Tales of tyrannical conductors are legion, but the granddaddy of them all was Gustav Mahler. A small man, coming in at just five foot and four inches, there were contemporaries who put Mahler’s hyper-demonstrative style down to a sense of physical inadequacy.

Mahler Caricature of Gustav Mahler

Others sensed the fanaticism of the composer, determined to honour the music above all else. Whichever was the case, as a maestro, Mahler set the trend for many...

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