Mahler was scarcely recognized as a great composer until the middle of the 1960s, when his music started to make a massive impact. In 1991, thirty recordings of his symphonies were released in one month. This film explores Mahler’s life: his childhood, surrounded by tragedy and abuse; his driven adulthood, torn between life as a composer and conductor, and his passionate and pained love-life. This program examines his music, the supreme expression of philosophical enquiry in music, embracing religion, nihilism, humanism, the revolutionary and the mundane. Reconstructions, archive footage, radio interviews, artifacts, private scores, letters, contracts and sculptures are used, along with interviews with many prominent artists and writers. The documentary is set in Vienna, Budapest, Hamburg and the Czech Republic.
Narrated by: Kenneth Branagh
BBC Symphony OrchestraConducted by: Sir Georg Solti
Contributors include:Sir Georg Solti • Ken Russell • Thomas Hampson • Michael Tilson Thomas • Riccardo Chailly
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