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Classical Notes

Mahler and Schreker separated at birth?

Posted at 12:02 PM on January 5, 2011 by Alison Young
Filed under: Fun finds, In the media


Gustav Mahler put the finishing touches on his masterpiece Das Lied von der Erde in the final year of his life. It was published and premiered posthumously.

His funeral was only a short-lived memory when his wife Alma - in the prime of her life and well-off - began a torrid affair with a married composer and conductor Franz Schreker.

Things started off with him sending a photograph of himself to her. (Mahler is on the left, Schreker on the right)

"Ah, why DID you leave me your picture? - now I'm done for..." she writes. Likely it was the fact that he looked so much like her late husband, she could not resist.

The affair was intense but short-lived and didn't end before Schreker would irritate both his wife and Alma's new lover by dedicating his latest opera to Alma.

Both composers will be represented on this week's SPCO concert broadcast live on Classical MPR at 8:00 this Saturday including one of the greatest pieces in classical music - a song-symphony, Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde.