Gustav Mahler: Memories and Letters, by Alma Mahler, Third ed., page 12

 

And so he bade farewell to Hamburg and, in spite of all the intrigues set on foot against him, particularly by Cosima Wagner, who could not tolerate a Jew as Director of the Opera in Vienna, he secured his engagement, first as a conductor of the orchestra and heir-presumptive of Wilhelm Jahn and, before many weeks had gone by, as Director. He was thirty-six. The sufferings of his earlier years as a conductor are an ever-recurring theme in his letters to his parents.

He often said to me: ‘You are lucky. You were born with a silver spoon in your mouth. You can go your flowery way – no grim past, no family round your neck – but I have had to stagger on all my life with clods of earth weighing down my feet.’