July 7, 1860: Gustav Mahler is born at house no.9 in Kalischt, near Iglau, (Kaliste, near Jihlava, Czech Republic), 110 km southeast of Prague in the Royal Province of Bohemia, district of Humpoletz (Humpolec), Austrian Empire, second of 14 children born to Bernhard Mahler, distiller and owner of several taverns, and Marie Hermann, daughter of a soap maker. (The house burned down in 1937. It has been restored.)
October 13, 1870: Gustav Mahler (10) performs what is apparently his debut, playing the piano in Iglau (Jihlava), Bohemia. The program is unknown.
April 24, 1873: A report in the Iglau (Jihlava) Mahrischer Grenzbote tells of a performance of Sigismund Thalberg’s (†1) Fantasia on Themes from the opera Norma by one Gustav Mahler (12). The reporter is quite overwhelmed by the virtuosity of the young man, as was the audience.
July 12, 1873: A bar mitzvah for Gustav Mahler (13) takes place in Iglau, Bohemia (Jihlava, Czech Republic).
September 10, 1875: Gustav Mahler (15) begins his first term at the Conservatorium der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna.
July 1, 1876: The first movement of Gustav Mahler’s (15) Piano Quintet wins a first prize in composition at the Conservatorium der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. See 12 September 1876.
July 31, 1876: A Sonata for violin and piano by Gustav Mahler (16) is performed for the first time, in Iglau (Jihlava), the composer at the keyboard.
September 12, 1876: A Quintet for piano and strings by Gustav Mahler (16) is performed for the first time, at Hotel Czap in Iglau (Jihlava), the composer at the keyboard.
September 12, 1877: Gustav Mahler (17) passes the examination and is allowed to leave the Iglau Grammar School. He may now study music in Vienna.
October 20, 1877: Gustav Mahler (17) appears as pianist at the Conservatorium der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna, playing the premiere of the first movement of Piano Concerto no.1 of Xaver Scharwenka.
December 16, 1877: The second version of the Symphony no.3 by Anton Bruckner (53) is performed for the first time, in the Großer Musikverein, Vienna, directed by the composer. Bruckner, a substitute conductor, is not up to the demands of his work. The musicians play badly and the audience is divided, with the “cons” outnumbering the “pros.” Many of the audience leave during the last movement and only about 25, including Gustav Mahler (17) and several of his fellow Vienna Conservatory students, are left at the end. With the last note, the disgruntled musicians immediately depart. See 21 December 1890.
July 2, 1878: A piano quintet by Gustav Mahler (17) is awarded first prize in composition at the Vienna Conservatory. This completes his education at the Conservatorium der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde
July 11, 1878: The scherzo of a Piano Quintet by Gustav Mahler (18) is performed for the first time, at the Vienna Conservatory, the composer at the keyboard. This quintet won the first prize in composition at the Conservatory on 2 July.
December 18, 1879: Gustav Mahler (19) moves out of his Vienna apartment at 39 Windmühlgaße. He has found better accommodations at 12 Wipplingerstraße.
May 12, 1880: Gustav Mahler (19) signs a five-year contract with the agent Gustav Lewy. He is looking for conducting jobs. Lewy will receive five percent of Mahler’s theatrical fees.
August 19, 1880: Gustav Mahler (20) departs his first professional appointment, at Bad Hall in Upper Austria. He returns to Vienna.
September 3, 1881: Gustav Mahler (21) takes up his appointment as conductor of the Landschaftliches Theater in Laibach (Ljubljana).
September 24, 1881: Gustav Mahler (21) conducts for the first time as the principal conductor of the Landschaftliches Theater in Laibach (Ljubljana).
October 3, 1881: Gustav Mahler (21) conducts an opera for the first time, Il Trovatore, at the Landestheater in Laibach (Ljubljana).
September 19, 1882: Gustav Mahler (22) makes his only conducting appearance in his boyhood home of Iglau (Jihlava).
January 10, 1883: Gustav Mahler (22) receives a telegram in Vienna announcing his appointment as Kapellmeister at the Stadttheater in Olmütz (Olomouc).
January 14, 1883: Gustav Mahler (22) conducts his first rehearsal with the opera in Olmütz. He is met with hostility from all sides but calmly demands that everyone follow his instructions. They do.
May 31, 1883: Gustav Mahler (22) signs a contract making him Royal Music and Choral Director in Kassel.
June 23, 1884: Incidental music to von Scheffel’s play Der Trompeter von Säkkingen by Gustav Mahler (23) is performed for the first time, in Kassel.
April 1, 1885: Gustav Mahler (24) formally requests to be released from his contract as conductor in Kassel. “My heart is bleeding from many wounds.”
April 13, 1885: The authorities in Kassel inform Gustav Mahler (24) that his contract will be terminated on 1 September. Mahler wants it to be 1 July.
April 23, 1885: The authorities in Kassel tell Gustav Mahler (24) that he is free to leave his position as of 1 July as he has requested.
July 6, 1885: Gustav Mahler (24) departs Kassel for Iglau where he will spend time with his family before taking up his new position in Prague.
