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Scholarly Journeys Toward Gustav Mahler – Essays in Honour of Henry-Louis de La Grange for his 90th Birthday

Paul-André Bempéchat

This collection of essays forms the second Festschrift to honour the dean of Gustav Mahler research, Henry-Louis de La Grange, on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday. It includes vibrant, new historical, theoretical, and aesthetic research on the complex mind which produced among the best-loved orchestral works and songs of Western classical music.
Henry-Louis de La Grange's passion and tireless devotion to Gustav Mahler began when he first heard his Ninth Symphony conducted by Bruno Walter at Carnegie Hall in New York. He went on to plumb the depths of this composer's mind and soul and to explore every facet of his existence.
Among the many honours he has gleaned since the publication of the first Festschrift, Neue Mahleriana (Lang, 1997), Henry-Louis de La Grange has been named Professor by the Government of Austria (1998) and Officier de l'Ordre de la Légion d'honneur (2006). He has also been awarded Bard College's Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters, the Österreichisches Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst, 1. Klasse (2010), the Gold Medal of the Internationale Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft (2010), and an honourary doctorate from The Juilliard School (2010). As another everlasting tribute, the American film director Jason Starr released his documentary film, For the Love of Mahler: The Inspired Life of Henry-Louis de La Grange, in 2015.
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Considering Max Graf: Observations and Translations


Considering Max Graf

Observations and Translations


Monumental biographies, like de La Grange’s Gustav Mahler, are important resources for research into less familiar figures linked to their subject. Inspired by references to Max Graf in Michael Haas’s recent book Forbidden Music, Graf’s life and personality are revisited here in a short essay which includes, in translation, two extended passages from Graf’s 1955 book Die Wiener Oper. This was a collection of his earlier critical writings published to mark the post-Second World War re-opening of the Vienna Opera. The selected pieces, ‘Gustav Mahler in the Coffee House’ (complete) and ‘Encounters with Gustav Mahler’ (extracts), both support and nuance de La Grange’s negative assessment of Graf. They point to ways in which Graf’s later attempts to obscure his former opposition to Mahler might retrospectively position that opposition as marked by personal jealousy and the pragmatics of his own negotiation, as a prominent Jewish critic, of pre-First World War Viennese anti-Semitism.

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