Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mahler's Heavenly Retreats

In the same vein as Adam Sharr's marvellous monograph Heidegger's Hut, Mahler's Heavenly Retreats is a multimedia exploration of the composer's relationship to the Komponierhäuschen (or huts) where Mahler worked on his music during the summer. Created by architect Keith James Clarke, a specialist in buildings and the character of place, it's a book, a DVD, a web site, and a CD (so he's got pretty much all the bases covered - there's even a special study day on the subject in April next year in London). Keith says his goals are to evaluate key places in Mahler's life, describe the reasons for their importance and demonstrate their associations with his music using archive photos and surveys. Here's what he says about it:
"The production of this book lies in my 30 years working as an architect while indulging a passion for the music of Gustav Mahler. As an architect, I'm filled with unease by much modern architecture — particularly monolithic tower blocks — and drawn to buildings of a more modest scale which, with their surroundings, make more allowance for human aspiration and celebration of life, something that Mahler had in a large quantity.

"Its subtitle is Encounters with the master's composing houses, and is primarily aimed at music lovers and Mahler enthusiasts. Having said that, I think many others will find it a thought-provoking introduction to this great man of music. In particular, readers with an eye for architecture and the environment will find this book of special interest."

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