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Why Mahler?: How One Man and Ten Symphonies Changed Our World Paperback – November 1, 2011
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“A brisk, engaging journey through the life of a fascinating and enormously influential artist.”
—Kansas City Star
“Very enjoyable to read, gossipy as well as learned, and it makes the man come to life.”
“Lebrecht’s book brings Mahler scholarship into to the present by including interviews with conductors, visits to sites with Mahler connections and an excellent annotated discography.”
“Readers of Why Mahler? will be grateful to Lebrecht for his enthusiasm and for his highly personal cultural history.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“As a short introduction to the meaning of Mahler, this sympathetic biography will do very well.”
—The Times (London)
“We could not put the book down. Mahler is boss.”
Top Customer Reviews
It gets worse in the biographical section of the book, where the facts are decidedly subordinate to Lebrechts Big Idea about Mahler, i.e., that the composer was influenced to a very great extent by his jewish background. Let me quote one striking example of Lebrecht's method - and absurdity. It is a description of Mahler's and Alma's wedding. The groom, says Lebrecht (misreading Alma), when trying to kneel tripped over his prayer stool and fell flat on his face instead. The priest mocked him for it, gratified to see this little heathen duly floored. Why did Mahler really fall, wonders Lebrecht? He thinks he found the answer on a visit to the wedding location, the Karlskirche in Vienna. Over the high altar is the Hebrew tetragrammaton that symbolizes God. Mahler must have seen it, guesses Lebrecht. It confronted him with his ancestral heritage and the fact that a Jew like he had no business being in a church.Read more ›
After many years,in my forties,I tried my luck again. This time I listened to the First and Fifth Symphonies and felt there was something unique with Mahler's music. To such an extent that after some weeks,Mahler has become an obssesion with me and had from then on ranked as the second most favourite composer,the first one still being Beethoven.
I have also bought and read almost all the major works published on Mahler both in English and German.
Now we come the Norman Lebrech's new book,"WHY MAHLER"?
First,this book is a mishmash of journalistic writing, personal reflections,academic quotations,narcissism and other different styles of pulp-fiction styles-all these written in the present tense.
To be honest,I know of no composer or any other artist of Mahler's magnitute who had managed to change the world. The world,volens nolens, is not ruled or governed by artists,thus the pompous sub-title is definitely redundant.
Now,pay attention to the following ideas written in this farcical book;"the Third movement of the First Symphony is the way the world's protests and indifference against infant mortality
rates of 56% !"
The opening of the Third is an implied protest against racial discrimination. Next:the Sixth is Mahler's foretelling of WW1 and WW2 plus the Holocaust. Do you want to know why? Because the German conductor Klaus Tennstedt said so once.
Next,there is a connection between Mahler's hemorrhoids to Lebrecht's gall bladder operation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wonderful book that will make you fall in love with Gustav Mahler and his musicPublished 1 month ago by Scott R. Reynders
It was after the invention of Compact Discs that my collection of Mahler took off. I never really wondered why but Norman Lebrecht brings up an interesting point in this book that... Read morePublished 6 months ago by William S Jamison
I LOVE THE MUSIC OF MAHLER, A VERY COMPLEX AND SAD MAN, BUT AN INCREDIBLE COMPOSER WHO BELIEVED IN MYSTICISM....CHECK IT OUT. Read morePublished 12 months ago by D. J. Singer
This book, which isn't worth the toilet paper it was written on, is a minefield of cliches, half truths, and out and out lies by one of the most irresponsible, unprepared, and... Read morePublished 15 months ago by SRJ
Mahler's symphonies inspire everything from condemnation to adoration. This book attempts to explore why that should be - much more so than any other late 19th/early 20th century... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Jonathan R. Smith
I used to read Lebrecht's review's, not any more !. The whole work comes across as though it were written by a nauseating sycophant.Published on October 2, 2014 by Amfortas