Unearthing Music Inspired by the U.S. National Parks

When Gustav Mahler was composing his Symphony No. 3 in Steinbach am Attersee – part of Austria’s spectacular Salzkammergut lake district – the young conductor Bruno Walter paid him a visit. As Walter stepped off the ferry boat, Mahler saw that his guest was gazing up at the cragged, limestone mountains which provided a dramatic backdrop to the lakefront. Continue reading “Unearthing Music Inspired by the U.S. National Parks”

Mahler’s Eighth Symphony: Unjustly Neglected?

There’s no other symphony like Gustav Mahler’s Eighth. The piece got its nickname, the “Symphony of a Thousand,” at its 1910 premiere in Munich, which featured 1,030 performers, including 858 singers, 171 instrumentalists and the composer himself on the podium. Although a thousand musicians aren’t normally used these days (300 to 500 is more typical), it’s still a demanding and expensive undertaking, and thus we don’t hear it as often as Mahler’s other nine symphonies. Continue reading “Mahler’s Eighth Symphony: Unjustly Neglected?”