Mahler celebrated by hometown that disowned him

Posted on: June 16, 2010

Monday (6/14) on Bloomberg.com, Norman Lebrecht writes, “Satellite trucks will be struggling through dense Czech forests in the first week of July, heading to cover a ceremony of extraordinary ambivalence. July 7 marks the 150th birthday of the composer Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), the most influential symphonist after Beethoven and, with Freud and Picasso, one of the makers of modern culture. Mahler, who directed the Vienna Opera and the New York Philharmonic, was born in the highland village of Kalischt and grew up in the military town of Iglau. While the Bohemia-borderland was a German-speaking region and Mahler was a Jew, relations among Czechs, Germans and different faiths were amicable, so much so that the boy sang in a church choir and picked up much folklore.” The town was renamed Jihlava in when first Czech republic was formed in 1918. “With the composer’s anniversary looming and tourism in a slump, Jihlava put in for a European Union grant to restore Mahler’s boyhood home. … North of the square, the town also got around to doing something about the synagogue desecrated 71 years ago. The rubble has gone and the site is renamed Gustav Mahler Park, to be opened on July 7 with a televised performance of his Resurrection Symphony, featuring soloists Anne Sofie von Otter and Birgitte Christensen and the augmented Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Manfred Honeck.”

Posted June 16, 2010