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Donald Mitchell's second book on the life and work of Gustav Mahler focuses principally on Mahler's first settings of Wunderhorn texts, volumes I and II of the Lieder und Gesaenge, his first song-cycle, the Lieder eines fahrendedn Gesellen, the later, orchestral settings of Wunderhorn poems. The central section of the book explores the extraordinary and often eccentric chronology of the First, Second and Third Symphonies' composition, an often minute exploration which reveals the interpenetration of song and symphony in this period of Mahler's art, emphasizes the significance for these works of imagery drawn from the Wunderhorn anthology, and calls attention to the ambiguous position ocupied by much of Mahler's music at this time, suspended as it was between the rival claims - and forms - of syphony and symphonic poem. The final section of the book not only looks at the Fourth Symphony as the final, perhaps most perfect, flowering of Mahler's Wunderhorn symphonies, but also investigates such fascinating topics as the relationship between Mahler and Berlioz, Mahler's addiction to the E flat clarinet, and the influence of Bach on Mahler's later masterpieces. [via]