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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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The Popularity of Mahler’s Music in Vienna between 1911 and 1938



It is a persistent belief that after Gustav Mahler’s death his works were rarely performed until the so-called Mahler Renaissance of the 1960s, and that only a handful of conductors kept his music alive in the interim. Upon examining lists of orchestral performances, biographies of conductors, the rental library of Universal Edition and contemporaneous reviews, a completely different picture has emerged. Between November 1911 and February 1938, there were 345 confirmed concerts in Vienna alone that included at least one major work on the programme; six or more concerts including a movement from the Fifth or Seventh; approximately thirty-eight additional concerts including one or more orchestral Lieder; thirty-one radio performances of major works, as well as countless public dress rehearsals, often sold out. This adds up to well over four hundred occasions during which one of Mahler’s orchestral compositions could be heard, and there were hundreds of recitals where his Lieder were sung—a far cry from the popular notion that his music had fallen into oblivion, but rather a level of popularity that has not been matched in Vienna since.

While working with Professor Henry-Louis de La Grange on Volume IV of the English version of his monumental biography of Gustav Mahler,1 I was asked to update the appendix on performance history after 1911, which had been translated from his French Volume III.2 He handed me information drawn from several biographies of conductors as well as additional materials...

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