Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) is a late-Romantic composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born to a Jewish family in the village of Kaliste in Bohemia, in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now the Czech Republic.

Als componist fungeerde Gustav Mahler als brug tussen de 19e-eeuwse Oostenrijks-Duitse traditie en het modernisme van het begin van de 20e eeuw. Hoewel zijn status als dirigent tijdens zijn leven buiten kijf stond, werd zijn eigen muziek pas populair na perioden van relatieve verwaarlozing, waaronder een verbod op de uitvoering ervan in een groot deel van Europa tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog.

 

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) - Symfonie nr. 1 (1889)

Gustav Mahler’s oeuvre is relatively small; for much of his life composing was necessarily a part-time activity while he earned his living as a conductor. Aside from early works such as a movement from a piano quartet, composed when he was a student in Vienna, Gustav Mahler’s works are designed for large orchestral forces, symphonic choruses and operatic soloists.

 

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) - Symfonie nr. 2 (1894)

His works were often controversial when first performed, and several were slow to receive critical and popular approval. Some of Gustav Mahler’s immediate musical successors included the composers of the Second Viennese School, notably Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern.