Hampsong Foundation Supports Translation of Biography on Gustav Mahler

Hampsong Foundation Supports Translation of Biography on Gustav Mahler

The Hampsong Foundation is excited to announce the recent publication of the English translation of Jens Malte Fischer’s landmark biography on Gustav Mahler. Originally written in German, the book was immediately praised by scholars and critics alike upon its arrival in 2003. The translation, by Stewart Spencer, was published by Yale University Press with generous support from the Hampsong Foundation.

Providing an in-depth look at Mahler’s life and work, Fischer not only explores Mahler’s songs and symphonies in detail, but also his connection to literature, society and philosophy, and how these affected his music. The book explores the relationship between Mahler and his wife Alma more deeply, with newly published correspondence between the two, as well as new entries from Alma’s diary.

In an extensive book review for The New York Times, composer John Adams writes,”[Fischer’s] affection for his subject is palpable, the descriptions of the rural setting of the composer’s Bohemian childhood are evocative, and the discussions of the symphonies and song cycles are original and refreshingly opinionated.”

Explaining that the first source of reference for anyone seriously interested in Mahler is the massive multi­volume biography by Henry-Louis de La Grange, Adams continues: “For those who desire a more manageable overview of this artist’s extraordinary life and work, Jens Malte Fischer’s ‘Gustav Mahler’ (translated from the German by Stewart Spencer) is a good place to start. At 700-plus pages, Fischer’s book is no bagatelle either, but it is the work of a sympathetic writer who takes pains to establish the historical and cultural milieu that informs Mahler’s music.”

Jens Malte Fischer is a professor of the history of theater at the University of Munich. He writes regularly for leading German newspapers and periodicals and is the author of several books, including a documentary study of Wagner’s anti-Semitism. He is also an adviser for and faculty member at the Heidelberg Lied Academy, directed by Thomas Hampson.

The release of the newly translated book, which is dedicated to Thomas Hampson, marked the 100th anniversary of Mahler’s death. It is now available in stores and online.

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Gustav Mahler