“Mahler is my point of reference”
Do you remember the first time you heard Mahler’s music?
Metzmacher: I think I heard Mahler for the first time in the context of Ives, who always interested me; there’s the story that when Mahler came back from New York he had an Ives score in his suitcase and wanted to bring him to Europe, and then unfortunately he died – there are connections between Ives and Mahler.
I had a book by Kurt Blaukopf, his famous book about Mahler, and what interested me most at the time was the description of when he went to the Jahrmarkt [country fair]. He describes at length how it felt for him to hear the different types of music around him as he went through the fairground. He could hear a waltz here, a polka there, a brass band there. He could hear it all at the same time, but the perspective changed as he walked, of course, because he was nearer to one source of music than another.