During the last four years of his tragically short life Gustav Mahler's existence was dominated by his association with two of the leading artistic organizations of the United States. Two seasons as conductor at the Metropolitan Opera were followed by two terms (the second cut short by his final illness) at the helm of the reorganized and rejuvenated New York Philharmonic. In this unique history of Mahler's American years nearly 600 documents serve to unfold and illuminate the course of a fascinating relationship between an exceptional artistic personality from the Old World and the often greatly differing traditions experiences values and expectations of a young society.
The documentary material is divided into four sections corresponding to Mahler's four seasons in New York. Each section is introduced by an essay which provides a brief narrative account of the year including essential information on Mahler's activities during the off-season. The documents fall into three major categories-clippings from the contemporary press; letters (many published here for the first time in part or in whole); and reminiscences of family friends and colleagues. Through a judicious combination of this material with a wide-ranging selection of contemporary and later socio-cultural documents and commentary and with many illustrations this book presents a fascinating portrait of a rich and significant period in American cultural history.