Commentary Magazine

The Mahler Everyone Loves

Gustav Mahler, it would seem, is our most successful 20th-century composer. Despite the fact that the century is now almost eighty years old—and that Mahler died more than sixty-six years ago—his is still the newest name to penetrate the consciousness of both musicians and non-musicians, of committed fans and casual concert-goers alike.

The frequency of concert performance of his music is itself impressive. In the number of times his works have been played by the New York Philharmonic, we are told, he shares third place with Tchaikowsky, behind only Beethoven and Brahms. Just one year ago, the New York Philharmonic spent the month of September at Carnegie Hall doing a Mahler Festival which included most of his compositions; and this itself was only a replay of the Bernstein-Mitropoulos Mahler celebration of 1960, which may be said to have made Mahler big time in the American musical world. And even in the Soviet Union, where Mahler’s music had fallen under the Stalinist ban, by the I960′s no secret was being made of Dmitri Shostakovich’s high regard for Mahler, and Yevgeny Svetlanov, the conductor of the State Symphony Orchestra of the USSR, could say: “I personally consider Mahler the greatest genius of all peoples and all times.”

On records, the story is the same. Important conductors—among them Bernstein (Columbia), Bernard Haitink (Philips), Rafael Kubelik (Deutsche Grammophon), and Georg Sold (London)—have, by their complete sets of the Mahler symphonies, furthered their careers as such careers have always been furthered: by convincing audiences that they are hearing personal interpretations of vital and relevant music only recently come to public attention and recognition. As for recordings of the individual symphonies, one of the least popular—the Seventh—is currently available in no fewer than five separate stereo versions. Of the more popular works, the First and Fourth Symphonies are available in thirteen performances each, and the Second in twelve. And in an attempt by a record manufacturer to serve an even larger market than is made up by the lovers of serious music, works of Mahler have been packaged on one of the releases in London’s “Orphic Egg” series under the title “Mahler’s Head,” with liner notes by Dave Marsh, the editor of Creem magazine.

Not only is there a rush to perform those pieces of Mahler which are by now familiar, but his forgotten early works are exhumed, and one of them—his ballad Das klagende Lied (“The Wailing Song”)—has been recorded for Columbia by no less a musical figure than Pierre Boulez. At the other end of Mahler’s life, there have been the variously successful attempts to complete and render performable the entire corpus of his Tenth Symphony, left unfinished at his death.

In addition to recordings and concerts, Mahler has captured the imagination of moviemakers. Ken Russell has included Mahler in his collection of artistic subjects, and Luchino Visconti, having discovered that Thomas Mann was thinking of Mahler while working on Death in Venice in 1911, turned Mann’s hero, the author Aschenbach, into a composer and used Mahler’s music for the film score. The liner notes for the Deutsche Grammophon recording of this score call it “the most beautiful film music ever written.”

The fourth and final underpinning of Mahler’s present popularity is the emergence of a Mahler literary industry, ranging from musicological studies through biography to large new gift books splendidly illustrated and printed on expensive paper. The musicological works subject Mahler to the kind of exegetical analysis heretofore reserved for the music of Bach and Beethoven, and among the increasing number of treatments of Mahler’s life are two volumes (so far) by Donald Mitchell and the excellent short biography by Kurt Blaukopf, which appeared in Germany in 1969 and in English translation in 1973. In that same year, the numerous previous biographies were crowned by the publication of Henry-Louis de La Grange’s ineffably detailed Mahler; this work, whose second and possibly concluding volume seems eagerly awaited, constitutes the most ambitious and exhaustive book written about the life of a musical figure since Ernest Newman’s four-volume study of Richard Wagner was issued over a thirteen-year period from 1933 to 1946. And not even Newman, no slouch when it came to searching out and recounting minutiae, displayed the consuming passion for intimate facts and buried references which characterizes the work of the indefatigable de La Grange.

For display on the proverbial coffee table, the new presentation books on Mahler1 demonstrate, in their similarity to two recent works celebrating Wagner and the centenary of Bayreuth (and even brought out by the same publishers, Oxford and Rizzoli), just how great a composer Mahler is pressently seen to be. The Oxford volume concentrates on documents, often reproduced in facsimile, and illustrations of Mahler and his friends in their musical and geographical habitats; the Rizzoli volume confines itself to fairly long articles—among them an introductory essay by Boulez—as well as illustrations covering Mahler’s career in Vienna before, during, and after his engagement as Director of the Vienna Opera.



