Having lived a divided life of triumph and heartbreak, of optimism and hopelessness, it is only fitting that the music of Gustav Mahler portrays such conflict and arouses varying reactions in listeners, from fierce adoration to outright dislike. Mahler was best known during his own lifetime as one of the leading orchestral and operatic conductors of the day, but he has since come to be acknowledged as among the most important post-romantic composers -- a remarkable feat for a figure whose mature creativity was concentrated in just two genres: song and symphony. Besides the nine completed symphonies, his principal works are the song cycles Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (usually rendered as `Songs of a Wayfarer', but literally `Songs of a Travelling Journeyman') and Kindertotenlieder (`Songs on the Death of Children'), and the synthesis of symphony and song cycle that is Das Lied von der Erde (`The Song of the Earth'). Mahler told fellow composer in 1907 that "a symphony should be like the world: it must embrace everything"; putting this philosophy into practice, he brought the genre to a new level of artistic development. Increasing the range of contrasts within and between movements necessitated an expansion of scale and scope (at around 95 minutes, his sixmovement Symphony No.3 is the longest in the general symphonic repertoire) -- while the admission of vocal and choral elements (with texts drawn from folk-poetry, Nietzsche, Goethe, Chinese literature, and Medieval Roman Catholic mysticism) made manifest a philosophical as well as autobiographical content. Expressing the hopes and fears of our age, the music of Gustav Mahler has gained a powerful hold over music-lovers everywhere. His genius achieved a new level of appreciation Mahler's with Luchino Visconti's 1971 film, Death in Venice and its soundtrack of the sublime Adagietto from the Symphony No.5. This collection brings together the contemplative slow movements of all ten of Mahler's symphonies, interpreted by legendary orchestras and master conductors.