Austrian composer and conductor Gustav Mahler was born on 7 July 1860 in Kalischt, Bohemia, and grew up in Iglau, discovering his grandparents' piano at the age of four, and performing in public at the age of ten. He studied piano at the Vienna Conservatoire with Julius Epstein, concentrating on harmony and composition with Robert Fuchs and Franz Krenn in his final year.
He earned his living primarily as a conductor, culminating in a few years at New York Metropolitan Opera, with composition a part-time activity. His symphonies received very mixed press.
Mahler died in Vienna on 18 May 1911, leaving an incomplete tenth symphony.
CD Spotlight. A Very Worthy Performance - Geoff Pearce listens to Santtu-Matias Rouvali conducting Mahler's Resurrection Symphony. '... impressive in its conception and in the quality of the chorus, band and soloists.'
Ensemble. Conjuring the Spirit of Bernstein - Adam J Sacks reports on two Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts at Tanglewood
Classical music news. August 2023 Newsletter - Watch and listen to our August 2023 one hour video newsletter - The Creative Spark
Classical music news. Appointments - New (and existing) jobs for members of the international classical music community
Profile. The Self-Assured Conductor - Anett Fodor tells the story of Arthur Nikisch, from his Hungarian roots to international acclaim
Ensemble. An Ambitious Undertaking - Lucas Ball listens to Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony performed by a regional choir and orchestra
Classical music news. Rhythms of the Brain - Performance news from Iceland, New Zealand and Malta
CD Spotlight. All Praise - Nielsen symphonies, enthusiastically recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Maybe the best set ever of Nielsen's symphonic cycle in immaculate sound quality and sumptuous presentation.'
Ensemble. Exuberant and Briskly to the Point - Mike Wheeler listens to Stravinsky and Mahler from Derby Concert Orchestra
CD Spotlight. Subliminal Pedagogy - John Dante Prevedini listens to Thomas Quasthoff singing Schubert, Mahler and J S Bach at Verbier. 'Taken within the context of Verbier, this album documents just as effectively his gift for pedagogical modeling as it does his vocal virtuosity.'
CD Spotlight. A Transcendental Experience - Gerald Fenech is impressed by this Mahler symphony cycle from Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. 'It is absolutely mystifying how this kind of music-making is humanly possible.'
CD Spotlight. Fascinating Listening - Music by Alban Berg, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... the BBC Symphony Orchestra is on top form ...'
CD Spotlight. Tender and Intimate - Geoff Pearce listens to Mahler's Fourth Symphony. 'I find this recording very satisfying on so many levels.'
Ensemble. A Massive and Moving Sound - Keith Bramich listens to Dvořák's Requiem at the first evening concert of the 2022 Three Choirs Festival in Hereford Cathedral
Ensemble. Beyond Earthly Existence - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on the International Chigiana Festival and Summer Academy
Ensemble. Fascinatingly Elusive - Dora Pejačević, Sibelius and Mahler from Tamsin Waley-Cohen, Jan Latham-Koenig and the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Bruckner the Trumpet - Gerald Fenech listens to Bruckner's Symphony No 3, transposed for organ. '... Hansjörg Albrecht's renditions of these spectacular transcriptions by Erwin Horn are absolutely flawless.'
Ensemble. Still Young After Two Hundred Years - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on a special anniversary season of the Accademia Filarmonica Romana
Ensemble. A Triumph of Mahler and Hrůša - Giuseppe Pennisi was at one of the opening concerts of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia's new season
CD Spotlight. A Connection with Mahler - Music by Penderecki, recommended by Geoff Pearce. 'The Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Sopot, conducted by Wojciech Rajski, is magnificent.'
Ensemble. Backwards and Forwards - Mike Wheeler rounds up his coverage of the 2021 Buxton Festival with concerts by Sarah Connoly, Roderick Williams and Natalie Clein
CD Spotlight. Intensely Personal and Complex - Gerald Fenech listens to Mahler's Seventh Symphony on a recording from a brand new label. 'Kirill Petrenko keeps the music flowing with grace and conviction ...'
CD Spotlight. Beyond Memorable - Hans Rosbaud conducts Gustav Mahler symphonies, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Rosbaud ... lays out the whole range of Mahler's passion with a fiery sense of musicality.'
