp does not end, but rather begins there. He shows the choir and the soloists the beat, the right beat and thus the most important thing in a meaningful performance. As we have already recognized today, Mahler prefers the more fluid tempos that Richard Wagner loved; he does not tolerate dragging or distortion. In the orchestral field, he sees the greatest possible discretion in the accompaniment, but where it corresponds to the dramatic purpose, he draws all attainable sonic power from the orchestra. It was a pleasure to see how our Philharmonic responded to every hint from their new conductor, who translated his clear, speaking signals into sounding deeds. Mahler introduced himself as a man of firm will. The goodwill of the singers and of the orchestra so much admired by Mahler will give his zeal, youthful strength, and eagerness to work even more the opportunity to get active. After the audition, which he took at a somewhat slow pace, Herr Mahler was enthusiastically acclaimed by the public. He had to bow repeatedly in thanks. The performance of the wonderful Wagnerian opera was one of the very best we have ever heard. The tension in the house had spread across the stage; Everything paid special attention and excelled in precision; Everyone did their best. We haven't heard the choir sing so tactfully for a long time, so without any huddling, as today. The main characters, the ladies Ehrenstein and Kaulich , the gentlemen Winkelmann , Reichmann , Grengg and (Benedikt; erg.) Felix, did an excellent job. The claque behaved very disturbingly . At Lohengrin's words: “Elsa, I love you” she joined in with a ridiculous, insolent salve of applause, which provoked general indignation; In other moments, too, it pushed itself obtrusively between the artist, the public and the work of art. Can't these raw elements put an end to their craft?Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nfp

  13. Stefan Zweig: The world of yesterday . Memories of a European. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1986, p. 50.
  14. Jens Malte Fischer 2003, p. 513.
  15. quoted from: Jens Malte Fischer 2003, p. 519.
  16. quoted from: Jens Malte Fischer 2003, p. 527.
  17. 1876 ​​to 1988 - Symphony Orchestra. Accessed August 1, 2020 .
  18. Jens Malte Fischer 2003, p. 687.
  19. Martina Winkelhofer: The everyday life of the emperor (= haymon tb. 44). Haymon, Innsbruck 2015, ISBN 978-3-85218-844-7 , p. 171.
  20. Oliver Hilmes: Widow in madness. The life of the Alma Mahler-Werfel . btb Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-442-73411-8 , p. 95.
  21. Jens Malte Fischer 2003, p. 708.
  22. Feuilleton. Mahler .. In:  Die Zeit , December 18, 1904, p. 1 (online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / zei(Next page 2 )
  23. Alma Mahler-Werfel: My life. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt am Main, 1963, 234. – 243. Tausend, June 1991, ISBN 3-596-20545-X , pp. 46 and 47
  24. quoted from Jens Malte Fischer 2003, p. 304.
  25. Wedding book - 02-18 | 04., St. Karl Borromaeus | Vienna / Lower Austria (East): Rk. Archdiocese of Vienna | Austria | Matricula Online. Retrieved November 25, 2020 .
  26. ALMA: biography. In: Retrieved April 29, 2016 .
  27. Happiness without rest. Gustav Mahler's letters to Alma. Edited by Henry-Louis de La Grange and Günter Weiß. btb, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-442-72243-8 .
  28. Alma Mahler-Werfel: Diary Suites . 1898-1902. Edited by Antony Beaumont and Susanne Rode-Breymann. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1997, ISBN 3-596-15220-8 . Entry from November 23, 1898, p. 149.
  29. a b Friedhöfe Wien, Search for the deceased : Search for Mahler *, Friedhof Grinzing. Queryed on October 26, 2014.
  30. Alma Mahler-Werfel: My life. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt am Main, 1963, 234. – 243. Tausend, June 1991, ISBN 3-596-20545-X , p. 46.
  31. Quoted from Jens Malte Fischer: Gustav Mahler. The strange confidante . Zsolnay, Vienna 2003, ISBN 3-552-05273-9 , p. 803.
  32. Death register - 03-034 | 08., Alservorstadtpfarre | Vienna / Lower Austria (East): Rk. Archdiocese of Vienna | Austria | Matricula Online. Retrieved November 25, 2020 .
  33. ^ Paul Stefan: The grave in Vienna. A Chronicle, 1903–1911. E. Reiss, Berlin 1913, pp. 141–142 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  34. Reinhold Kubik, Thomas Trabitsch (ed.): "Unfortunately, I remain a die-hard Viennese". Gustav Mahler and Vienna . Exhibition catalog Vienna (Austrian Theater Museum) 2010, p. 65.
  35. ^ Krzysztof Meyer: Shostakovich . Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach 1995, ISBN 3-7857-0772-X .
  36. Stefan Zweig: The world of yesterday. Memories of a European. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1986, p. 58.
  37. Minor Planet Circ. 16446 (PDF)
  38. ↑ Complete list of Schilling coins from 1947 to 2001, p. 35, Austrian National Bank OeNb PDF ( Memento from February 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  39. HamburgBallett: Program for Das Lied von der Erde
  40. Klaus Kieser, Katja Schneider: Reclam's ballet guide. 13., completely reworked. Edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 2002, pp. 276ff, 281.
  41. Entry on the 100th birthday of Gustav Mahler in the Austria Forum  (as a stamp illustration)
  42. Entry on the 150th birthday of Gustav Mahler in the Austria Forum  (as a stamp illustration)
  43. Entry on 500 Schilling - Gustav Mahler (1992) in the Austria Forum  (in the coin album)
  44. Thomas Mann: Death in Venice, aspects of interpretation. ( Memento from December 22, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) ( MS Word ; 101 kB)
  45. The last movement - books - Hanser literary publishers. Accessed July 31, 2020 .