The revival of the music of Gustav Mahler begun in the 1960s and largely led by Leonard Bernstein runs counter to the historically grounded, critical modernist reception as advocated by Theodor W. Adorno. Rather than prefiguring European modernism, Mahler's music was considered that of the suffering outsider and linked to the psychologically therapeutic. Furthermore, based on an analysis of films that used Mahler's music from the 1960s on, Sacks demonstrates how the Mahler of popular imagination has often been a sound track to pathological torment and stages self-sacrificial transcendence. The second half of the article turns to several performances of the Second, or “Resurrection,” Symphony to address further contested elements in Mahler reception, namely, the role and interplay of kitsch and Jewishness. The case of Mahler's music reveals another instance not only of the problematics of post-Holocaust revival in the field of cultural history but also of a continuing disjunction between the contexts of European critical theory and history and the anomalies of its reception in American popular culture.
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Adam J. Sacks; Toward an Expansion of the Critique of the Mahler Revival. New German Critique 1 August 2013; 40 (2 (119)): 113–136. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-1812622
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