Austrian conductor who greatly enhanced the reputation of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. As a composer his romantic style was much influenced by Brahms, Wagner and Bruckner. His nine symphonies (and an unfinished tenth) were slow to gain international recognition but are now highly regarded.
He also wrote a number of song cycles for voice and orchestra, among them Kindertotenlieder (Songs of the Death of Children). The death of his own daughter shortly after writing this work caused him feelings of guilt for having tempted fate and a subsequent cycle Das Lied von der Erde is a deeply personal exploration of the transitory nature of life. By the time he wrote this he had also been diagnosed with the heart condition that lead to his early death.
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