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Gustav Mahler’s Mental World

A Systematic Representation. Translated by Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch

Constantin Floros

With his extensive three-volume investigation, the author has newly drawn the image of Gustav Mahler for our time. Should Mahler’s symphonies really be categorized as «absolute music»? – Little-known manuscript sources contain significant hints to the contrary: programmatic titles and catchwords or phrases, mottos, literary allusions, associations, sighs, exclamations. Mahler fully understood his symphonies as «erlebte Musik», music of experience, as autobiography in notes, and as expressions of his «weltanschauung». All the symphonies, including the purely instrumental ones, can be traced back to programs that Mahler originally made public, but suppressed later on. A knowledge of the programmatic ideas provides access to a hitherto barely sensed interior metaphysical world that is of crucial importance for an adequate interpretation of the works. This first volume uncovers the complexity of relations between Mahler’s wide-ranging reading and education, his aesthetics and his symphonic creation.


About the German edition of this book:

«One of the most thoroughgoing and comprehensive investigations of Gustav Mahler’s work and world to date.»

(Norddeutscher Rundfunk)


«The way in which Mahler’s literary background, his education, and his aesthetic and philosophical maxims are presented here indeed opens up a new approach.»

(Die Musikforschung)

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AME Alma Mahler, Gustav Mahler. Erinnerungen und Briefe, 2nd ed. Amsterdam, 1949.

AMML Alma Mahler-Werfel, Mein Leben. Frankfurt and Hamburg, 1963 (Fischer Bücherei 545)

BL Natalie Bauer-Lechner, Erinnerungen an Gustav Mahler. Ed. J. Killian. Leipzig-Vienna-Zurich, 1923

BL2 Herbert Killian, ed., Gustav Mahler in den Erinnerungen von Natalie Bauer-Lechner. Hamburg, 1984

GMB Gustav Mahler Briefe 1879–1911. Ed. Alma Maria Mahler. Berlin-Vienna-Leipzig, 1924

GMB2 Herta Blaukopf, ed., Gustav Mahlers Briefe. New, enlarged and revised ed. Vienna/Hamburg, 1982

GS Gesammelte Schriften (Collected Writings)

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