August 17, 1885: Gustav Mahler (25) conducts for the first time in Prague, a performance of Cherubini’s (†43) Der Wasserträger (Les deux journées), in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph.
April 18, 1886: Two songs for voice and piano by Gustav Mahler (25) are performed for the first time, in Prague: Frühlingsmorgen to words of Leander, and Hans und Grethe to folk lyrics.
July 15, 1886: Gustav Mahler (26) departs Prague. He will soon be taking up a new position as opera conductor in Leipzig.
July 25, 1886: Gustav Mahler (26) arrives in Leipzig to take up his new position as opera conductor.
October 13, 1887: Richard Strauss (23) conducts his Symphony no.2 in Leipzig. While in town, he makes the acquaintance of the second conductor at the Stadttheater, Gustav Mahler (27). Mahler will later say that he and Strauss were like “two miners who dig a shaft from opposite sides and finally meet underground.”
November 13, 1887: Gustav Mahler (27) conducts Tannhäuser in Leipzig in the presence of Cosima Wagner. The two meet for the first time.
January 20, 1888: Die drei Pintos, a comic opera by Carl Maria von Weber (†61), completed by Gustav Mahler (27) to words of Hell after Seidel, is performed for the first time, in the Neues Stadttheater, Leipzig, 67 years after it was composed. It is extremely successful and gains Mahler more widespread acclaim than he has ever had before.
January 28, 1888: String Quartet in d minor by Ferruccio Busoni (21) is performed for the first time, in the Leipzig Gewandhaus. The reviews are not positive. One member of the audience, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (47), finds it original but laments what he sees as Busoni’s desire to be German. He thinks that he is ashamed of being Italian. At a soiree, Tchaikovsky makes the acquaintance of Busoni and local conductor Gustav Mahler (27). Tchaikovsky finds Busoni "extraordinarily gifted." He makes no comment about Mahler.
March 9, 1888: German Emperor Wilhelm I, King of Prussia dies in Berlin and is succeeded by his son Friedrich I, King Friedrich III of Prussia. The closing of theatres for ten days is a godsend to Gustav Mahler (27) who is trying to finish his Symphony no.1.
May 17, 1888: Gustav Mahler’s (27) resignation in Leipzig is accepted. He leaves over a personal dispute with the stage manager, Albert Goldberg. Mahler has no immediate prospects.
October 2, 1888: To the astonishment of everyone in the city, Gustav Mahler (28) is named the new director of the Royal Opera in Budapest. He has been given a ten-year contract at a salary of 10,000 kronen. He is only 28, he is largely unknown, and he is a Jew.
January 26, 1889: Gustav Mahler (28) conducts the first performance of Das Rheingold in Hungarian at the Budapest Opera. Shortly after the music begins a fire starts in the prompter’s box. Mahler is forced to stop the music as firemen douse the flames. 30 minutes later the performance resumes. At the end the audience is ecstatic, both with Mahler and the production.
November 13, 1889: Two songs for voice and piano by Gustav Mahler (29) are performed for the first time, in Budapest: Erinnerung, to words of Leander, and Scheiden und Meiden to words of Brentano and von Arnim.
November 20, 1889: Symphony no.1 by Gustav Mahler (29) is performed for the first time, in Budapest, the composer conducting. The audience response is tepid at best. Critics range from praise to condemnation.
March 14, 1891: As a result of a personality dispute with the new director of the Budapest Opera, Count Zichy, Gustav Mahler (30) resigns, receiving 25,000 florins for the breaking of his contract.
March 16, 1891: A production of Lohengrin at the Budapest Opera, prepared by the recently departed Gustav Mahler (30) but conducted by Sándor Erkel, is repeatedly interrupted with calls for the return of Mahler. Police move in to restore order.
January 19, 1892: Gustav Mahler (31) conducts a performance of Yevgeny Onegin by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (51) in Hamburg before an audience which includes the composer. Tchaikovsky writes to his nephew, “The conductor here is not the usual ilk, but a man of genius who would give his life to conduct the premiere.”
April 29, 1892: Two songs for voice and piano by Gustav Mahler (31) to words of Brentano and von Arnim are performed for the first time, in Hamburg: Aus! Aus! and Nicht wiedersehen.
September 20, 1892: Now that the cholera epidemic in Hamburg has subsided somewhat, Gustav Mahler (32) decides to return.
December 12, 1892: Der Schildwache Nachtlied and Verlor’ne Müh from Des knaben Wunderhorn, a cycle for voice and orchestra by Gustav Mahler (32) to words of Brentano and von Arnim, are performed for the first time, in Berlin.
October 27, 1893: Three songs from the cycle Des knaben Wunderhorn by Gustav Mahler (33) to words of Brentano and von Arnim are performed for the first time, in Hamburg: Trost im Unglück, Wer hat dies Liedlein erdacht?, and Rheinlegendchen, along with the song Das himmlische Leben.
March 29, 1894: Gustav Mahler (39) attends the memorial service for Hans von Bülow in St. Michael’s Church, Hamburg. He hears The Resurrection by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock and from this finds the inspiration for the conclusion of his Symphony no.2
July 28, 1894: At the invitation of Cosima Wagner, Gustav Mahler (34) visits Wahnfried through 4 August. He will see productions of Parsifal, Tannhäuser, and Lohengrin from the family box.
