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by Stuart Feder

  • ISBN: 0300103409
  • Category: Photo and Art
  • Author: Stuart Feder
  • Subcategory: Music
  • Other formats: doc lrf lit rtf
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition edition (July 11, 2004)
  • Pages: 368 pages
  • FB2 size: 1938 kb
  • EPUB size: 1423 kb
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Votes: 102
Download Gustav Mahler: A Life in Crisis fb2

The crises in Mahler's life concerned death and relationships. Several siblings died very young. At 19, Mahler (1860-1911) lost his parents and thereafter cared for two brothers (one of whom later committed suicide) and a sister. His oldest daughter died early as well.

The crises in Mahler's life concerned death and relationships. No wonder death and fate figure in his compositions, including Kindertotenlieder and movements of his symphonies (hope and redemption are also in them).

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I cannot but wholeheartedly welcome Stuart Feder's book on Gustav Mahler (1860–1911). The book gives an unsurpassed portrait of Mahler and the influence of three deep emotional crises on his music. The last of these led Mahler to consult with Freud. For a lay audience, this book should provoke wide interest because it deals with the meeting of two creative giants.

Fox, Gerald S. (2005) Books: "Gustav Mahler: A Life in Crisis," by Stuart Feder. In: American Record Guide, Vol. 68, No. 4, pp. 297-298. View it in the Music Periodicals Database.

Now psychiatrist Stuart Feder has written a biography of Gustav Mahler. Feder's book is built around a structure of Freudian analysis. Mahler and his music have long challenged and puzzled listeners. Its chronological framework is anchored in three crises Feder proposes are central to understanding Mahler's compositions. When Mahler believed himself to be dying in 1903-4, the resolution of the crisis was the Fifth Symphony.

The life of the brilliant composer and conductor Gustav Mahler was punctuated by crisis. The cumulative stresses of the crises in Mahler’s life, in particular Alma’s betrayal, left him physically and emotionally vulnerable. He became ill and died soon after in 1911. His parents both died in 1889, leaving him the reluctant head of a household of siblings. He himself endured a nearly fatal medical ordeal in 1901. At once a sophisticated consideration of Mahler’s work and a psychologically acute portrait of the life events that shaped it, this book extends our thinking about one of the great masters of modern music.

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I cannot but wholeheartedly welcome Stuart Feder's book on Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). A beloved daughter died in 1907 and that same year, under pressure, Mahler resigned from the directorship of the Vienna Opera. In each case Mahler more than mastered the trauma; he triumphed in the creation of new major musical works.

The life of the brilliant composer and conductor Gustav Mahler was punctuated by crisis. His parents both died in 1889, leaving him the reluctant head of a household of siblings. He himself endured a nearly fatal medical ordeal in 1901. A beloved daughter died in 1907 and that same year, under pressure, Mahler resigned from the directorship of the Vienna Opera. In each case Mahler more than mastered the trauma; he triumphed in the creation of new major musical works.The final crisis of Mahler’s career occurred in 1910, when he learned that his wife, Alma, was having an affair with the architect Walter Gropius. The revelation precipitated a breakdown while Mahler was working on his Tenth Symphony. The anguished, suicidal notes Mahler scrawled across the manuscript of the unfinished symphony revealed his troubled state. A four-hour consultation with Sigmund Freud in Leiden, Holland, restored the composer’s equilibrium. Although Mahler left little record of what transpired in Leiden, Stuart Feder has reconstructed the encounter on the basis of surviving evidence. The cumulative stresses of the crises in Mahler’s life, in particular Alma’s betrayal, left him physically and emotionally vulnerable. He became ill and died soon after in 1911.At once a sophisticated consideration of Mahler’s work and a psychologically acute portrait of the life events that shaped it, this book extends our thinking about one of the great masters of modern music.


Reviews about Gustav Mahler: A Life in Crisis (2):
Umsida
This was a fascinating read from start to finish. Feder's psychoanalsis and assumptions aside, Mahler's life was already interesting and filled with excess drama. His relationship with his wife (another fascinating character) and all the name droppings around their small circle of friends/lovers/associates, etc., made this account one any Mahler fan will read cover to cover in a day or two. Just great stuff.
Naril
For those interested in examining the person (Gustav Mahler) behind the music, this book can be fascinating. Mahler's Viennese period, and some aspects of the Fin de Siecle, are interwoven seamlessly by the author.

The fact that Sigmund Freud and Gustav Mahler met and talked intimately,(although not in Vienna), is enough of an irresistable, magnetic draw to this well written book. That meeting between the two geniuses was incredibly brief; but the author dissects Mahler's tempests that were the catalyst for it. It was a psychiatric consultation of historic significance for those interested in human vulnerability, medicine, musical genius, or simply the dynamic Viennese period these two extraordinary men represented. For the reader, there is a degree of frustration that Feder can only surmise the actual content of that meeting; though his is an educated guessing game. The irony is that the meeting of the two famous men is the implied focus of the book. Feder succeeds, however, by examining and providing much of the surrounding evidence.

This is a lean biography that focuses on and illuminates shattering events in Mahler's adult life, that contributed to his "life in crisis". It can be read on its own, or in addition to his other biographies. His relationship with his wife, Alma, as well as her infidelity, are central to the book. The author brings Mahler's withdrawals, which were both personal and creative, into focus. Mahler's music and his philosophical view of life were inseparable. He was a self absorbed genius whose compositions are universal in a deeply human message. The author brings the personal dimension forward in a compassionate, yet realistic view of Mahler.
Stuart Feder, the author, was a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and musicologist. He also wrote quite well. His unique set of qualifications gave much credibilty to this effort.

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