CLICK TO ENTER
Gustav Mahler died three years before the outbreak of the First World War. There was peace in the world in which and for which he wrote and performed his symphonies. The passionate, easily aroused Viennese temperament was therefore forced to find its outlet on the battlefield of music and the arts--a battlefield on which the Viennese citizen felt very much at home. A fighting pose and passionate partisanship characterized the Vienna of that time: Mahler's tempestuous nature was highly conducive to loosing storms about his head. The first performance of his Fourth Symphony led, as I recall, to fisticuffs within the precincts of the Musikvereinsaal. Passionate audience reaction to his daring music, however, was the rule rather than the exception at performances everywhere; their fascination grew out of the opposition as well as the enthusiasm that his works evoked. The impression made by his Third Symphony was overwhelming--and for the first time unquestioned--at the performance under Mahler's baton at the Krefeld Festival of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein in 1902. It established him definitely in the world of contemporary music. In the years that followed, however, performance of his symphonies often led to angry demonstrations and counter-demonstrations. Among his friends, Mahler met all this "for" and "against" with the reiterated conviction: "My time will come." [...]
SYMPHONY NO. 4 - CLICK TO ENLARGE
My faith in Mahler's immortality is strengthened by a realization of the enduring character of the reforms he carried through in the Vienna Opera. Contemporary productions, designed to realize the intentions of the composer by stressing the dramatic significance of the work and of what is taking place on the stage, date back to Mahler's time as general director, of which I speak in the following pages. Even in the precarious world in which we live there is ground for hope when the flame of a potent personality lives on, incandescent in creation and in reproduction. As I mentioned in my opening words, I am, despite--or, perhaps, because of--the distance of time, conscious of closer contact with a man of genius, to whom I owe much in my own life, a man who was, in decisive years, my model, a man whose deep humanity will always remain with me.
SYMPHONY NO. 6 - CLICK TO ENLARGE