2a 1901 ADIEU MA VIE, ADIEU MON
Vienna, 1901. Alma and Alexander Zemlinsky, her composition
- What's the matter with you? - Did I do something wrong?
Alma, stay here! Did I say something that hurt you? ... Alma!!
Hold it! Why are you so cross with me all of a sudden?, Remember,
Alma! Remember yesterday, won't you! Please, Alma! Have you
forgotten it all? Yesterday everything was fine, so good between
us, and now, all of a sudden...? Please don't run away, Alma!
... At least say something ! What did I do to deserve this?
How could you change so brutally.? Alma, how can I understand
it if you don't speak to me? What deadly sin have I committed?
Alex!« Is that an answer? Is that supposed to console
me? ? For what? Being poor? I know I'm poor, in every sense
of the word. You've always made it a point to remind me how
unimportant I was, how little I have. I'm a needy, unsightly,
to top it all off, now I'm ridiculous . I am! You said it!
You can't take it back, , it doesn't make it any easier for
ALMA We've been such good friends... Let's
leave it at that.
friends"? Come on, are you joking, Alma? We've been lovers,
my dear. Please don't forget that! I've kept no secrets and
neither have you. ! Not a thing! I've touched you ...
passed through my life, and I've touched yours..
My »life«? You call it my »life«?
In that case you've been playing with my life. You took it
in your hand, you let it melt on your tongue...!
ALMA Don't be vulgar!
I know I'm ugly -
ALMA Stop it, Alex!
you've said it to me so many times.
ALMA I was joking.
you weren't. You weren't at all! I know how your family talks
about me, I have no illusions. I know that your friends keep
telling you how ugly and poor I am. It's true, I have no money
ALMA Money doesn't mean a thing to me.
after money, talent and fame. I have none of all these.
ALMA That isn't true. You have talent, and
you know it .
not sure of that either any more.
ALMA You have talent, Alex. i can assure
you of that.
Don't leave me! I want you. I need you. I have to have you,
do you understand?! For ever! I want you for ever. Do you
understand?! I have nothing. I'm a lost child. Please, love
me a little. - Don't let me beg like a little child. Do you
really have so much to give that others must always beg? Well
fine, I have nothing. I have to beg!
ALMA Stop it! Stop it right now!! I can't
bear it! Do you understand me?! Stop humiliating yourself
right now. I can't stand it. You must never, do you hear,
never humiliate yourself in front of me. You should never,
never, never beg for my love!
you don't give it to me -
ALMA This is the most deadly killer of love,
don't you understand that? If someone asks for help, you shouldn't
give it to them. Because that means they aren't worthy of
it! Why can't you see that? If a man asks me for something
- if he begs for it - then to me, he's dead.
I dead to you?
ALMA You are doing all you can to make it
easier for me.
make WHAT easier?! To make WHAT easier?! Is there anybody...
ALMA I have an awful dilemma.
there is someone.
ALMA My love... Alex...
is it? - Don't say »Alex«! - Who is it? I want
to know his name!
ALMA It's your name.
name? Why? Another Alex?
ALMA No, you idiot! I'm experimenting.
ALMA No, I'm just experimenting with myself:
I whisper »My love«, and it's always your name
that comes first.
whose name comes second? I can smell him on you. What has
he got that I haven't? Is he younger than me? Better-looking?
want to sparkle like a star in the Viennese sky. For that
you don't need love. And that's all I can give you. But you
need a handsome, rich and respectable man. What are you laughing
ALMA »A handsome Man!« Oh, God...
What do you know!
he isn't handsome? Then he must be very rich.
ALMA He isn't rich either.
he must be famous.
ALMA Alex, I'm yours, I belong to you.
he famous? World famous?
ALMA Not yet.
- Who is it?
ALMA It's (indistinctly)
ALMA (She can't bring herself to pronounce
the name properly:) Gstml
this nonsense. Who is the man?