All this present activity and reclame surrounding Mahler and his music contrast oddly with the bleak, depressing picture of pain and failure one carries away from most of the literature about him. For it is a literature that represents him as obsessed, oversensitive, born to suffer, and above all doomed by a cruel fate which begrudged him the happiness and success properly owing to a supremely great artist.

Mahler was born in 1860, in his own expression a Bohemian among Austrians, an Austrian among Germans, and a Jew among the nations. His parents were ill-matched and poor. Of his eleven siblings, five died in infancy, one died at the age of thirteen, and one committed suicide at twenty-five. Gustav, the eldest survivor, did poorly in school but seemed greatly talented in music. At fifteen, he entered the Vienna Conservatory where he had a checkered career. Upon graduation in 1878, however, he won a prize for composition and formed a sympathetic relationship with the outcast Anton Bruckner (of whose Third Symphony he had helped make a piano transcription).

His professional career began in 1880 with a position as conductor in a tiny summer theater where the standards were mean and the duties unsatisfying. But from there he went on to a series of other conducting jobs, each one more important than the last. As he gained in experience and authority, his reputation also grew, so that within fifteen years he had become a serious contender for the most important post of all and the one of which he had always dreamed—Director of the Vienna Opera.

This dream of a triumphal return to Vienna was aided by the support of such figures as the already mythic Brahms, Eduard Hanslick, the greatly powerful critic of the Neue Freie Presse, and Rosa Papier, an influential singing teacher and mistress of both political intrigue and a high official in the Imperial and Royal Court. As against all this, Mahler had an almost crippling disadvantage—his having been born a Jew. But he let it be known that he had been (rather freshly) converted to Roman Catholicism; with the obstacle of Jewishness out of the way, he was named a conductor at the Vienna Opera in 1897 and shortly thereafter its Director.

The decade he spent in Vienna was considered a golden age by his admirers, but as the years passed, the Viennese opposition to him (which contained a strong anti-Semitic component) quickened. Thus he welcomed the offer made him in 1907 to become principal conductor at the Metropolitan Opera House. He opened in New York with Tristan und Isolde and scored heavily. Soon, just as the possibility arose at the Met of conflict with the newly arrived Arturo Toscanini, the constitution of the New York Philharmonic was altered to permit him to become its director with absolute control. This was the last post he was ever to occupy.

All this time, of course, Mahler had also been composing. Unlike Richard Strauss, he found it impossible to write music during the winter when he was busy as a conductor, but he did manage to set aside the summers for composing. Moving on from the grandiose dimensions of Das klagende Lied, he converted the experience of an unhappy love affair into the Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen (“Songs of a Wayfarer”), based on his own adaptation of texts drawn from the early 19th-century collection of German folksongs, Des Knabens Wunderhorn (“The Youth’s Magic Horn”). These poems of doomed love provided Mahler with the literary framework for the musical mood he was to cultivate all his life—a melancholia simultaneously abject and lofty, disturbed by frequent interjections of coarse peasant humor, and saved by the prospect of redemption both sublime and certain.

Although more and more celebrated as a conductor, Mahler the composer was forced to suffer rebuffs both from critics who disliked the few public performances he was able to arrange (sometimes with his own funds) and—much worse, of course—from those great men whom he most admired and who were his greatest supporters as a conductor—Brahms and the famous pianist and conductor Hans von Bülow. He felt Brahms had, when serving as a juror for the Beethoven Prize in 1881, blocked him from winning with Das klagende Lied; and Bülow had exclaimed after Mahler played for him part of what was to become his Second Symphony: “If what I have just heard is music, then I no longer understand anything about music!” When Bülow died in 1894, Mahler was finally able to complete that symphony, and in 1895 he began a third.

By the time of his death in 1911 he had composed nine symphonies, with the Tenth existing in a far-advanced sketch. He had also added to his works for voice and orchestra Das Lied von der Erde (“The Song of the Earth”), a cycle written to poems from the Chinese, and the Kindertotenlieder (“Songs for Dead Children”). These last, settings of Rückert poems, though begun before the arrival of his first child in 1902, and completed two years later, eventually became his memorial to the death of that child from scarlet fever and diphtheria in 1907.

