The most over rated, over hyped composer. Mahler symphony cycles in Manchester, Birmingham, London and an almost complete cycle at the Proms. I can hardly turn on Radio 3 without hearing a Mahler symphony or song cycle. How did this come about? How did this composer, hardly ever played or even heard of in my youth, become so popular? The Proms have not been slow in promoting new music and yet with the exception of the 4th no Mahler symphony had ever been played at the Proms until the 1960s when the Mahler explosion started and since then it seems almost every conductor has to have a Mahler symphony cycle under their belt. I can't think of another composer who has had such exposure. One would hardly have known it was a Schumann anniversary last year. Mahler got more exposure than Chopin, whilst Barber's centenary was virtually ignored. I doubt if even the Beethoven symphonies have had such exposure in one season.
The music is over inflated, sometimes banal and generally too long but I suppose my main problem is that it just fails to connect with me emotionally, apart from the fourth symphony which I have to admit I quite like in Reiner's and Klemperer's recordings although I don't find any connexion between the final movement and the rest of the work. No doubt the problem is with me but despite listening to Solti, Klemperer and Mehta the much lauded second symphony now recorded again by Rattle just leaves me cold and unmoved.