Volume three of a four-volume life, this massive book is a must for all those wishing to become more aware of the life behind the music. The detail is astounding. But there are three caveats.
Firstly, the book often reads like a day-by-day diary but the chronology unfortunately is not always linear, which can lead to confusion and disappointment.
Secondly, there is a great deal given over to newspaper reviews of performances. This often burdens the text and they would far better be collected as one of the appendices.
Thirdly, Grange's dedication to Mahler often leads him to lose objectivity. One often is left with the distasteful impression that the man could do no wrong and that all his critics were simply jealous, anti-semitic, imbeciles or all three. Perhaps, sometimes, the critics were right!
Having said that, there is much to praise, and the appendices contain vital and comprehensive material concerning the composing and performance of the 6th, 7th and 8th symphonies. The book is worth its (heavy) weight purely for this.