His own death four years later seemed to put paid to his career both as conductor and composer. In an era before recordings, his conducting would only be quickly forgotten, and his music could no longer profit from the performances his power as a conductor was able to garner. Not only did the predominantly conservative audience of the day find his music too modern for its taste as compared to the great Viennese masters, but music itself was changing; the decadent and overblown romanticism which Mahler seemed to typify was being replaced- by the new aesthetics of expressionism, primitivism, and neoclassicism. In 1908, Schoenberg had, in his Second String Quartet, followed a quasi-atonal passage with a setting of the famous words of Stefan George, “I feel an air from other planets blowing”; in 1911, the year of Mahler’s death, Stravinsky began work on Le Sacre du Printemps and Strauss started Ariadne auf Naxos. Then came World War I which, with its four years of unprecedented slaughter and destruction, was everywhere felt to mark the burial of the world of 19th-century sentimentality and self-indulgence.

So the brief spurt in Mahler performances in Vienna immediately after the war, no less than the Amsterdam Mahler Festival in 1920, seemed no more than a limited nostalgic survival. His music remained fitfully popular in German-speaking countries, and even that limited fame vanished in the avalanche of Nazi anti-Semitism. As far as Anglo-Saxon countries were concerned, it was only the influx of refugee conductors—and, one suspects, refugee audiences—in the 1930′s that led to any widespread programming of Mahler’s music.

After World War II the phenomenal development of recording based on magnetic tape and the long-playing disc made possible—at first monaurally and after 1958 still more effectively in stereo—the presentation of Mahler’s music as he had conceived it, full of clearly heard polyphony distributed among the instruments of the orchestra by novel scoring and the separation of textures through actual physical spacing. From this point, it was only to be expected that he would quickly reach his present eminence; had not Mahler been told by an irate listener whom he was admonishing for booing a work of Schoenberg, “I hiss your symphonies too” ? Thus, at long last, justice was done, and Mahler’s prophecy about himself—“My time will come!”—was fulfilled.



This impression of martyrdom and resurrection, of personal tragedy and artistic survival, of public error redressed by public adulation, is the idea of Mahler we get not only from his biographies, or even from such a painstaking effort as that of de La Grange. On an artistic and philosophical level far surpassing a mere recounting of the facts of the composer’s life, we find Pierre Boulez beginning his piece on Mahler—the introductory article to Gustav Mahler in Vienna—with the words: “How long it took until he stepped forth, not from the shadows but from purgatory! A long lasting purgatory that held him prisoner for a thousand reasons. . . .” And more than sixty years earlier, just after Mahler’s death, the same note was sounded by perhaps the seminal figure of 20th-century musical thought. For Arnold Schoenberg

Gustav Mahler was a saint.

Anyone who knew him even slightly must have had that feeling. Perhaps only a few understood it. And among even those few the only ones who honored him were the men of good will. The others reacted to the saint as the wholly evil have always reacted to complete goodness and greatness: they martyred him.

They carried things so far that this great man doubted his own work. Not once was the cup allowed to pass away from him. . . .

Rarely has anyone been treated so badly by the world; nobody, perhaps, worse.

It is clear that what Schoenberg is propounding here is a myth of Mahler as Christ. But the problem with this myth, as perhaps with all religious stories, is that its emotive force does not guarantee historical exactitude. At the least, as we learn from the facts if not from the mood of the Mahler biographies, the history is vastly more complicated and ambiguous than the myth. Arguably, what we have in the case of Mahler is a life in many ways closer to a fabulous success story than to the martyrdom of Schoen-berg’s homily.

Consider those facts: A poor Jewish boy from a provincial Central European backwater, born to a family barely participant in even such limited emancipation as the 19th century allowed to his people, without outside material assistance, without effulgent charm, nonetheless in a short life of fifty years goes from smaller to ever larger assignments, from the shadow of his father’s near-poverty to a leading position on the world artistic stage. As Director of the Vienna Opera, the most important opera house in the world, he is able to refuse a personal request concerning the hiring of an artist from the Emperor Franz Josef himself, from whose purse the Opera subsidy is drawn. His conducting is greeted by wild enthusiasm in a most significant part of the European press and he is made a handsome offer to come to America where again he scores triumph after triumph.

