Mahler: A Biography

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Overlook Press, Sep 1, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 254 pages
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Although Gustav Mahler has become one of most popular of composers, he remains widely misunderstood both as man and musician. In Mahler, Jonathan Carr analyzes and debunks many of the myths surrounding the composer, offering a complete re-examination of his life and work. Setting the stage with a look into Mahler's early career as an ambitious (and often ruthless) conductor, Carr focuses his eye on the composer's last decade -- his tempestuous marriage to the complicated but alluring Alma Schindler, his work as a "summer composer" in isolated huts in the country, his revolutionary achievements as director of the Vienna opera, his final years in America, and the circumstances around his death in 1911.In her memoirs Alma drew Mahler as a sickly, cerebral recluse. Arnold Schoenberg called him a "saint." Leonard Bernstein, largely responsible for the Mahler "boom" in the Sixties, found a "secret shame" at the heart of Mahler's music, "the shame of being a Jew and the shame of being ashamed." But he was also skilled at behind-the-scenes politicking in Vienna and a devotee of Oriental mysticism, both of which are crucial for a full understanding of Mahler. Using letters, diaries, and other material hitherto unavailable in English, Carr brilliantly challenges some of the most widely held assumptions about Mahler.

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MAHLER: A Biography

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A useful reference tool, somewhat marred by the author's zeal to make everyone a Mahler maniac. Some biographers scribe the life of their subject and let the reader decide whether the subject was ... Read full review

Mahler: a biography

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Carr, a British journalist living in Germany, has been researching Gustav Mahler's life and attending performances of his music since 1960. His concise, caring portrait turns flinty (and more ... Read full review


On the Road
To the Summit
Vienna Digging In

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About the author (1999)

Jonathan Carr was a former bureau chief of the Financial Times and The Economist. His other books include biographies of Helmut Schmidt and Gustav Mahler.

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