Ensemble. A Survival Strategy - Giuseppe Pennisi writes about the current music scene in Italy, touching on recent notable performances
CD Spotlight. Night and Day - Osmo Vänskä's recording of Mahler's Symphony No 7, recommended by Patrick Maxwell. 'The music on this impressive recording deserves much larger recognition ...'
CD Spotlight. Committed and Highly Energetic - Gerald Fenech listens to Mahler 6 from the Essener Philharmoniker. 'Netopil has stiff competition but this meticulously detailed, immaculately paced, vibrantly played version can stand with heads held high among the most recent issues of this work.'
CD Spotlight. A Delight - Song cycles by Mahler, Berg and Rhian Samuel, sung by Ruby Hughes with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, impress Geoff Pearce. 'Right from the start, she shows a more flexible and somewhat lighter voice, but a very good understanding of the lyrics, and she colours her voice beautifully to express this.'
CD Spotlight. Why Mahler? - Roger Norrington's interpretation of Mahler's Fourth Symphony, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Roger Norrington presents the music very much as Mahler would have approved, and dynamics are never exaggerated. The orchestra is never allowed to be short on emotion and overall this performance is deeply moving. Anu Komsi is also perfectly cast as the child-like soprano in the last movement.'
CD Spotlight. Arrangements for Chamber Orchestra - Gerald Fenech listens to scaled-down Busoni, Debussy and Mahler. 'All four works retain a certain freshness in their new garb, and despite the sound world created being slightly less opulent than their orchestral originals, they still acquire a more fully-fleshed structure than some keyboard reductions.'
Ensemble. Alternative Energy - San Diego Symphony's new music director Rafael Payare conducts music by Mason Bates and Gustav Mahler, heard by Ron Bierman
Ensemble. Germanic Gravitas? - Adam J Sacks marks the opening of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra's new season
Ensemble. Packed With Good Things - Roderic Dunnett reports from the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester
Profile. Only the Screen - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė talks to the Belgian singer and conductor Tore Tom Denys
Fun and Frolics - Mozart, Beethoven, Grieg and Mahler from Benjamin Grosvenor, the Hallé Orchestra and Gergely Madaras, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Mahler's 'Resurrection' - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on an Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia performance in Rome
Ensemble. A Superb Mix of Music and Visuals - 'Snow White' danced to music by Gustav Mahler, experienced by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. A Compelling New Reading - Anett Fodor is impressed by Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra's recent recording of Mahler's Fifth Symphony. 'Daniel Harding awakens and keeps the listener's curiosity captive, demanding thorough attention for his compelling interpretation.'
Classical music news. Mahler Education - Joy Lisney conducts a special performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony
Ensemble. The Touch of Gatti - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Wagner and Mahler from the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome
Plangent and Nimble - Naples-born clarinettist and composer Luca Luciano impresses Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Playing The Long Game - Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony from Jamie Phillips and the Hallé Orchestra impresses Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. A Life-enhancing Work - Gustav Mahler's Symphony No 9 impresses Gerald Fenech. '... Harding's handling of the inner angst of the music is faultlessly revealing.'
CD Spotlight. Sensitive Direction - Gustav Mahler's 'Das Klagende Lied', heard by Geoff Pearce. '... a fine performance of a somewhat little-known work.'
Ensemble. Dynamic Performances - Vladimir Jurowski conducts Zemlinsky and Mahler, appreciated by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Engagingly Clear-eyed - Mahler, Mendelssohn and Vaughan Williams from Derby Concert Orchestra, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ask Alice - Classical Music Agony Aunt Alice McVeigh gives Bromley Symphony Orchestra's Mahler/Schumann concert a plug
CD Spotlight. Totally Compelling - Schoenberg's arrangements of Mahler songs impress Geoff Pearce. '... I found this version very interesting and overall, more intimate ...'
CD Spotlight. Engagingly Delivered - Robert Meyer's 'Discovering the Double Bass', heard by the late Howard Smith. '... a rare and welcome initiative ...'
