Documentaries

What the Universe Tells Me: Unraveling The Mystery of Mahler’s Third Symphony

Music, philosophy, and dramatic images combine to create an all-encompassing experience in this in-depth exploration of Gustav Mahler’s stirring and questioning Third Symphony: How did we get here? What is our life’s purpose? Does God exist? Why do people suffer? 

Of Love, Death and Beyond: Exploring Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony

When Gustav Mahler began his Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection” in 1888 he was a 27 year old itinerant conductor and virtually unknown as a composer. But by the time of its first complete performance in December 1895, Mahler was an increasingly celebrated maestro, having advanced his career with a combination of talent, cunning and sheer […] 

Everywhere and Forever – Mahler’s Song of the Earth

In the summer of 1907 composer Gustav Mahler experienced a crisis of such magnitude that some thought he would never recover. His five-year-old daughter died of scarlet fever after 15 days, and a doctor diagnosed him with a congenital heart defect. Mustering his courage and tapping in to his genius, Mahler transformed his despair into […] 

For the Love of Mahler: The Inspired Life of Henry-Louis de La Grange

For the Love of Mahler takes us into the passionate world of Henry-Louis de La Grange, a charismatic 91-year old music historian who since first hearing a Mahler symphony in 1945 devoted the rest of his life to researching every detail of Mahler’s biography. How Mahler’s music inspired his life, and how Henry-Louis channeled an […] 

What the Universe Tells Me

What the Universe Tells Me: Unraveling The Mystery of Mahler’s Third Symphony

Music, philosophy, and dramatic images combine to create an all-encompassing experience in this in-depth exploration of Gustav Mahler’s stirring and questioning Third Symphony:

How did we get here? What is our life’s purpose? Does God exist? Why do people suffer?


Engaging these questions, Mahler’s Third is one of the largest and most ambitious symphonies ever composed. The emotional charge of this work steadily mounts, from the chaos of creation in the first movement, to “the summit, the highest level from which the world can be surveyed” in the last. It involves the audience in the drama of emerging consciousness, as it unfolds and develops from the world of rocks, plants, and animals “through all the stages of evolution, step by step,” to its ultimate flowering in humankind’s capacity for love.


From the volcanoes of the South Pacific to the Alpine peaks and meadows where Mahler composed, dramatic images from the natural world give shape to the Third Symphony’s evolutionary saga.


Thinkers such as Howard Gardner and Catherine Keller join with Mahler experts Henry-Louis de La Grange, Donald Mitchell, Peter Franklin, and Morten Solvik to introduce this masterpiece to new audiences.


Oscar nominee and Emmy Award winner Stockard Channing narrates the documentary.

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Produced and Directed by: Jason Starr
Narrated by: Stockard Channing
Featuring: baritone Thomas Hampson and mezzo-soprano Mignon Dunn with the Manhattan School of Music Orchestra & Chorus, conducted by Glen Cortese 

Of Love, Death and Beyond

Of Love, Death and Beyond: Exploring Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony

When Gustav Mahler began his Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection” in 1888 he was a 27 year old itinerant conductor and virtually unknown as a composer. But by the time of its first complete performance in December 1895, Mahler was an increasingly celebrated maestro, having advanced his career with a combination of talent, cunning and sheer will. His own compositions however were either ignored or reviled.


Reviewing an early reading of the Second Symphony, critics had dismissed Mahler’s work as “noisy and bombastic pathos” and “atrocious, tormenting dissonance.”


But many listeners felt differently. Today the Second Symphony of Gustav Mahler has become one of the most celebrated masterpieces of its epoch. Award winning director Jason Starr has completed a 90-minute documentary film, introduced and narrated by Thomas Hampson, that explores the biographical, musical and philosophical background of this monumental work.


When composing the Second Symphony, Mahler famously posed the questions “What is this life—and this death? Is there for us, a continuation? Is all this only an empty dream, or does this life and this death have a meaning?”


Many people have interpreted the symphony as a depiction of a conventional religious account of the afterlife. But as the film shows, Mahler was developing his own rich ideas about life and death that do not correspond to established dogmas.


Shot on location in Germany, Austria, Italy and the United States, the film includes historical reenactments and interviews with many of the world’s most respected Mahler scholars and biographers including Henry-Louis de La Grange, Donald Mitchell, Morten Solvik, Renate Stark-Voit, Stephen Hefling and Peter Franklin.


Philosopher Martha Nussbaum and theologians Catherine Keller and Neil Gillman also add their insights. Weaving through the documentary is a critically acclaimed performance of the work, created especially for the film, featuring members of the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of maestro Neeme Järvi.

Watch Trailer


Shot on location in Germany, Austria, Italy and the United States, the film includes historical reenactments and interviews with many of the world’s most respected Mahler scholars and biographers including Henry-Louis de La Grange, Donald Mitchell, Morten Solvik, Renate Stark-Voit, Stephen Hefling and Peter Franklin. 

Everywhere and Forever – Mahler’s Song of the Earth

Everywhere and Forever – Mahler’s Song of the Earth

In the summer of 1907 composer Gustav Mahler experienced a crisis of such magnitude that some thought he would never recover. His five-year-old daughter died of scarlet fever after 15 days, and a doctor diagnosed him with a congenital heart defect. Mustering his courage and tapping in to his genius, Mahler transformed his despair into a great piece of music. It was something entirely new: a “song-symphony” based on ancient Chinese verses.


The film presents dramatizations of the poems, commentary by renowned experts, and excerpts from a brilliant performance featuring Metropolitan Opera stars Thomas Hampson and Paul Groves with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Neeme Järvi. The documentary explores the biographical, cultural and philosophical context of The Song of the Earth, a masterpiece often singled out as the composer’s most personal musical statement.

For the Love of Mahler

For the Love of Mahler: The Inspired Life of Henry-Louis de La Grange

For the Love of Mahler takes us into the passionate world of Henry-Louis de La Grange, a charismatic 91-year old music historian who since first hearing a Mahler symphony in 1945 devoted the rest of his life to researching every detail of Mahler’s biography. How Mahler’s music inspired his life, and how Henry-Louis channeled an obsession into a lifetime of groundbreaking discoveries, famous friendships and award winning accomplishment, demonstrates the remarkable power of music to change lives. Filmed in Marrakech, Paris and the Italian Alps. 


Commentators:


Pierre Boulez

Riccardo Chailly

Nicolas Dufetel

Christoph Eschenbach

Gaston Fournier-Facio

Thomas Hampson

Stephen Hefling

Marina Mahler

Bruno Megevand

Vincent Mouret

Blaise Orsini

Alena Parthonnaud

Claude Samuel

Morten Solvik

Francoise Xenakis