Gustav Mahler: The Wunderhorn Years: Chronicles and Commentaries
A work of painstaking and imaginative scholarship presented in eminently readable language. MUSICAL QUARTERLY Mitchell has amassed and processed an imposing amount of material, most of it new... It includes a section on Mahler and Freud, discusses Bach's influence on Mahler, and reproduces contemporary criticism... Invaluable for Mahler scholars and lovers. ECONOMIST Donald Mitchell's second book on the life and work of Gustav Mahler focuses principally on Mahler's first settings of Wunderhorn texts, volumes I and II of the Lieder und Gesaenge; his first song-cycle, the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen; and the later orchestral settings of Wunderhorn poems. The central section of the book explores the extraordinary and often eccentric chronology of the First, Second and Third Symphonies' composition, an often minute exploration which reveals the interpenetration of song and symphony in this period of Mahler's art, emphasizes the significance for these works of imagery drawn from the Wunderhorn anthology, and calls attention to the ambiguous position occupied by much of Mahler's music at this time, suspended as it was between the rival claims - and forms - of symphony and symphonic poem. The final section of the book not only looks at the Fourth Symphony as the final, perhaps most perfect, flowering of Mahler's Wunderhorn symphonies, but also investigates such fascinating topics as the relationship between Mahler and Berlioz, and the influence of Bach on Mahler's later masterpieces. This new edition of the book offers an entirely new preface, in which Mitchell gives a unique account of the influence of politics, nationalism and fascism on the reception and rejection of Mahler's music, after the composer's death until the Mahler Renaissance of the 1950s and 1960s. It also includes extensive corrigenda and amplifying addenda, making it clear that the Wunderhorn influence persisted beyond the end of the period during which the Wunderhorn anthology was a constant source of inspiration. It is completed by an international bibliography which documents chronologically the reception and study of his music both in the past, and the prodigiously different circumstances of the present. DONALD MITCHELL was Founder Professor of Music at the University of Sussex. He is well known for his major studies of Mahler, among his many other books and studies. He was awarded the CBE in 2000.