The Eighth: Mahler and the World in 1910

Stephen Johnson, Faber & Faber, RRP£18.99

Mahler’s giant Symphony No. 8 holds a fascination in proportion to its size. Stephen Johnson looks at the symphony through a wide lens, taking in Mahler’s health and the state of his marriage, his musical development, and the social and religious background of his time.

Wagner’s Parsifal: The Music of Redemption

Roger Scruton, Allen Lane, RRP£20

Opera, and Wagner in particular, occupied a life-long place in Roger Scruton’s work. This concise book, published shortly after his death in January, airbrushes Parsifal’s anti-Semitism and misogyny, but delves deeply into its philosophy of purity, suffering and redemption.

The Lady from Arezzo: My Musical Life and Other Matters

Alfred Brendel, Faber, RRP£14.99

Since his retirement from life as a concert pianist Alfred Brendel has had time for the other sides of his personality to blossom. The rational theorist here rubs shoulders with the playful aesthete in a collection of essays, reminiscences and nonsense poetry.

All this week, FT writers and critics choose their favourites — from politics, economics, science and history to art, tech, food and wellness. Novels, poetry and audiobooks feature too. Explore the series here

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