WRTI's Essential Classical Composer No. 11: Gustav Mahler

Jan 30, 2017

If you have a picture of “German symphonic composer” in your mind, Gustav Mahler’s face may very well be that picture. Our Essential Winter Member Drive Countdown continues with Mahler coming in as No. 11.

Here are some things you may not have pictured:

  • His ancestors were peddlers, distillers, and innkeepers. He was born in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), and died in Austria.

  • A part-time composer, he was known during his life mostly as a conductor
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  • He was director of the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera
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  • When he was 14, his younger brother Ernst died. Mahler began one of his earliest compositions, an opera called Duke Ernst of Swabia.

  • Mahler said, “All that is not perfect down to the smallest detail is doomed to perish" but his symphonies are huge. He must have spent many nights burning the midnight oil...

Kile Smith looks at “a symphony bigger than the world: Mahler’s Second, the “Resurrection.”