Mahler’s Heaven and Mahler’s Earth

Gustav Mahler: the face of a man wearing glasses. The face attracts the attention of the viewer: there is something very expressive about it. It is a strong and open face, we are willing to trust it right away. Nothing theatrical about it, nothing presumptuous. This man wears no silks. He is not someone who tells us: I am a genius, be careful with me. There is something energetic, vivid, and “modern” about the man. He gives an impression of alacrity: he could enter the room any second. Many portraits from the same period display men, Germanic and not only Germanic men, politicians, professors, and writers, whose faces disappear stodgily into the thicket of a huge voluptuous beard, as if hiding in it, disallowing any close inspection. But the composer’s visage is naked, trans-parent, immediate. It is there to speak to us, to sing, to tell us something. I bought

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