3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Interesting question - but a very poor book,
This review is from: Why Mahler?: How One Man and Ten Symphonies Changed Our World (Hardcover)
As a Mahler fan, I find the question "Why is Mahler so popular in the 21st century" an interesting one. I accept that the issue is going to be subjective.
It gradually became clear to me that this book has nothing to do with the 21st century or with the modern world. It is written by an older person, talking to people in their 80s. Rather than getting the input of the many conductors doing their "Mahler cycle", or other younger contemporary artists driving Mahler in the 21st century, we get 236 pages of old-fashioned opinionated views that are out of touch with how we currently think (the book was so poor that I refused to read the end - Lebrecht's opinion on which conductor made the best recordings - in order not to spoil my personal appreciation of all the records I have)
The book does follow the very modern trend of the celebrity culture and selling books based on some far-out theories about the subject.
I hope somebody makes some fun of Lebrecht explaining to him that in the 21st century indeed science would have found a solution for Mahler's problems - but maybe not in the way he thinks. After reading this book you get the impression the solution to his problems would be Viagra.
Maybe one of the reasons Mahler is so popular in the 21st century is the internet - we can all freely exchange information about composers we like. We no longer need critics like Mr Lebrecht. Critics haunted Mahler during his life. Mr Lebrecht might have had positive intentions - but his book really did not help a 21st century audience.