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Great Composers - Mahler
Great Composers - Mahler
Director: Kriss Rusmanis
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
NR     2006     0hr 59min

Mahler was scarcely recognised 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...  more »


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Movie Details

Director: Kriss Rusmanis
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Classical, Documentary
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/26/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 0hr 59min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Mahler--in about an hour!
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 11/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's not easy to sum up the life of a great artist in about an hour. Yet this Kultur BBC production does justice to Mahler, by turning to people who know Mahler's music intimately. Mahler biographers Henry-Louis de la Grange, and Herta Blaukopf, both comment on Mahler's life and music. Film-maker Ken Russell adds insightful comments, along with conductors Georg Solti, Ricardo Chailley, Michael Tilson-Thomas, and Mahler solotist, baritone Thomas Hampson. Brief musical passages from Mahler's works reinforce the points made by each Mahler expert. Mahler's own granddaughter, Marina Mahler, even adds some helpful remarks.

You come to better understand Mahler's ubiquitous obsession with death, when you hear that 9 of his brothers and sisters died very young. He grew up somewhere between the seriousness of his siblings' deaths and the frivolity of life and merriment in his father's tavern.

This program will also offer a good perception of why Gustav and his wife Alma experienced such tensions, and yet how, despite their many differences, they were right for each other. Each obtained something important from their relationship, and Gustav Mahler loved his Almchi to the last notes he wrote.

This will probably never become a best-seller, but it is excellent for what it sets out to do: to give you, in about an hour, a good view of the life and music of Gustav Mahler."
"To write a symphony means, to me, to construct a world"
Stephen Pletko | London, Ontario, Canada | 04/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)


"You can't listen to [his] music and not confront the question of music as an expression of life."

The above quotation comes from the beginning of this documentary that presents the life and works of whom many consider the main musical link between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Gustav Mahler (1860 to 1911). Besides learning about the man behind the music, we also get to hear, through actual performances, beautiful extracts of his music.

Throughout this documentary, are brief comments made by respected others such as conductors, biographers, musicologists, pianists, and singers. Even Mahler's granddaughter makes some comments.

This film is narrated by actor (especially known for his Shakespearean talents) Kenneth Branagh.

What amazed me about this film is that, despite being only an hour long, it covers an incredible amount regarding Mahler's life. With the addition of actual performances of Mahler's works, this documentary is also incredibly enjoyable and not ever boring.

I will give Mahler's principal works below and include a specific extract example(s) of such a work from this film in parenthesis:

(1) Symphonic universes or symphonies (#1 to #9, #10 unfinished)
(2) Songs for voice and orchestra (Songs of the Wayfarer, The Song of the Earth, Kindertotenlied)
(3) Other works (cantata Das Klagende Lied, Piano Quartet)

In conclusion, for those looking to find a quick way to learn everything about G. Mahler and to become acquainted with his magnificent music, this is the film to see!!

(1997; 1 hr; full screen; 7 scenes; made for TV)