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Gustav Mahler wasn't cut out for New York...he had better things to do.
“Horowitz is a master of what I would call ‘passionate scholarship.’ He has a stake in what he writes. There is a lot of very sensitive skin in his game. As a literary writer he is at heart the free-spirited scholar he has been for decades; his prose frames in precise words the psychological ambiguities of personalities no less than the nuances of musical compositions or performances. His deep historical knowledge blends with his narrative imagination to bring to life the sounds, the smells, the physical textures, the very air his characters breathed: Gustav and Alma Mahler are, at the same time, accurate historical portraits and haunting literary presences.” —Antonio Muñoz Molina, winner of the Jerusalem Prize
“Despite his emotions having so often been on show, there has always been something enigmatic and unknowable about Gustav Mahler. But where biographers and other musicologists have struggled, Joseph Horowitz succeeds brilliantly in revealing the inner Mahler in this powerful and moving novel. It is a triumph of historical imagination.” —Richard Aldous, author of Tunes of Glory: The Life of Malcolm Sargent
“If we want to get closer to the ‘truth’ of Mahler and his music, if we hope to improve our understanding of the person and his creations, we need to acknowledge the role our imagination must play in the learning process. In the case of Mahler, the essential facts have long been known. What we need now are fresh attempts to conceive what further truths they might contain. Joseph Horowitz's brilliant novel reveals much to us about who Mahler was, what he accomplished, and how he related to his world. Readers will be as eager to study it as they would any biography, and they can expect to learn as much.” —Charles Youmans, author of Mahler and Strauss: In Dialogue
“Joe Horowitz’s The Marriage portrays Mahler with more power and poignancy than anyone else ever has. Set in a spider web of New York City wealth, power, and intrigue, the writing is so profoundly personal, so searingly intimate, that it is sometimes painful to read – to get that close to Mahler and his wife. I found myself unable to resist reading passages several times. The story of Gustav Mahler’s life — and of his spouse Alma, the ‘most beautiful woman in Vienna’ — has fascinated all who flock to hear his music. He is a cult hero, a quintessential yet unknowable artist. How can such a life be adequately captured? Only in historical fiction.
This is a book for people who love Mahler and long to know him intimately (and there are millions) — a truer, more human Mahler than we have ever before encountered. Alma is also fabulously drawn, with all her love and antipathy towards her husband. And The Marriage also opens a new and amazing window on Mahler’s music.” —JoAnn Falletta
Music Director, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
“Persuasive and fair. It is refreshing to see this chapter of Gustav Mahler’s biography from an American perspective, written by someone not automatically biased in favor of Europe.” —Karol Berger, author of Beyond Reason: Wagner contra Nietzsche
Fiction. Essays. Music. Jewish Studies.
Joseph Horowitz's eleven previous books mainly deal with the history of classical music in the United States. Understanding Toscanini: How He Became an American Culture-God and Helped Create a New Audience for Old Music (1987) was named one of the year's best books by the New York Book Critics Circle. Wagner Nights: An American History (1994) was named best-of-the-year by the Society of American Music. Both Classical Music in America: A History of Its Rise and Fall (2005) and Artists in Exile: How Refugees from Twentieth Century War and Revolution Transformed the American Performing Arts (2008) made The Economist's year's-best-books list. In tandem with his Dvořák's Prophecy and the Vexed Fate of Black Classical Music (2021), Horowitz produced six "Dvořák's Prophecy" films for Naxos. His current "More than Music" radio documentaries for National Public Radio, heard bi-montly via the daily newsmagazine "1A," are an outgrowth of this activity. His forthcoming book, The Propaganda of Freedom: JFK, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and the Cultural Cold Warrior, will deal with the cultural Cold War. The larger topic of all these activities is the role of the arts (today embattled) in American history and society.