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In every place where his ever changing life takes him, Gustav Mahler feels passionately in love with another young lady. The “Songs of a Wayfarer”, “The Youth’s Magic Horn”, his 1st Symphony – all are inspired by women. The 8th Symphony is dedicated to his wife Alma.
Alma Schindler – the “greatest femme fatale” of the 20th century – grew up in artists’ circles. She is much loved and admired for her beauty. When she meets Mahler, she becomes fascinated by his personality. Mahler marries Alma on March 9, 1902, in Vienna in St. Charles Church.
He loves her passionately and they have two children. Nevertheless, Alma has an affair with the architect Walter Gropius. Mahler takes it very badly and analyzes this crisis with Sigmund Freud.
Gustav Mahler is a much disciplined person. Even at his summer residences he has small houses for composition built – so called “Komponierhäuschen” – in order to accomplish his workload. For relaxation, he enjoys brisk and long walks in the woods and swimming in cold water.
Mahler’s vision of the world is characterized by nature religion and philosophical theories which manage to creep in his music and thus hits the nerve of the time.
The list of his admirers reads like a Who’s Who: Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Carl Moll, Gustav Klimt, Siegfried Wagner, Alfredo Casella, Stefan Zweig, Leopold Stokowski, Adolf Loos and Thomas Mann who immortalizes him as a literary monument with his novella “Death in Venice”.