As a composer his success was less flamboyant, but his works were earning enough royalties by the end of his life to support the publication of the music of Bruckner. By then, too, Mahler’s works, considering that they required such extravagant forces, were being performed reasonably close to the time they were written: his Eighth Symphony—called the “Symphony of a Thousand” because of the number of performers needed—was finished in 1907 and performed in 1910. The young Bruno Walter and the already established and famous conductor of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Willem Mengelberg, were both avid proselytizers for Mahler.2 In addition, his music received the public support and approval of Richard Strauss, the most successful composer and one of the most powerful conductors of the day.

Plainly, the evidence exists to support either a triumphant or a tragic interpretation of Mahler’s musical career. Why then does the tragic interpretation prevail in most of the literature about Mahler? To answer this question one must proceed to an assessment of his achievement, and use that standard to evaluate both how he fared while alive and how he has been seen in the years since his death.



Perhaps the easiest aspect of Mahler’s career to evaluate is his conducting. There can be little doubt that he was one of the greatest figures in the rather brief history of that branch of musical performance—the founder of the 20th-century tradition of the virtuoso music director as a creative musical force.

Musically, by claiming the right in the classics not only to change tempos and dynamics in ways not indicated in the score but also and more importantly to alter in ways large and small the very written notes themselves, he contradicted the sober and respectful approach of his admired predecessors and colleagues in Vienna. To this willingness to alter the written notes, he added a sense of rhythmic flow which depended upon fluctuating tempos rather than classical steadiness; in this he has been followed by such conductors as Wilhelm Furtwängler, and in our time Leonard Bernstein, rather than the literalist school popularly exemplified by Toscanini and Pierre Monteux. His choice of repertory, in its alertness to new music (even to music which he disliked) and its revivification of acknowledged masterpieces, provides a model worthy of study, particularly today. Regrettably, however, it is his personal behavior, so demanding as to verge on cruelty, that has been taken up as a model by too many of his successors. Perhaps as a result of that behavior, he was able to extend into the area of orchestral music that ascendancy of the performer over the music which had been earlier accomplished for the piano and the violin (and of course the voice) in the 19th century.

Much the same verdict can be passed on his work both as a musical administrator and opera producer. Throughout his career, wherever he had the chance, he enforced the idea that the director of a musical institution ought to combine managerial and artistic control, and that such control rightly belonged to the institution’s chief performing artist, the conductor. He also reformed contemporary notions of opera production by diminishing the role of star singers in favor of the ensemble as a whole, and by allowing new ideas of staging and design to begin the process of destroying 19th-century operatic naturalism. He was thus the spiritual forebear of the revolution in operatic staging associated with Wieland Wagner and post-World War II Bayreuth.



But it is of course as a composer that Mahler’s achievement must finally be judged. And here it must be said that an assessment of Mahler written from this time and place cannot substantiate a ranking of him on the level of the very few immortals of classical music. His output is much smaller than theirs, it is restricted almost solely to orchestral music instead of the enormous variety of musical media characteristically used by the immortals, and its narrow concentration on disappointment, depression, and despair contrasts sharply and unfavorably with the vast emotional range of a Bach, a Mozart, a Beethoven.

Viewed strictly in formal terms, Mahler’s pieces fail to achieve the perfection one associates with the work of the highest masters, the perfect relationship between means and ends. Each piece—the slow movements excepted—is full of starts and stops, of strains and anticlimaxes. And most important, his music often lacks stylistic assurance and integrity—the ability to convince the listener that the composer is speaking with his own voice, and that of no one else.

For Mahler’s compositions are those of a late 19th-century romantic, a continuer and developer of the tradition of Austro-German music. This tradition contains, in the music running from Bach to Brahms and Wagner, the most widely and strongly appealing serious music ever written. In the operatic world it is challenged only by the Italianate works of Verdi and Puccini which, however, it deeply influenced. In the world of orchestral and instrumental music it is unchallenged and is today the backbone and by far the largest part of the repertory. What a general audience hears and loves in Mahler is precisely his membership in that tradition, and his ability to draw, most especially in his beautiful slow movements, on the legacy of Beethoven, Wagner, Liszt, Brahms, and Bruckner. If Mahler cannot be considered a great melodist—notwithstanding the affective power of his melodic writing—it is because his tunes are evocative of the old rather than newly creative in their own right.

