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Mahler: Autopsy of a Genius / Film by Andy Sommer [DVD]

Album Summary

>Mahler, Gustav : Work(s)

Notes & Reviews:

Documentary film directed by Andy Sommer tells Mahler's real story, going against any romanticized images we may have of the subject. The film places the spectator in Mahler's shoes. Using documented evidence (drawing on the latest research), it shows the world as he felt and experienced it. Mahler's portrait comes to life through places and objects of which he took possession: his conductor's podium, summer home, glasses, baton, musical score and manuscripts.

American Record Guide
Andy Sommer's new film, Mahler: Autopsy of a Genius, is an enlightening documentary of one of the most influential composers to have ever lived. The story of his remarkable life is narrated by the famous Mahler historian, Henry-Louis de la Grange. Any lover of Mahler will definitely want to see this wonderful testament to his life and music.

... this is a fine and fitting tribute to Mahler's life and works, and it would make a suitable addition to any Mahlerite's video collection.

El Nuevo Herald
The tone is reverential and fully justified because, thanks to the enthusiasm, unconcealed admiration and affection for the musician, respondents illuminate, teach and arouse curiosity about his work, one that forever changed the listener. For Boulez 'Mahler had two faces like Janus, a look at the past and the other to the future, without denying the past lit the fuse to blow up the tonal universe. " To Abbado, however, is as emotional as when evoking a showgirl Vienna got to listen and learn from the legendary Bruno Walter, champion and friend of the composer, who was also responsible for Lagrange's devotion to "the music that looks like all and none. "

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 88 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM Stereo,
Subtitles: English, German, French


A fascinating look at the man himself
For so many people, Gustav Mahler is a love-hate thing Ė you either are enthralled by his music, or you strongly dislike it. I fall in the former camp in that I just canít get enough of it. So for me, this documentary (being focused on bringing the truth of the man to light, rather than the idolized image) was right up my alley if it lived up to its description. And it most definitely does.

The film includes interviews with Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, Danielle Gatti, Thomas Hampson, and others, and each has something unique to add to the depiction of Mahler being presented. Fascinating are descriptions and images of areas in which he spent his childhood, as are the images of his summer home where he composed and the artifacts that remain as physical evidence of his presence Ė his glasses, baton, scores, and manuscripts. It is enlightening to hear stories of his time in Vienna as well as New York, and the film paints a picture of a man determined to express how he experienced life and music through the musicians he worked with, even though many of them disliked his methods or the way in which they felt he was treating them. By the same token, the immense regard for Mahler the conductor is strongly communicated, and one canít help but wonder how marvelous it would have been to attend one of his performances.

The documentary also touches on the love that Mahler had for his children, the heartbreak he experienced when one of his daughters died, and the pain when he discovered his wife having an affair with the architect Walter Gropius. While no film can hope to capture the essence of a life as complicated as Mahlerís, Andy Sommerís film does a remarkable job in communicating the humanity of the man, as well as the ways in which his genius set him apart from other people. It is a fascinating portrait of an incredible composer and conductor, and is worth watching for anyone interested in the man behind this incredible music.

Submitted on 10/10/11 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Mahler, Gustav : Work(s)
  • Period Time: Post Romantic