After Mahler

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 19, 2013 - History - 276 pages
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Gustav Mahler is often thought of as one of the last of the Romantic composers and, as a result his influence on the development of twentieth-century music has been little explored. In this ground-breaking study, Stephen Downes shows that Mahler's music was in fact greatly admired by major composers Benjamin Britten, Kurt Weill and Hans Werner Henze. Despite their initial admiration being notably dissonant with the prevailing Zeitgeist - Britten in 1930s England, Weill in 1920s Germany and Henze in 1950s Germany and Italy - Downes argues that Mahler's music struck a profound chord with them because of the powerful way in which it raised and intensified dystopian and utopian complexes and probed the possibility of fulfilment or redemption, an ambition manifest in ambiguous tonal, temporal and formal processes.

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Music examples
Britten and Mahler 60
5a Frank Bridge The Sea Seascape fig 3 86
6b Britten Seascape close 92
opening 112
shocks dreams and temporality in
12a and 3 12b Weill Der Silhersee instrumental coda to Act 2 bb 484
Henze and Mahler 196
List of music examples
after fig 33 to fig 36 250
Bibliography 254

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About the author (2013)

Stephen Downes is Professor of Music at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of two books on the music of Karol Szymanowski and won the Wilk Prize for Research in Polish Music (University of Southern California) and the Karol Szymanowski memorial medal. He is also the author of The Muse as Eros (2006), Music and Decadence in European Modernism (2010) and Hans Werne Henze: Tristan (2011).

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