Nor is this reliance on the past limited to his slow music or to his relation to his great predecessors. It is implicit in all his material, so much of which is drawn from trumpet and horn calls, and from folk music. A particularly interesting example of this process, because it is at the same time so obvious and so little remarked, is the extraordinarily close resemblance between much of the posthorn solo in Mahler’s Third Symphony and one of the themes of Liszt’s Spanish Rhapsody, written in 1863; significantly, Mahler’s work was written in June and July of 1895, and we learn from de La Grange—though he does not mention the connection—that the great Italian pianist and composer Ferruccio Busoni was soloist in his own arrangement of the Spanish Rhapsody with Mahler as conductor in Hamburg in October 1894. And even Liszt’s usage of the theme is second-hand, for it is in origin part of a well-known jota from Spanish Aragon.

Another and very significant characteristic of Mahler’s melodic writing is the instrumental function these melodies serve even when they are scored, as so often happens in his work, for voice and accompany a text. Beethoven made a revolutionary alteration in the conception of symphonic music when he ended the Ninth Symphony with a solo vocal and choral setting of Schiller’s “Ode to Joy.” But two widely divergent paths were taken as a result of this revolution. One was to use the orchestra as a means of extending and completing the work of the voice, as in the music-dramas of Wagner. The other road—chosen by Mahler and his successors—was to use the voice and even the sound of the text itself as an acoustical and thus instrumental component of the orchestra.

It is here that one may find the most satisfactory answer to the persistently asked question of why Mahler, the greatest of opera conductors, never composed an opera. The answer is implicit in his vocal writing; no matter how much he needed the stimulus of a verbal text to fire his musical imagination, he did not view the voice as the embodiment of a character. For Mahler the voice was a sound of great beauty to be orchestrated, not the expression of a human being with an independent existence. The practical consequence of Mahler’s treatment of the voice is that singers are chosen for Mahler performances today not for their ability to project the text but rather for their beautiful creamy sound and its capacity to blend with rather than stand out against the orchestra.



Yet to judge Mahler so harshly is to say no more than that he falls short of six or so individuals out of the tens of thousands who have composed in the past three centuries of the flowering of Western music. Below that level of exalted, quasi-divine genius there are many composers who wrote music of beauty and force. In the symphonic tradition in which Mahler worked there were several such composers writing at roughly the same time. Coming slightly before him were Dvorak and Tchaikowsky—whose Symphonie pathétique resembles in its fundamental pessimism much of the mature work of Mahler. And coming slightly later were Rachmaninoff and the composer Mahler replaced in the affection of English and American audiences, Sibelius. Though there are of course significant differences in the nature and quality of these men’s music, they remain linked as epigones of the 19th-century greats. Mahler’s relation to Strauss is a more difficult matter; certainly one cannot know whether Mahler would have followed Strauss in his retreat after the dissonant modernism of Elektra into the enclosed garden of classicism, or instead have gone along with Schoenberg into the rejection of an easily comprehensible music.



If this assessment of Mahler as a composer is correct, it follows that there was, even in his lifetime, a rough equivalence between his musical worth and his career. No one expects the path of new serious music to be easy, and naturally a famous performer is more generously remunerated than a composer. And if his reputation as a composer grew after death while the memory of him as a conductor faded, that too does not seem unnatural. Why, then, is he seen today as a specially tragic figure?

There are at least two parts to the answer. The first is perhaps less important; in any case, it is trite, cruel, and to the artist deeply offensive. It is the idea that an artist must pay for his creative powers with his life. One sees this delusion in the 19th-century view of the artist as either tubercular or syphilitic; Thomas Mann played on both these ideas, most directly in The Magic Mountain and in Doctor Faustus. In our time this idea satisfies, by its crude retributive justice, the fans of great movie and rock stars like James Dean, Janis Joplin, and Elvis Presley—and it may well have been the prospect of just such a denouement which inspired the camp followers of Maria Callas. Not only does this view of the artist’s suffering and death enable the audience to master its otherwise overwhelming envy; it contributes to the comforting feeling that the artist by dying has more fully lived for others. It is thus the tragedy of Mahler’s life, including his career failures and personal miseries, which “proves” the authenticity of his art, whereas it is the success of Richard Strauss’s life—his longevity, acclaim, and contentment—which “confirms” the basic falseness of which his music is often accused.

