Alma's sacrifice for Mahler
Alma was called the most beautiful girl in the city of Vienna,
very famous at that time around 1900, at the age of nineteen
or twenty. When she went out, she was a star. She was coming
out of a famous family, she was always surrounded by all the
celebrities of society and the fine arts, and so on. And Mahler
was famous, too, but he was shy. And one of the few times
he left his home or the opera he went to the Zuckerkandl´s,
and there it happened.
With Mahler the most surprising is that he was athletic, he
was not a fat, ugly guy, but he was not very convenient in his
appearance. But that girl of twenty years fell in love, or decided
to fall in love ? I don´t know, if she really fell in
love - she decided to fall in love against all odds, against
every advise of her friends, and of her mother. Everybody said:"Don´t
do it!" - and she probably might have regret it later.
But she decided to go together with this lugubrious strange
man, that weird guy of forty, so the double of her life at that
time, and to give up everything, not only composing but her
social life, her ambitions, her friends, in fact everything
she appreciated, and she really had a hard time then.
She had a hard time with Mahler, that´s right. We know
that she was confined to her appartement, she had to deal with
the babies, she was not buying or getting new dresses - she
later complained about all this, while Mahler was buying for
himself new suits for the premieres of his symphonies. And when
he had to conduct in other towns, she was there, stuck at home.
She had a very, a very hard time. I think after six or seven
months after the marriage she already realized that she had
fallen into a trap. And started to develop her depressions,
which repeated themselves, bad moods, etc. But I think that
she decided to marry him. It was not a coup d´etetes,
it was a very deliberate decision. And the prove is, that when
Mahler has put to her his very strict conditions for the marriage,
and made the demand that she give up her music, she had a whole
night to consider it. We know that her mother tried to convince
her by all means to give up the idea of marrying Mahler. And
against her influential mother, and against everything that
young girl - twenty one - makes her very bold decision, saying:
"I am going to sacrifice my career, and marry this man.
This is more important. I am going to sacrifice myself for him".
I think that Alma had a very clear scale of values. And probably
greatness - human greatness, spiritual greatness - weighed more
than anything for her. It excited her. And it made her sacrifice
all other profits or all other values for the sake of spiritual