March 4, 1895: The first three movements of Symphony no.2 by Gustav Mahler (34) are performed for the first time, in Berlin conducted by the composer. The audience, filling only half of the seats, is extremely enthusiastic. See 29 March 1894 and 13 December 1895.
November 29, 1895: In Hamburg, Gustav Mahler (35) writes an impassioned letter to the singer Anna von Mildenburg, indicative of the relationship they have entered into.
December 13, 1895: Symphony no.2 “Resurrection” for soprano, alto, chorus, and orchestra by Gustav Mahler (35) is performed completely for the first time, in Berlin conducted by the composer. The work marks Mahler’s first great success as a composer. Bruno Walter will remember it as the true beginning of Mahler’s career as a composer and he resolves to devote himself to Mahler’s music. See 4 March 1894.
March 16, 1896: The orchestral setting of Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, a cycle for voice and orchestra by Gustav Mahler (35) to his own words, is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
November 9, 1896: The second movement of Symphony no.3 by Gustav Mahler (36) is performed for the first time, in Berlin. It is an unexpected success, with the public and the press. See 9 June 1902 and 9 March 1907.
December 21, 1896: Gustav Mahler (36) mails his letter of application for the position of conductor of the Vienna Court Opera.
February 23, 1897: Gustav Mahler (36) accepts baptism as a Roman Catholic in the Kleine Michaeliskirche in Hamburg.
March 9, 1897: The third and sixth movements of Symphony no.3 by Gustav Mahler (36) are performed for the first time, in Berlin. Response to the third movement is mixed. The sixth causes an uproar. See 9 November 1896 and 9 June 1902.
March 15, 1897: Gustav Mahler (36) conducts for the first time in Moscow. The critics are not impressed.
April 8, 1897: The Wiener Abendpost announces that Gustav Mahler (36) has been engaged as a conductor at the Vienna Opera.
April 27, 1897: Gustav Mahler (36) arrives in Vienna from Hamburg to take up his position as a conductor at the Vienna Hofoper.
May 11, 1897: After one rehearsal, Gustav Mahler (36) conducts his Vienna Hofoper debut with a performance of Lohengrin. It is a great success with both the press and public.
July 13, 1897: Baron von Bezecny, General Manager of the Vienna Hofoper, informs Director Wilhelm Jahn that during Jahn’s medical leave, his deputy Gustav Mahler (37) will perform his duties.
August 1, 1897: While director Wilhelm Jahn is on medical leave, Gustav Mahler (37) begins serving as interim director of the Vienna Hofoper.
September 18, 1897: The new opera director, Gustav Mahler (37), and Hugo Wolf (37) dispute Wolf’s desire to have Der Corregidor produced in Vienna. This appears to be the event triggering Wolf’s madness. Later in the day he proclaims himself to be the director of the Opera. Because of this and other bizarre, uncontrolled behavior, his friends make arrangements for his committal. (approximate date)
September 27, 1897: Gustav Mahler (37) signs a contract with Josef Weinberger, Viennese publishers, to print his first song cycle, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen.
October 15, 1897: Gustav Mahler (37), already the conductor, enters upon duties as artistic director of the Vienna Hofoper.
January 4, 1898: The Deutsche Zeitung of Vienna publishes an article called “Die Judenherrschaft in der Wiener Oper.” It is a furious attack on director Gustav Mahler (37).
February 19, 1898: At a rehearsal for the Vienna premiere of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s (40) La bohème, the composer, and conductor Gustav Mahler (37) battle in front of musicians and cast about the inclusion of the singer Ernest Van Dyck. Receiving no satisfaction, Leoncavallo withdraws but later sends a letter to the hall threatening to withdraw his work if Van Dyck is not included. Mahler does not give in. Leoncavallo takes his cause to the press.
June 5, 1898: Gustav Mahler (38) takes a leave of absence from the Vienna Opera to undergo surgery at the Rudolphinerhaus clinic in Döbling to address his frequent hemorrhoids.
September 10, 1898: Elizabeth, Empress of Austria, is stabbed to death by an Italian anarchist in Geneva. This will delay Gustav Mahler's (38) new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Vienna Hofoper for ten days.
September 23, 1898: Hans Richter submits his resignation as director of the Vienna Philharmonic, officially because of medical reasons. The same day, the orchestra board asks Gustav Mahler (38) to take over. In fact, it has all been arranged in advance.
September 24, 1898: The board of the Vienna Philharmonic formally names Gustav Mahler Conductor of the Philharmonic Concerts by acclamation.
September 26, 1898: One day after he completes the first uncut performance of Der Ring des Nibelungen in Vienna, a committee from the Vienna Philharmonic calls on Gustav Mahler (38) and offers him the directorship of their orchestra. He accepts gladly.
May 30, 1899: At the annual general meeting of the Vienna Philharmonic, it is voted 54-41 to postpone the election of the chief conductor for a time sufficient to ask Hans Richter if he will take the post back from Gustav Mahler (38).
