The Gustav Mahler Reading List

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Mad About Music host Gilbert Kaplan is a leading international authority on the music of Gustav Mahler. Kaplan created this annotated bibliography of works dedicated to Mahler's life and career.

The Gustav Mahler Reading List

Gustav Mahler by Deryck Cooke. Cambridge University Press, Great Britain, 1980.

The best introduction to Mahler’s symphonies and songs.


The Real Mahler by Jonathan Carr. Overlook, New York, 1997.

The finest short literary biography.


Why Mahler?: How One Man and Ten Symphonies Changed Our World by Norman Lebrecht. Random House, New York, future publication: October 2010.

A fascinating new biography.


Gustav Mahler: Memories and Letters. Alma Mahler. Sphere Books Ltd, London, 1990.

Mahler’s wife’s recollections.


Gustav Mahler: The Symphonies. Constantin Floros. Amadeus Press, Portland Oregon, 1993.

Outstanding analysis of Mahler’s music in layman’s terms.


Gustav Mahler. Henry-Louis de la Grange. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

The definitive book in four volumes. More than 4,000 pages.


Gustav Mahler. Donald Mitchell. Three volume set.

Superb musical analysis.

The Early Years. University of California Press, Berkeley/Los Angeles, 1975.

The Wunderhorn Years. University of California Press, Berkeley/Los Angeles, 1980.

Songs and Symphonies of Life and Death. Faber and Faber, London, 1985.


Mahler’s Concerts. Knud Martner. Kaplan Foundation and Overlook, New York, 2010.

A detailed history of Mahler as a conductor with information on more than 323 concerts.


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Comments [7]

Nancy Duran

Thank you for the wonderful series on Mahler.
Even though I subscribed to the Philharmonic for 38 years I received more insight, pleasure and yes, some tears from this special series than my concert going gave me.
Mr. Mitchell, bless you.

Jul. 13 2010 10:59 AM
Shirley Luban

The two hour program on Mahler was outstanding. Is it possible to purchase a copy of the broadcast?
I would love to hear it again and share it with my family.

Jul. 11 2010 11:08 PM
Gev from Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Am looking forward to reading Mahler's Concerts. Would love to read a book focused on Mahler in New York, too.

Jul. 11 2010 09:43 AM
mindypark from Gustave Mahler

It is so good to hear that my favorite composer, Gustave Mahler's music on everyday . Thanks WQXR ^^

Jul. 09 2010 02:02 PM
Fred Holtz from Manhattan NYC

I didn't see the David Hurwitz book "The Mahler Symphonies—An Owner's Manual" included in the list! It is one of the best in my un-humble opinion! Sincerely, Fred Holtz

Jul. 09 2010 09:22 AM
klingsor from Cambridge, MA

The De La Grange set is essential of course, although I don't always like his musical analysis, it's not techincal enough.

Mitchell's series is one of the greatest ever on Mahler--lucid analysis, not too technical, although it is meant for those with musical knowledge. His insights into the music are always fascinating and sometimes a revelation (read him on Kindertotenlieder, for ex)

I've been meaning to check out Floros and the others you list.


Jul. 08 2010 08:06 AM
Tom Andresen from New York, NY

Michael Steinberg's The Symphony (Oxford UP) includes all the Mahler symphonies in his very accessible and witty, but still scholarly, style.

Jul. 07 2010 01:53 PM

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