More interesting, however, is the way Mahler’s life is conceived by musical intellectuals like Schoenberg and Boulez who see their own role as creators of the new in opposition to a superseded tradition. Though to a wide audience and to those musicians who primarily serve that audience, Mahler’s general popularity rests on the appeal of his melodic writing, for the intellectuals his melodies and their rhetorical setting are initially embarrassing in their old-fashioned and vulgar sentimentality, their naked evocation of the passions of love and death. What the intellectuals have singled out as valuable in Mahler is his “modern” side—his violation of classical and even romantic bounds of length and permissible scale, his tendency to mockery and burlesque, his rapid alternation of wildly contrasting material, and his use of orchestral instruments in unaccustomed ranges and timbres.

Yet while it is true that these “modern” features can loosely be seen as adversary in the context of Mahler’s time to a traditional conception of music—though no more so than much of the music Richard Strauss was writing during Mahler’s lifetime—and thus responsible for much of the dislike with which Mahler’s music was originally received, it is obvious that today they have lost their capacity to shock. Not only are they no longer seen as adversary, but they actually seem to the general audience to define the very nature of romantic music.

In any case, it is as a martyr to the new that musical intellectuals tend to revere Mahler—a tendency that can only be explained in the context of the predicament of new music in the past half-century. This predicament, for a long time called a crisis, can now fairly be called a collapse. Not all the government and foundation support, not all the tenured positions in colleges and universities, and not all the performances extorted in the name of the musician’s duty to one’s time can conceal the fact that there is not now, and has not been for decades, any intellectually admired new music being written which anyone outside a small educated group, highly conscious of its presumed historical role, has any desire to hear. Indeed, the major use of the word “contemporary” in music today refers to popular and “rock” music and not to classical music at all.

This verdict of failure has been passed despite an unprecedented burst of publicity from the most intellectually respected salesmen of culture to the masses—salesmen who in literature and painting have been fairly successful in communicating the gospel of the new. There is no point in denying that the sense of this failure, notwithstanding the mutual reinforcement musicians and composers have freely given each other, has bitten deep. No less than other hurts, the misery of public rejection loves company. What better company can there be than Gustav Mahler—so interested in the work of the young pariah Schoenberg, so conscious of the failure of his own music to elicit universal acclaim, and so confident of future vindication—when that same Gustav Mahler is now so plainly the darling of something approaching a mass audience?

It is this conjunction of the audience’s love for what it hears as a deeply romantic and therefore essentially conventional music with a life which it is possible to see as martyrdom in the service of the new in art that is responsible for the current unanimity of opinion about Mahler. Here may be found the explanation of the otherwise incongruous appearance of Karlheinz Stockhausen, the enfant terrible of postwar avant-garde music, as the writer of a hagiographical introduction to de La Grange’s biography of Mahler; here may also be found the meaning of Pierre Boulez’s eagerness to secure the first complete recording rights to Das klagende Lied, despite the evident distaste Boulez shows for Mahler’s grandiosity; here may also be found the reason for the use of Mahler quotations in the work of ambitious American modernist composers. It is as if they were all saying: “My time, too, like Mahler’s, will come.”

Though Mahler’s present success and his contemporary image can be described and analyzed, it is obviously impossible to forecast the future rank his music will occupy.

There is much truth in the motto which is so often quoted as describing the right of new art like Mahler’s to be accepted—“To each epoch its art, to art its freedom.” One cannot say whether the needs which his art fulfills today will be fulfilled in the same way in the future, or indeed whether these needs will even continue to exist. But one can point out the shaky nature of a reputation which depends upon a double weakness—in this case the desire of an audience for satisfactions from music which can artistically be better provided by the music of other composers, and the need of frustrated composers and musicians to reassure themselves about their own future by the arbitrary interpretation of the life of a man long dead.


1 Mahler: A Documentary Study, edited by Kurt Blaukopf, Oxford University Press, 280 pp., $3750; Gustav Mahler in Vienna, edited by Sigrid Wiesmann, Rizzoli, 160 pp., $25.00.

2 Fortunately, both these conductors recorded some of the works of Mahler: the Fourth Symphony performed by Mengelberg was available on Turnabout until recently, and the Walter recordings of five Mahler symphonies are still available on Columbia/Odyssey.

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