The Bruckner post below reminded one reader of the famous story about Mahler "composing the Alps," but she couldn't remember the details. From Bruno Walter's memoir of the composer: "I arrived by steamer on a glorious July day; Mahler was there on the jetty to meet me, and despite my protests, insisted on carrying my bag until he was relieved by a porter. As on our way to his house I looked up to the Höllengebirge, whose sheer cliffs made a grim background to the charming landscape, he said: 'You don't need to look — I have composed all this already!'" Mahler was referring to the opening of his Third Symphony, the D-minor theme for eight horns unison ff ("What the rocky mountains tell me"), and he exaggerated only slightly.
Picture courtesy of the Attersee tourist board. If you are interested in a Gustav Mahler Holiday, inquire here. Click here for pictures of Not Pierre Boulez on his own Mahler Holiday. The best recording of the Third Symphony is Jascha Horenstein's, now available only on a Brilliant Classics box set. Second best, I'd say, is Leonard Bernstein's second version, on DG. Mahler still grooves.