This television essay from 1985 was written by Leonard Bernstein to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Gustav Mahler's birth. Recorded in Israel, Vienna and later in London, it is punctuated by biographical interludes and illustrated by musical examples drawn from the cycle of Mahler's works recorded by Bernstein. Bernstein talks, plays and conducts various orchestras (Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Wiener Philharmoniker) and soloists (Janet Baker, Christa Ludwig, Edith Mathis, Lucia Popp, Walton Groenroos) in performances spanning 17 years. Leonard Bernstein also examines the roots of Gustav Mahler's inspiration. The programme also features music from the nine symphonies, 'The Song of the Earth' and the 'Wunderhorn Cycle'.