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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 All the symphonies, including the purely instrumental ones, can be traced back to programs that Mahler originally made public, but suppressed later on.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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Bibliographic Information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available in the internet at

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Floros, Constantin. | Bernhardt-Kabisch, Ernest, 1934- translator. Title: Gustav Mahler's mental world : a systematic representation / Constantin Floros ; translated by Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch. Other titles: Geistige Welt Mahlers in systematischer Darstellung. English Description: Frankfurt am Main : Peter Lang, 2016. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2016035522 | ISBN 9783631667644 Subjects: LCSH: Mahler, Gustav, 1860-1911--Psychology. | Mahler, Gustav, 1860-1911--Criticism and interpretation. Classification: LCC ML410.M23 F5313 2016 | DDC 780.92 [B] --dc23 LC record available at

Cover illustration: Gustav Mahler, Iglau 1881 (the name of the photographer is unknown)

Revised and expanded version of “Die geistige Welt Gustav Mahlers in systematischer Darstellung”, published 2016 by Breitkopf & Härtel. 4. Edition Wiesbaden 2016

ISBN 978-3-631-66764-4 (Print) E-ISBN 978-3-653-06401-8 (E-PDF) E-ISBN 978-3-631-69789-4 (EPUB) E-ISBN 978-3-631-69790-0 (MOBI) DOI 10.3726/978-3-653-06401-8

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