Books: Gustav Mahler, Vol. 3, Vienna: Triumph And Disillusion (1904-1907)

By Henry-Louis de La Grange

A contemporary of Mahler's saw him as "a great terrorist genius who, striving for unattainable goals, meets the fate of Icarus." That's a shrewd appraisal of the passionate composer and conductor during his embattled last years as head of the Vienna Opera--when his visionary compositions and inspired performances were commonly met by savage criticism, often fueled by anti-Semitism. In this penultimate volume of his monumental biography, La Grange locates Mahler at the heart of turn-of-the-century Vienna's flourishing cultural milieu, which, together with Mahler's relationships with many of its major figures, he vividly evokes.

--By Elliot Ravetz

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