Today marks the 100th anniversary of Mahler’s death. At the beginning of 1911 Mahler was diagnosed with bacterial endocarditis, a disease for which the survival rate was almost zero at this time. His condition rapidly deteriorated and he was forced to abandon his work as conductor of the New York Philharmonic and return to Europe, first to a clinic in Paris and finally to the Low Sanitorium in Vienna. It was here that Mahler died on 18 May 1911.
For those keen to find out more about Mahler’s final days, Gavin Plumley’s blog, Entartete Musik, provides a detailed summary. The blog celebrates the 150th anniversary of Mahler’s birth and the 100th anniversary of his death and incorporates a wide range of cultural background to Mahler’s life and times. It also includes information about contemporary performances of Mahler’s work.
As part of the Birmingham Mahler Cycle, the CBSO will be performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 tonight, previewed by Gramophone Magazine here. The Symphony, also known as Resurrection, explores Mahler’s beliefs about death and the afterlife – an appropriate theme on the anniversary of his death. Perhaps through performing and listening to his work, we are enabling Mahler’s dream of a transcendent afterlife to come true.