The Romantic Legacy

late nineteenth to early twentieth century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz

Gustav Mahler



Gustav Mahler was born to Jewish parents in Kalist, Bohemia. He began piano lessons at the age of six, and gave his first public recital four years later. He suffered a traumatic childhood at the hands of a strict father, growing up to be a neurotic and temperamental young man. In 1875 he entered the Vienna Conservatoire, where he studied the piano, harmony, and composition. He also developed what was to be a lifelong interest in political and philosophical ideas, which led him to enrol at the university in 1878. The same year he composed his first substantial work, Das klagende Lied (The Song of Sorrow), a cantata for tour voices, chorus, and orchestra to a text by the composer himself.

Throughout his life, Mahler earned most of his income as a conductor. In 1880 he was appointed to his first conducting post in Upper Austria. During the next few years he moved around from opera house to opera house, gaining vital experience of the standard repertory. While he was at Kassel (1883—5) an unhappy love affair provided the inspiration for his first masterpiece, the song-cycle Lieder eines fahrenden Qesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer). He moved to Prague in 1885, and after spells at Leipzig, as second conductor to Artur Nikisch, and then Budapest lie went to Hamburg in 1891, undertaking the heaviest schedule of his life - conducting as many as 19 operas a month.

By 1894 Mahler had finished his gigantic Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection symphony) in five movements, which lasts for 80 minutes. He had encountered many problems during its gestation, and for a long time he was unable to begin the last movement. Then, early in 1894, Mahler attended the funeral of a friend. At the climax of the service the choir intoned the Resurrection ode by eighteenth-century German poet Friedrich Klopstock; Mahler rushed home and immediately set to work using this as the basis for the missing movement. As well as its choral finale, the Resurrection symphony includes a setting for alto voice of texts from a collection of folk poetry entitled Des Knaben Wunderhorn, which Mahler returned to for his Third and Fourth symphonies.

By 1893 Mahler had established his lifelong pattern of composing in the summer and conducting in the winter. In 1897 he renounced his Jewish faith in order to gain the coveted post of Director of the Vienna Court Opera. His achievements there marked one of the most glorious decades in the Opera House's prestigious history. In 1898 he became conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic. He attracted large audiences, but his authoritarian manner and unconventional musical views antagonized players and administrators alike. In 1902 he married Alma Schindler, with whom he had two daughters. The marriage did not always run smoothly, as Mahler demanded that his wite should arrange her life entirely around his. The problems between them came to a head in 1910 when Alma's affair with the architect Walter Gropnis led Mahler to consult Sigmund Freud.

During his time in Vienna, Mahler composed five symphonies (Nos. 4—8) and a song cycle, Kindertotenlieder (Children's Death Songs). The Sixth symphony in particular is enormously powerful and includes three massive chords which represent three hammerblows of fate, the last being fatal. The music affected Mahler so profoundly at the first performance that he was incapable of conducting properly and deleted the third blow, fearful of its prophecy of death. The Eighth symphony surpasses anything written before it in terms of the forces required, using such a massive orchestra, choir, and cast of soloists that it acquired the nickname "Symphony of a Thousand."

Despite these successes Mahler had to leave Vienna in the face of an increasingly virulent anti-Semitic smear campaign initiated by the press. He accepted an offer by the New York Metropolitan Opera and left for the United States at the end of 1907. One of his daughters died that year; and it was around this time that his health began to suffer seriously, a result of the constant strain he had imposed upon himself all his life. He returned to Europe and died in 1911, leaving three unperformed masterpieces — the Ninth symphony, a work clearly preoccupied with the shadow of death; the beautiful symphonic song cycle Das Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth); and an unfinished Tenth symphony.

Mahler's works fell from favour after his death, but his symphonies, longer and more complex than anyone had dared to write before, are now recognized as works of genius.


Gustav Mahler



Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)



Symphony No.1 "Der Titan"
Sturmisch Bewegt
Symphony No.6 in A minor "Tragic"
Andante moderato
Christian Elsner
Lied von der Erde Nr.5
Randall Scarlata
Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht from Leider eines fahrenden Gesellen





















Strauss Richard



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