Ensemble. The Treasured Crown - Roderic Dunnett reports in depth on last month's Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester
Ensemble. Resonant Baritone - Mike Wheeler describes Josep-Ramon Olivé and Ben-San Lau's Buxton debut
Ensemble. Sinopoli's Loneliness - A concert in memory of the Italian conductor, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Mahler in Monte-Carlo - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the Printemps des Arts Festival
Ensemble. Sincere Conversion - Mahler's 'Creation', heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Illuminating Details - Arrangements by Graham Hall, heard by Mike Wheeler
A Higher Standard - Malcolm Miller reports from the Wigmore Hall / Kohn Foundation International Song Competition
Ensemble. Celebrating Pierre Boulez - Giuseppe Pennisi continues his reports from the Salzburg Summer Festival
Ensemble. Delicate Shadings - Noriko Ogawa, the Warsaw Philharmonic and Jacek Kaspszyk, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Musical Homecoming - Myung-Whun Chung returns to Rome to conduct Beethoven and Mahler, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Two Stages - Manfred Honeck conducts Mozart and Mahler, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Well Realized - Varda Kotler and Israel Kastoriano, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... partnership and sensitivity ...'
Ask Alice - Mahler programme notes with special annotations, from classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. Highly Successful - Roderic Dunnett looks back to Worcester's 2014 Three Choirs Festival, and forward to Hereford's Festival in July 2015
CD Spotlight. Shattering Mastery? - Mahler 2 for double piano duet, heard by Howard Smith. '... secure professionalism and laudable aplomb.'
Ensemble. Phew! - Mahler's Ninth Symphony from Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra impresses Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Particularly Well Suited - Sasha Cooke saves the day in Cleveland, by Suzanne Torrey
Ensemble. Chung vs Pappano - Giuseppe Pennisi compares versions of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony
CD Spotlight. Collaborative Effect - Martha Argerich and friends in Lugano, heard by Barbara Sealock. 'Among the recorded gems of 2013 ...'
CD Spotlight. Haunting Images - Mahler arranged by Schoenberg, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'An unusual interpretation of "Das Lied" in excellent sound and presentation ...'
Ensemble. Maximum Expressive Contrast - Henning Kraggerud and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra with Stéphane Denève, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Eagerly Awaited - Opening night at Severance Hall, by Suzanne Torrey
CD Spotlight. Greatest of Pleasure - Tchaikovsky and Mahler from Goldstone and Haitink, heard by Bill Newman. '... moving in the extreme.'
Ensemble. Deeply Moving - Handel, Elgar and Mahler, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Glorious Music - Mahler's Third Symphony opens the Cleveland Orchestra's 94th season, reviewed by Suzanne Torrey
CD Spotlight. Tempting Fate - Songs by Sibelius, Brahms, Schubert and Mahler, heard by Robert Anderson. '... ripe understanding ...'
Ensemble. Powerfully Involving - Juanjo Mena and the BBC Philharmonic, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Dubious Tampering - Chamber arrangements of Mahler and Debussy, heard by Howard Smith. '... a highly skilled, finely rehearsed unit.'
CD Spotlight. Communicative Benediction - Hermine Haselböck sings Mahler lieder, recommended by Howard Smith. '... on a par with legendary German mezzo Christa Ludwig ...'
Ensemble. Faust versus Faust - Two concerts conducted by Antonio Pappano, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Wonderful Playing - Christoph Eschenbach and the Vienna Philharmonic visit Brisbane, reviewed by Gillian Wills
Ensemble. A Double Experiment - Avant-garde and late romanticism at La Sagra Malatestiana, by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Exciting Teamwork - Roderic Dunnett was in Worcester for the 2011 Three Choirs Festival
Ensemble. A Real Triumph - The 2011 Sferisterio Festival, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Formidable Hurdles - Music by George Rochberg, heard by Howard Smith. '... an eloquent performance, effectively recorded.'
CD Spotlight. Compelling and Pleasurable - Arthur Friedheim plays Liszt, Chopin, Gottschalk and Henselt, heard by Patric Standford. '... a slightly improvisatory interpretation ...'
Ensemble. Towards a Better World - Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra are currently on a world tour. Giuseppe Pennisi listens to their concert in Rome
Profile. Humanizing Emotions - American conductor James Conlon talks to Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Delightfully Engaging - Alison Balsom plays Hummel's Trumpet Concerto, heard by Mike Wheeler
Mahler versus Mahler - Two symphony orchestras are playing Mahler in Rome, by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ask Alice - Technology and music, plus Elgar in Lowestoft, with classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. Deeply Expressive - Mahler, Weber and Strauss at Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler
DVD Spotlight. Ho hum! - Vidor Nagy plays Bach and Paganini, reviewed by Howard Smith. '... moments of splendour.'
Timings - Breaking Moulds: 1910, by Jennifer Paull
Ensemble. Unique and Moving - Mahler's Fifth Symphony - a self-metamorphosis from grief to ecstatic energy, by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Well Worth Exploration - Orchestral music by Lodewijk Mortelmans, heard by Robert Anderson. 'The performances ... are a delight ...'
A Golden Treasury - Havergal Brian on European and American music, read by Patric Standford
CD Spotlight. Ingeniously Crafted - Orchestral music by Donald Tovey, heard by Stephen Francis Vasta. '... the Malmö Opera Orchestra plays handsomely for George Vass.'
Heroes Step Up in Crisis - The Muti era lays claim to Chicago, by Barbara Sealock
Ensemble. An Ecstatic Success - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the Sagra Musicale Malatestiana
CD Spotlight. Powerful and Concise - Blomstedt conducts Richard Strauss, heard by Robert Anderson. '... a composer of infinite promise ...'
Ensemble. Top Class Musicianship - Roderic Dunnett visits Gloucester for the 2010 Three Choirs Festival
Ensemble. Performance to Cherish - Lawrence Budmen submits a further report from the Tanglewood Festival 2010
Masks - Jennifer Paull continues her investigation of musical and theatrical masks
Masks - Jennifer Paull investigates a layering of musical and theatrical masks, with the omnipresent eerie reminder of the gas mask
Ensemble. Awakening of Nature - Mahler's Third Symphony, appreciated by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Mahler versus Mahler - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Antonio Pappano and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Ensemble. Under the Tuscan Sun - Giuseppe Pennisi attends the beginning of the Tiroler Festspiele 2010
Ensemble. A Top-notch Formation - Operas by Zemlinsky and Puccini, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A World-class Orchestra - Mike Wheeler listens to the Bergen Philharmonic
Ensemble. The Devil and the Bourgeoisie - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Arrigo Boito's 'Mefistofele'
Ensemble. Wilfully Distorted - Petrenko conducts the RLPO, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. High Voltage - Sol Gabetta joins Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. Shattering Conviction - Mike Wheeler listens to Markus Stenz and the Hallé in music by Colin Matthews and Mahler
Ensemble. A Class Of Its Own - Lawrence Budmen listens to the Cleveland Orchestra
CD Spotlight. Transcendent Resignation - Mahler's Ninth Symphony, heard by David Wilkins. '... played with love and knowledge and commitment ...'
Ensemble. A Double Farewell - Henze and Mahler in Rome, reported by Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Invigoratingly Natural - Van Beinum conducts Mahler, recommended by Howard Smith. '... a tad less frenetic ...'
Ensemble. Thoughtfully Conceived - James Judd conducts Handel's 'Messiah', reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Ask Alice - The most beautiful sound in the world, with classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. A Sparkling Concert - Sabbath music from the Zemel Choir, enjoyed by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. A Cogent Argument - Mike Wheeler listens to Stephen Johnson and the BBC Philharmonic
Timings - Universal Edition's preparations for the Mahler Centenary years (2010-2011), by Jennifer Paull
Bizarre Perception - Alistair Hinton discusses a recent article on English music by David Hamilton
Ensemble. Sing ye to the Lord - Roderic Dunnett was at the 2009 Hereford Three Choirs Festival
CD Spotlight. A Purposeful Vigour - Symphonies by Albéric Magnard impress Patric Standford. '... a notable symphonic architect.'
Ensemble. Full Rein - Sinfonia Viva at the Buxton Festival, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Sensuality and Freedom - Stokowski conducts Schubert and Dvorák, heard by Béla Hartmann. '... one is never left in any doubt as to the force of the conductor ...'
Ask Alice - On freelancers, swiping work and danger money, with classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
CD Spotlight. A Distinctive Voice - Music by Vincent d'Indy, recommended by Robert Anderson. 'The eloquent solo viola of Lawrence Power is crucial ...'
