MAHLER, GUSTAV (1860–1911), composer and conductor. Born in Kalischt, Bohemia, Mahler began his career as a conductor of operettas in Bad Hall. He rose through positions in Ljubljana, Olomouc, Kassel, Prague, Leipzig, Budapest, and Hamburg and progressed to become, in 1897, the director of the Vienna Court Opera. (He had to convert to Catholicism to secure this position and was baptized in the spring of 1897.) His tenure in Vienna brought the opera to a level of artistic achievement previously unknown there. However, he resigned in 1907 because of hostile intrigues. His remaining winters   were spent in New York where he conducted the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. He died in Vienna. Mahler, although one of the most popular symphonic composers today, was overshadowed as a composer in his lifetime by his successes as a conductor. His attempts to compose opera were abortive despite his genius as opera director. His libretto Ruebezahl survives, without music, and unpublished. Though no opera by Mahler exists, his sense of musical drama is evident in his ten symphonies and his "symphony in songs," Das Lied von der Erde. Four of the symphonies contain substantial vocal sections; in fact, the Eighth is a gigantic choral work. Mahler did not live to complete his Tenth Symphony; however, Deryck Cooke's "performing version" has been widely accepted as an authentic presentation. Mahler's songs, often written to folk texts, show deep understanding of the voice. Many themes from the songs were reworked in the symphonies. The most important song cycles are Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (1884) and Kindertotenlieder (1900–02). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: MGG; Grove, Dict; Riemann-Gurlitt; Baker, Biog Dict; O. Klemperer, Minor Recollections (1964), 9–41; A.M. Mahler, Gustav Mahler, Memories and Letters (1968); B. Walter, Gustav Mahler (1970); D. Mitchell, Gustav Mahler: The Early Years (1958); D. Newlin, Bruckner-Mahler-Schoenberg (1947, rev. ed. 1971). (Dika Newlin)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Mahler,Gustav — Mah·ler (mäʹlər), Gustav. 1860 1911. Austrian composer and conductor of the Vienna State Opera House (1897 1907) whose completed works, most notably Das Lied von der Erde (1908) and Symphony Number 9 (1909), are unrestricted by conventional… …   Universalium

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