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January 25 , 2010

Mahler Re-Composed


In 2010, the composer Gustav Mahler celebrates his one hundred fiftieth birthday. In Mahler Re-Composed, linguist George Cummins shares a collection of six interrelated essays that provide a fresh perspective on difficult questions familiar to Mahler lovers. Cummins, a teacher of Russian and Czech at Tulane University, brings a uniquely Czech perspective to the study of Mahler’s personality and work. In his careful examination of the composer’s life and work, Cummins begins with an introduction that provides a glimpse into Mahler the Czech and continues with an account of Mahler’s conversion from Judaism to Catholicism while making his way to the Vienna Hofoper directorship.

Cummins also takes a skeptical look at the legend of Mahler as an impotent, humorless neurotic and recreates the friendship between Strauss and Mahler—two of the greatest musicians of the early twentieth century.

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