June 6, 1899: The cortege carrying the body of Johann Strauss travels from his house in Ingelgaße, past the Theater an der Wien, the Musikverein, and the court opera. His mortal remains are laid to rest in the Zentralfriedhof near those of Beethoven (†72), Schubert (†70) and Brahms (†2). Among the mourners is Gustav Mahler (38).
July 11, 1899: While bicycling near Gosaumühle, Austria, Gustav Mahler (39) encounters the musician Gustav Geiringer and a small party including Alma Schindler. He asks directions but then ends up following them and overtaking them four or five times. Although Geiringer wants to introduce Alma to Mahler, Alma rides away. “I feel absolutely no urge to meet him. I love and honor him as an artist, but as a man he doesn’t interest me at all. I wouldn’t want to lose my illusions either.”
August 1, 1899: Writing from Bayreuth, Hans Richter informs the Vienna Philharmonic that he will be unable to return to his former post as chief conductor of the orchestra concerts. This leaves the path open for its current director, Gustav Mahler (39).
August 24, 1899: The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra votes on a conductor, as it does every year at this time. Gustav Mahler (39) receives 61 votes, 19 are for Josef Hellmesberger, one for Felix Mottl and three are invalid. Mahler declines to lead an orchestra so divided.
September 16, 1899: The Vienna Philharmonic takes a second vote on a conductor. Of the 96 musicians present, 90 vote for Gustav Mahler (39). Later, the orchestra announces that Mahler has accepted the position.
January 14, 1900: Das irdische Leben and Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen, from the song cycle Des Knaben Wunderhorn, words by Brentano and von Arnim, music by Gustav Mahler (39), are performed for the first time, in Vienna at a concert of Mahler lieder conducted by the composer.
February 15, 1900: Selbstgefühl for solo voice and piano, words by Brentano and von Arnim, music by Gustav Mahler (39), is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
February 22, 1900: Given the condemnation of some of the orchestra and all of the critics to Gustav Mahler’s (39) “modification” of Beethoven’s (†72) Symphony no.9, the audience at the second performance receive a lengthy written explanation of his actions by the conductor. It only serves to fuel the controversy.
March 18, 1900: The openly anti-Semitic Deutsche Zeitung of Vienna publishes a lengthy and blistering attack on the conductorship of Gustav Mahler (39).
June 18, 1900: The Vienna Philharmonic gives the first of a series of concerts at the International Exhibition in Paris, conducted by Gustav Mahler (39).
February 24, 1901: After conducting a Vienna Philharmonic concert in the afternoon and Die Zauberflöte in the evening, Gustav Mahler (40) suffers severe bleeding due to hemorrhoids. Dr. Julius Hochenegg, a prominent surgeon, is called in and he manages to stop the bleeding. The doctor tells Mahler “half an hour later would have been too late.” (Leberecht 2010, 103)
March 4, 1901: Gustav Mahler (40) undergoes a third operation for hemorrhoids, in Vienna. It is a success but he is put in a nursing home to convalesce slowly.
November 7, 1901: At a dinner party at the home of the Viennese anatomist Emil Zuckerkandl, Gustav Mahler (41) once again meets the daughter of the late landscape painter Anton Schindler, Alma Maria Schindler (22).
November 18, 1901: After a performance of Gluck’s (†114) Orfeo ed Euridice in Vienna, Gustav Mahler (41) asks Alma Schindler to introduce him to her mother. He then invites the two of them to his office where they have tea and a pleasant conversation. He is invited to their home and accepts.
November 25, 1901: Gustav Mahler (41) conducts his own Fourth Symphony in it’s world premiere at the Kaim Saal, Munich. The critics are not impressed. “No trace of spontaneity, not a single autonomous idea, no original feeling, indeed not even pure colors for the impure images--nothing but technical skill, calculation, and inner deceit, a sickly, ill-tasting Supermusic.”
November 28, 1901: Gustav Mahler (41) walks with Alma Schindler before dinner and they speak of marriage. Later, they share their first embrace. She confides to her diary, “Mahler was here…I think only of him, only of him.
December 2, 1901: Gustav Mahler (41) tells Alma Schindler that he loves her and they share a kiss. She is drawn to him but feels remorse for the promises she has made to Alexander von Zemlinsky.
December 12, 1901: Alma Schindler writes to Alexander von Zemlinsky, asking his forgiveness and his blessing for her decision to be with Gustav Mahler (41).
December 20, 1901: Alma Schindler receives a letter from Gustav Mahler (41) indicating that she will have to give up any ambitions to be a composer. At first angry, she will convince herself tomorrow that this is the best course.
December 23, 1901: Gustav Mahler (41) and Alma Schindler become engaged, before her guardians, Carl and Anna Moll, at their home in Vienna.
December 27, 1901: The engagement of Gustav Mahler (41) and Alma Schindler appears for the first time in the Vienna papers.
March 9, 1902: Gustav Mahler (41) marries Alma Margarethe Maria Schindler, daughter of landscape painter Anton Schindler and a composition student (and lover) of Alexander von Zemlinsky, in the sacristy of the Karlskirche, Vienna. The ceremony is kept private. Besides the couple, there are only four others in attendance. The bride is pregnant, but not obviously so.
