THE SOCIETY

Dating from 2001, the Society brings together the ever growing number of people who share a love for Mahler’s music. On this website is an explanation of how the Society came into being. On the Membership page you will find a summary of the benefits available by joining. Throughout the year there are opportunities to hear noted scholars of Mahler’s life and work, but we also hold events such as the Annual Dinner whose focus is primarily a social one. Regular newsletters will bring you up to date about concerts in London and other parts of the country, as well as any discounts which may be available to members.

We hope you find the website of interest and would welcome any comments.

GUSTAV MAHLER

A hundred years after Gustav Mahler’s death, his music is played daily in concert halls throughout the world, while his symphonies and songs have been recorded in countless versions. Although recognised as a leading conductor during his lifetime, the frequent hostility and prejudice which he encountered contributed to his decision in 1907 to leave Vienna, where he had directed the Court Opera for ten years, to take up appointments in New York, first as Director of the Metropolitan Opera and then of the New York Philharmonic.

Born in the village of Kalischt (now Kaliste in the Czech Republic) in 1860, Mahler was appointed to conducting posts in Budapest and Hamburg, before returning to Vienna, where his music studies had taken place earlier. From his youth, composing was an important part of his life, although most of it was confined to the summer months which he spent, successively, in the three lakeside mountain resorts where he worked on his ten symphonies, his large-scale work for soloists and orchestra Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) and his song cycles.

“The symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything,” said Mahler, famously, to Sibelius when they met in 1907, and the strength and breadth of emotion revealed in these massive works demonstrates that this was no idle remark. As Norman Lebrecht has said, “the man and his music are central to our understanding of the course of civilisation and the nature of human relationships.”

When his music was little appreciated, Gustav Mahler confided to Alma Schindler, who was soon to be his wife, “My time will come...” It was to be many years before the truth of these words would become a fact, but today he vies with the greatest composers in terms of popularity, and numerous commentators endlessly discuss his meanings and intentions. Millions simply enjoy Mahler’s music for what it is.