Ensemble. Tremendous Conviction - Mahler's Symphony No 2 in Derby Cathedral, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Meltingly Beautiful - Joshua Bell joins Vladimir Ashkenazy and the New World Symphony for music by Saint-Saëns and Mahler, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Record Box. Dazzling Works - Contemporary music from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, recommended by Patric Standford
Record Box. An Unfolding Cycle - Gergiev conducts Mahler, heard by Patric Standford
Ensemble. Quirky Humour - Uri Caine meets Sinfonia Viva, and Mike Wheeler listens
Ensemble. Tremendous Energy - Mahler and Mozart in Nottingham, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Profile. Expressing the Universe - Gillian Wills talks to conductor Muhai Tang
CD Spotlight. Flawlessly Performed - Shostakovich's Symphony No 10, chosen by Howard Smith. '... the results are very special.'
Ensemble. Capturing the Essence - Mike Wheeler returns to the Buxton Festival to hear members of Sinfonia Viva
CD Spotlight. Quite Magical - Staatskapelle Berlin plays Mahler's Ninth, recommended by Patric Standford. 'Barenboim and Mahler are fine partners.'
Ensemble. Simply Ravishing - Sakari Oramo and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra play Mahler, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Tanglewood and Beyond - The sounds of summer in the Berkshires, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Baton Magician? - David Stahl in conversation with Tess Crebbin about Bernstein, Mahler and German-language opera
Record box. An appealing programme - Mahler, Schumann and Britten, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Giants? - Alistair Hinton replies to Patric Standford's latest Provocative Thoughts
Record box. Power and pathos - Temirkanov conducts Mahler, reviewed by Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. A musical homecoming - New World Symphony alumni return to Miami Beach for a special concert, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. Important revivals - Hindemith and Mahler played by members of the New World Symphony, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
CD Spotlight. Interlinking resonances - A song recital by Malena Ernman, reviewed by Robert Hugill. '... lively and charmingly refreshing ...'
Ensemble. Visions and miracles - Scott Yoo conducts music by Shostakovich, Christopher Theofanidis and Schubert, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
European tour - A preview, of sorts, of the Cleveland Orchestra's four-city, three festival visit, by Kelly Ferjutz
Ensemble. Beyond perfection - Mahler's Resurrection Symphony: Levine's farewell concert in Munich, by Tess Crebbin
Ensemble. An evening full of Hampsongs - by Sissy von Kotzebue
Ensemble. Pas de posthorn - John Neumeier's choreography of Mahler's Third Symphony, reviewed by Sissy von Kotzebue
DVD Spotlight. Prophetic merit - Thomas Hampson sings Mahler's 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn', appreciated by Tess Crebbin. '... a stunning visual and auditory experience.'
DVD Spotlight. Life matters - The first of a three part series about Mahler's Third Symphony, exploring Jason Starr's film documentary
A map to our soul - Tess Crebbin explores the art of Thomas Hampson
Provocative thoughts, from Patric Standford - Sacrifice
CD Spotlight. Bitter tears - Kathleen Ferrier sings 'Das Lied von der Erde' on Naxos Historical, and David Wilkins is impressed. '... mastery of word-painting ...'
Monk and Mahler - Lawrence Budmen reviews Tilson Thomas performances in Miami
Ensemble. Of head and heart - David Thompson samples three symphonies from two international orchestras at the BBC Proms
Provocative thoughts, from Patric Standford - completions
CD Spotlight - Monumental achievements. Some thoughts on Bernstein's recordings of the Mahler symphonies, by David Wilkins (concluded from yesterday)
CD Spotlight - Monumental achievements. Some thoughts on Bernstein's recordings of the Mahler symphonies, by David Wilkins (continued from yesterday)
CD Spotlight - Monumental achievements. Some thoughts on Bernstein's recordings of the Mahler symphonies, by David Wilkins (continued from yesterday)
CD Spotlight - Monumental achievements. '... stunningly committed performances ...' Some thoughts on Bernstein's recordings of the Mahler symphonies, by David Wilkins
Sharing the response - Bill Newman in conversation with Petr Altrichter (concluded from last week)
Sharing the response - Bill Newman in conversation with Petr Altrichter (continued from last week)
Sharing the response - Bill Newman in conversation with Petr Altrichter
Record Box - Instant Blend - Weigl the unknown, with Basil Ramsey