April 22, 1902: Regent Prince Luitpold, for King Otto of Bavaria, awards the Order of Saint Michael, third rank, to Gustav Mahler (41).
June 9, 1902: The first complete performance of the Symphony no.3 by Gustav Mahler (42) is conducted by the composer at Krefeld, Germany. It is an enormous success. The audience, which includes Richard Strauss (37) and Engelbert Humperdinck (47), applauds for 15 minutes. The press is positive, but not without reservation. See 9 November 1896 and 9 March 1897.
August 10, 1902: Gustav Mahler (42) presents his wife Alma with his new lied Liebst Du um Schönheit. They play through it together. Her feelings of being ignored in their six-month-old marriage are swept away. “I often realize how little I am and possess--compared with his infinite riches.”
October 17, 1903: Gustav Mahler (43) has an audience with Emperor Franz Joseph to thank him for the award of Order of the Iron Crown, third class.
March 1, 1904: In an effort to support his young colleague, Gustav Mahler (44) attends a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s (29) Verklärte Nacht in Vienna. Mahler cheers the work loudly, but most of the audience reaction is strongly negative. Mahler suggests to Schoenberg that he rescore the piece for string orchestra.
March 15, 1904: The Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde decides to ask Gustav Mahler (44) to direct their concert series. He will decline, twice.
October 18, 1904: The Symphony no.5 of Gustav Mahler (44) is performed for the first time, in Gürzenich Concert Hall, Cologne, under the baton of the composer. The audience response is mixed, the press is hostile.
November 23, 1904: The first concert of the Vereinigung Schaffender Tonkünstler in Wien takes place in Vienna, conducted by the group’s honorary president, Gustav Mahler (44). It has been set up to mirror the Secession movement in visual arts.
December 12, 1904: Arnold Schoenberg (30) writes to Gustav Mahler (44) in Vienna after hearing Mahler’s Symphony no.3. “…I have seen your soul naked, stark naked. It lay before me like a wild mysterious landscape with its horror-provoking shadows and ravines, and, next to these, joyful charming sunny meadows, idyllic resting places. I felt the symphony to be an experience of nature with its horror and evil and its transfiguring, tranquillizing rainbows…I felt they were battle about illusions; I felt the grief of a disillusioned man, I saw good and evil forces struggling with each other, I saw a man in torturing agitation seeking for inner harmony; I could see it, a man, a drama, truth, most reckless truth…” (Fischer, 480)
January 29, 1905: A night devoted to Mahler (44) lieder with orchestra in the Kleiner Musiksaal of the Musikverein, Vienna sees several premieres, including two from Des knaben Wunderhorn (Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt, and Lied des Verfolgten im Turm) to words of Brentano and Arnim; the entire Kindertotenlieder cycle, to words of Rückert; four other Rückert Lieder (Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder, Ich atmet’einen Linden Duft, Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen and Um Mitternacht) and two lieder from Des knaben Wunderhorn not part of the song cycle (Revelge and Der Tamboursg’sell). The composer conducts all these works. It is a tremendous success. Attending is a young member of the Schoenberg circle, Anton von Webern (21). He is very impressed.
February 3, 1905: At a social gathering in the Annahof, Vienna following a Mahler concert, a repeat of the 29 January program, Anton von Webern (21) personally meets Gustav Mahler (44) for the first time. He spends several hours listening to Mahler’s ideas. Webern will later recall “...it was the first time that I received the immediate impression of a truly great personality.”
October 31, 1905: Vienna Hofoper conductor Gustav Mahler (45) receives a report from Austrian court censor Emil Jettel von Ettenach declaring that Richard Strauss’ (41) opera Salome is unfit for the Imperial and Royal stage. It seems the work contains “…the depiction of events that belong in the realm of sexual pathology…” (Fischer, 476)
November 9, 1905: Gustav Mahler (45) makes three pianola rolls using the Welte-Mignon system, in Leipzig. They are Ich ging mit Lust, Ging heut’ Morgens übers Feld and Das himmlische Leben.
January 18, 1906: The tenth song in the cycle Des knaben Wunderhorn (Lob des hohen Verstandes) by Gustav Mahler (45) to words of Brentano and Arnim, is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
May 20, 1906: Gustav Mahler (46) departs Vienna for Essen to conduct the premiere of his Sixth Symphony.
May 27, 1906: The Symphony no.6 by Gustav Mahler (45) is performed for the first time, under the baton of the composer, in Essen. The composer-conductor receives six curtain calls, including a standing ovation from the orchestra. Critics range from tepid to scathing.
January 4, 1907: The Vienna premiere of Gustav Mahler’s (47) Symphony no.6 is met with strong applause but also loud expressions of displeasure from some members of the audience. Most Vienna critics savage the piece.
February 8, 1907: Liebst du um Schönheit, a song by Gustav Mahler (46) to words of Rückert, is performed for the first time (possibly), in Vienna.
