Why Mahler? How One Man and Ten Symphonies Changed the World, By Norman Lebrecht

A musical endorsement composed with panache

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There was a time when Gustav Mahler was dismissed as derivative, but his reputation has soared in recent years.

In this compelling book – part biography, part memoir, part cultural history – Norman Lebrecht relates his enthusiasm for the composer and seeks to win him a wider audience. His tone is informal (chapters include "Desperately Seeking Mahler" and "Whose Resurrection Is It Anyway?"); his style all-embracing (he compiles a list of Mahler fans that ranges from Mikhail Gorbachev to the Grateful Dead). He makes a forbidding subject seem approachable, arguing persuasively that anyone can find within the "Mahler fortress ... a private refuge".