ALMA I told you. Now leave me in peace, at
make me crazy! (imitates her:) « Gstml
Who's that supposed to be? - I want to know now, dammed! Who
is it? Spell it out for me.!
ALMA Alex! Stop it. You're getting on my
nerves. Stop torturing me!
torturing you?! You're torturing me! Who is the man? I want
to know who it is! God dammed!!!
RESERL (whispers) It's Gustav
What?! (Suddenly it dawns on him:) No! No, you're kidding!
It can't be... You don't mean... Gustav Mahler? That old fart?!
ALMA You would have to say that.
my God! He could be your grandfather!
ALMA He couldn't be my grandfather. That's
he could be your father
ALMA He's only forty-two. So what?
He's twenty years older than you!
ALMA He loves me.
loves you? That old, wrinkled, dried-up herring, that haemorrhoidal
ape? Terminally ill, debt-ridden and impotent? Eats nothing
but wholegrain bread and fruit, and that's exactly how he
composes, too! That tasteless smearer of notes...
ALMA Alright, he's not a Beethoven, but he
a Beethoven«?! Tell me, are you totally crazy?! He's
a sniveling scribbler of music!
ALMA That's not true. His Lieder -
Lieder! How do you know about them?
ALMA He sent them to me.
look what we have here! His diet music! Spare me! It's all
fake simplicity! It's so artificial!
ALMA Calm down, I'm not saying I'm enthusiastic
about his Lieder.
How can you? You are so intelligent, you have such refined
taste. Your own music is so much superior to anything this
pretender has composed! Alma, in 22 years you've composed
better things than Gustav Mahler will cobble together in 200
years. Any one of your Lieder reveals more musical talent
than all of his symphonies combined!
ALMA I know. His music leaves me cold. It
doesn't touch my senses, but - but him! Him! It's him that
fascinates me. Only him. That's it. Nothing else. It's ...
I don't know how to say
sure, I know. The unspeakable, that »certain
something«! That »je ne sais quoi«! - And
his position as Director of the Royal Opera. That's true,
isn't it? He occupies a key position in Vienna's musical life.
To be his wife means glamour! Power! Status! Don't cheat yourself,
Alma. You little fool! All you want to do is sit on the hurdy-gurdy,
all dressed up, with a little red cap, a bowl of money in
your hand, and Mr Mahler grinding the organ! While all Vienna
dances to the tune! But not with me! Not with me!! Alma...
Alma! Come here, come to me!
Suddenly Zemlinsky throws himself at Alma, trying to embrace
and kiss her:
ALMA Stop it! Stop it, Alex! No, don't kiss
me! Alex... Leave me... alone! Don't touch me ...! Don't you
dare ... Go away!! Go ... away!!! (pushes him away and spits
out) Urrgh! - If only I'd met him just three years earlier,
my lips would never have been tainted by yours.
Now I understand you, Alma. At long last. I had to wait a
long time. Your boundless vanity, your craving for pleasure,
your ridiculous fantasies! You're dead! You're lost ...
ALMA Quite the contrary, my dear. You can
keep your advice to yourself. I won't need it anymore. I'll
love him, my whole life . And I'll take care of him. I'll
compose. I will even conduct! This man is pure oxygen for
me! You get set on fire if you step too close !
what about me? What have I been for you?
ALMA Sulphur. It burns too, but it's stinkier.
! Get out of my sight! Fuck yourself to fame and
glory! That's what you were born for!
ALMA That's not for you to judge, thank God.
ma vie, adieu mon coeur, adieu mon espérance! You will
become the most important woman in the musical life of Vienna!
Enjoy it! Go to your old Jewish goat! Go to your Gustav. When
you're fed up with the wet lips of your old prune , join us
for a drink. You're always welcome. I have to drown my sorrows
and break the news to our friends. All it's worth is a good
drink, and some juicy jokes. Adieu Alma!