February 8, 1907: Kammersymphonie op.9 by Arnold Schoenberg (32) is performed for the first time, in the Musikvereinsaal, Vienna. In the middle of the performance, Schoenberg opponents begin noisily moving their chairs. Gustav Mahler (46) shouts at them to be quiet, which they do. At the end, loud applause, led by Mahler, is accompanied by whistles and catcalls. Alma Mahler will remember that as they proceed home, her husband tells her “I do not understand his music, but he is young; perhaps he is right. I am old, perhaps I no longer have the ear for his music.”
April 21, 1907: For the first time, a production by Gustav Mahler (46) is booed. During a performance of Tristan und Isolde at the Vienna Hofoper, the bass Felix von Kraus receives a small number of boos. Mahler takes this as an attack on himself and begins to think seriously about leaving the Hofoper.
May 22, 1907: In the midst of a press campaign against Hofoper Director Gustav Mahler (46), the Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung publishes a lengthy article in his support.
June 5, 1907: Gustav Mahler (46) concludes an agreement with Heinrich Conried, director of the Metropolitan Opera, New York, to conduct the Met during the first four months of 1908. On the same day, “A Conversation with Gustav Mahler” is published in the Neues Wiener Tagblatt, wherein Mahler defends and explains his actions as Director of the Vienna Hofoper.
June 21, 1907: Gustav Mahler (46) signs a contract in Vienna to conduct the Metropolitan Opera in New York during three months in each of the years 1908-1911.
July 14, 1907: Two days after the death of her daughter, Alma Mahler suffers a heart episode at Maiernigg. A local doctor is summoned to examine her. While there, he also examines Gustav Mahler (47) and for the first time, the heart ailment which will eventually kill him is diagnosed.
August 20, 1907: The appointment of Felix Weingartner as Director of the Vienna Hofoper, succeeding Gustav Mahler (47), is officially announced.
October 5, 1907: By Imperial decree, Gustav Mahler (47) is relieved of his duties as Director of the Vienna Hofoper and given an annual pension of 14,000 kronen. Felix Weingartner is appointed his replacement. See 1 December 1907.
October 15, 1907: Gustav Mahler (47) opens his last production as music director of the Vienna Opera. It is Beethoven’s (†80) Fidelio.
October 29, 1907: Gustav Mahler (47) arrives in Helsinki for a brief visit during which he will conduct one concert.
November 24, 1907: Gustav Mahler (47) marks his farewell to Vienna with a performance of his Resurrection Symphony at a concert of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. He is recalled 30 times with emotional applause, and is himself moved to tears.
December 1, 1907: The resignation of Gustav Mahler (47) as Director of the Vienna Hofoper takes effect.
December 14, 1907: Two songs from the Nine Wunderhorn-Lieder for voice and piano by Gustav Mahler (47) are performed for the first time, in Berlin. They are Um schlimme Kinder artig zu machen and Ablösung im Sommer.
January 1, 1908: Gustav Mahler (47) conducts his first performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It is Wagner’s (†24) Tristan und Isolde. It is a triumph with the public and the press.
April 14, 1908: The New York Times informs its readers that Gustav Mahler (47) will conduct three concerts of the New York Symphony Society next season.
April 15, 1908: An informal committee meets in New York and organizes four Festival Concerts to be conducted by Gustav Mahler (47) next season at Carnegie Hall. A fundraising letter goes out to potential contributors.
September 19, 1908: The Symphony no.7 of Gustav Mahler (48) is performed for the first time, in the Jubilee Exhibition Hall, Prague, under the baton of the composer.
November 29, 1908: Gustav Mahler (48) conducts the first of three concerts with the New York Symphony Orchestra.
February 16, 1909: The New York Sun reports that sufficient funds have been raised to revive the New York Philharmonic Society and that Gustav Mahler (48) has been engaged as conductor.
March 31, 1909: Gustav Mahler (48), suffering from influenza, conducts the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time, in Carnegie Hall.
April 23, 1909: Gustav Mahler (48) meets Auguste Rodin for the first time, in Paris. Mahler will sit for Rodin several times over the next month as Rodin produces a bust of the composer.
October 19, 1909: Gustav Mahler (49) and his family arrive in New York, six days out of Cherbourg, for his third season in the United States.
November 4, 1909: Gustav Mahler (49) conducts the first concert of the new season with the New York Philharmonic.
March 21, 1910: Gustav Mahler (49) conducts his farewell performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It is Tchaikovsky’s (†16) Queen of Spades. It is the last time he conducts an opera.
April 5, 1910: Gustav Mahler (49) and his family sail from New York after his third season in the United States.
May 21, 1910: Gustav Mahler (49) signs a contract with Universal Edition for the publication of his Symphony no.9 and Das Lied von der Erde.
July 29, 1910: A letter intended for Alma Mahler from her lover Walter Gropius is sent instead to her husband Gustav Mahler (49) at Toblach. He confronts her with it and the affair is in the open. (There is reason to believe that Gropius sent the letter to Mahler intentionally.)
August 26, 1910: Upset about his relationship with his wife (who has begun a liaison with Walter Gropius) and after cancelling three previous appointments, Gustav Mahler (50) sees Sigmund Freud on approximately this date in Leyden, the Netherlands. They meet at a hotel and then perambulate through the town for four hours. Immediately afterwards, Freud returns to his vacation and Mahler returns to the Tyrol.
September 3, 1910: Gustav Mahler (50) travels from Vienna to Munich for the premiere of his Symphony no.8.
September 5, 1910: Gustav Mahler (50) forces himself out of his sick bed to conduct the first rehearsal of his Symphony no.8 in Munich. Those who know him are surprised by his emaciated appearance.
September 12, 1910: Symphony no.8 “of a thousand” for three sopranos, two altos, tenor, baritone, bass, boys chorus, mixed chorus, and orchestra by Gustav Mahler (50) to the medieval hymn Veni Creator Spiritus and words of Goethe, is performed for the first time, at the Neue Musik Festhalle, Munich, conducted by the composer. The performers include eight soloists, 170 in the orchestra (plus organ) and 850 singers (both children and adult). It is the greatest success of Mahler’s life. Among the glittering audience are Camille Saint-Saëns (74), Alphons Diepenbrock (48), Richard Strauss (46), Paul Dukas (44), Max Reger (37), Alfredo Casella (27), Anton Webern (26), Auguste Rodin, Lilli Lehmann, Siegried Wagern, Willem Mengelberg, Bruno Walter, Leopold Stokowski, and Thomas Mann. Mann will send Mahler a copy of his new book Königliche Hoheit. “It is certainly a very poor return for what I received—a mere feather’s weight in the hand of the man who, as I believe, expresses the art of our time in its profoundest and most sacred form.” It is the last time Mahler and Strauss meet.
October 18, 1910: Gustav Mahler (50) sails from Bremerhaven aboard the Kaiser Wilhelm II for New York.
October 19, 1910: Alma Mahler, her daughter and nurse join Gustav Mahler (50) aboard the Kaiser Wilhelm II in Boulogne for the crossing to New York and his fourth season in America. (This could be 20 October)
November 1, 1910: Gustav Mahler (50) conducts the first concert of his last season with the New York Philharmonic.
December 7, 1910: Gustav Mahler (50) meets his wife Alma in Buffalo and they visit Niagara Falls together. This evening, Mahler conducts the New York Philharmonic in Buffalo.
February 21, 1911: Against his doctor’s better judgment, Gustav Mahler (50) conducts the New York Philharmonic in Carnegie Hall while he is suffering with a fever from his recurring throat ailment. It turns out to be his last performance. He directs the premiere of Berceuse élégiaque op.42 for orchestra by Ferruccio Busoni (45).
February 25, 1911: Emanuel Libman, the foremost expert on endocarditis in New York, meets with Gustav Mahler (50) in Mahler’s rooms at the Hotel Savoy. Libman has been consulted by Mahler’s doctor, Joseph Fraenkel. He makes a bacteriological study and confirms the diagnosis of endocarditis.
March 8, 1911: The Guarantors’ Committee of the New York Philharmonic Society votes to end negotiations with its present conductor Gustav Mahler (50) under conditions he set forth, and to approach Felix Weingartner to conduct the orchestra next season.
March 11, 1911: Alma Mahler writes to Walter Gropius from New York and, for the first time, reveals the serious nature of Gustav Mahler’s (50) condition.
April 21, 1911: Gustav Mahler (50) is transported by car from the Elysée Palace Hotel in Paris to a clinic in Neuilly for treatment of his condition.
May 4, 1911: The New York Times announces that Joseph Stransky has been hired to replace Gustav Mahler (50) as conductor of the New York Philharmonic.
May 11, 1911: Gustav Mahler (50) is examined in Paris by Viennese specialist Franz Chvostek. Chvostek suspects the worst and orders Mahler to Vienna as soon as possible.
May 12, 1911: 17:55 After unsuccessful treatments at a clinic in Neuilly, Gustav Mahler (50) arrives in Vienna, aware that he is terminally ill. He is placed in Loew Sanatorium.
May 18, 1911: 23:05 Gustav Mahler dies at the Loew Sanatorium in Vienna, Austro-Hungarian Empire, of heart disease complicated by a bacterial infection. He is aged 50 years, ten months, and eleven days.
May 22, 1911: The earthly remains of Gustav Mahler are laid to rest in the Grinzing cemetery, Vienna, in the same grave as his daughter. Hundreds of mourners line the route and attend the burial in a steady rain, including Arnold Schoenberg (36), Alfons Diepenbrock (48), Bruno Walter, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Gustav Klimt, and representatives of major artistic organizations in Vienna and beyond.
May 23, 1911: Sigmund Freud writes to Emil Freund, the lawyer handling the estate of Gustav Mahler (†0), asking payment of 300 crowns for the afternoon of analysis he rendered Mahler last August. It will be paid.
May 25, 1911: Only a week after the death of Gustav Mahler, Thomas Mann visits Venice and conceives his novella, Tod in Venedig.
March 31, 1913: A concert in the Musikvereinsaal, Vienna is planned to include Anton von Webern’s (29) Six Pieces for large orchestra op.6 (premiere), Four Orchestral Songs by Alexander von Zemlinsky, the Chamber Symphony op.9 by Arnold Schoenberg (38), two of the Five Orchestral Songs op.4 by Alban Berg (28) to words of Altenberg, and the Kindertotenlieder of Gustav Mahler (†1). During and following the Webern, opposing parties applaud and hiss. After the Schoenberg, whistles on door keys are added to the din, as are fights in the second balcony. Berg’s work elicits laughter from some audience members. Schoenberg, who is conducting at this point, stops Berg’s music, turns to the audience and threatens that all demonstrators will be evicted by force. This announcement causes the fighting to begin anew, including several demands for satisfaction on the field of honor. Webern shouts from his box that “all the baggage should be thrown out.” Opponents of the music suggest that proponents would best be served by a term in the Steinhof insane asylum. The President of the Academic Association for Literature and Music pleads with the audience to at least honor the memory of Mahler by listening to his Kindertotenlieder. He is forced to withdraw under a barrage of insults. Several audience members then storm the stage, causing the musicians to end the performance for the sake of their well being. The riot continues for another thirty minutes, as several differences of artistic opinion are settled in the street. See 24 January 1953.
February 4, 1914: In Berlin, Jean Sibelius (48) hears Gustav Mahler’s (†2) Symphony no.5 and the Kammersymphonie of Arnold Schoenberg (39). He reports: “This is a legitimate and valid way of looking at things, I suppose. But it is certainly painful to listen to. A result achieved by excessive cerebration. People whistled and shouted.”
August 18, 1915: Alma (Schindler) Mahler, the widow of Gustav Mahler (†4), marries the architect Walter Gropius, now a lieutenant in the German army, in Berlin. Tomorrow he returns to the front.
December 29, 1918: The first performance of the Society for Private Performances takes place in Vienna. The program includes Alyeksandr Skryabin’s (†3) Piano Sonatas nos.4&7, four songs and Proses lyriques by Claude Debussy (†0) and the Seventh Symphony of Gustav Mahler (†7) in an arrangement for piano-four hands.
October 12, 1924: The first and third movements of the unfinished Symphony no.10 by Gustav Mahler (†13) are performed for the first time, in Vienna.
June 21, 1932: After conducting a concert in Vienna of works by Schoenberg (57), Berg (47), and Mahler (†21), Anton Webern (48) is admitted to the Rudolfsstiftung for diagnostic evaluation. He fainted during the last rehearsal for this performance. After twelve days, no physical problem is found and he is diagnosed as having a “nervous condition.” The composer will undergo “cures” at various establishments through the summer.
September 30, 1934: Three lieder, composed in 1880 by Gustav Mahler (†23) to his own words for voice and piano, are performed for the first time, over the airwaves of Brno Radio. The three are: Im Lenz, Winterlied, and Maitanz im Grünen.
November 28, 1934: Part One of the original version of Gustav Mahler’s (†23) cantata Das klagende Lied to his own words is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of Radio Brno 64 years after it was composed. See 17 February 1901 and 8 April 1935.
April 8, 1935: The original version of Gustav Mahler’s (†23) cantata Das klagende Lied to his own words is performed completely for the first time, in a broadcast from Vienna, 65 years after it was composed. See 17 February 1901 and 28 November 1934.
March 13, 1938: The Austrian cabinet agrees to the Anschluss between Austria and Germany, effectively ending Austrian independence. The fact is proclaimed by the new Chancellor, Arthur Seyss-Inquart. President Wilhelm Miklas, however refuses to sign the document and resigns. Benjamin Britten (24) confides to his diary, “Think of Wien, under Nazi control-no more Mahler (†26), no lightness, no culture, nothing but their filthy, lewd, heartiness, their despicable conceit, & unutterable stupidiy.” (Kildea, 147-148)
March 16, 1939: The synagogue in Jihlava, Czechoslovakia, where Gustav Mahler (†27) grew up, is burned to the ground by the Germans.
April 28, 1939: Germans carry out a pogrom in Jihlava, Czechoslovakia, forcing out the 1,200 Jews in the town. It is where Gustav Mahler (†27) grew up.
July 9, 1943: Mezzo-soprano Hilde Aronson-Lindt and baritone Walter Windholz, accompanied by Otto König, give a recital of lieder by Gustav Mahler (†32) in Theresienstadt (Terezín).
April 28, 1963: Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel writes to Deryck Cooke expressing admiration for his realization of Gustav Mahler’s (†51) 10th Symphony and rescinding her prohibition against performances of this version.
February 12, 1964: Gustav Mahler’s (†52) unfinished Piano Quartet in a minor is performed for the first time, in New York, 86 years after it was composed.
August 13, 1964: Deryck Cooke’s arrangement of the Symphony no.10 of Gustav Mahler (†53) is performed for the first time, in London.
June 8, 1968: Leonard Bernstein (49) conducts members of the New York Philharmonic at the funeral in memory of Senator Robert Kennedy in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York. They perform part of Verdi’s (†67) Requiem and the Adagietto from the Symphony no.5 of Gustav Mahler (†57). Bernstein was placed in charge of the music for the ceremony at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy. He is accompanied to the cathedral by police after a threat on his life. The body of Senator Kennedy is then brought by train from New York to Washington where it is laid to rest near that of his brother in Arlington National Cemetery.