from Gustav Mahler: Memories and Letters, by Alma Mahler

page 92, Chapter: Splendid Isolation, 1905

I was extremely interested, to come to human matters, by what you had to tell us of the Meier-Graefe questionnaire about a national slogan. There was a directness and lucidity in Mahler’s reply which pleased me very much. He said he would never have anything to do with such queries because he thought them utterly superfluous and boring, and that he did not either feel the least need to set himself against them, and if he were to take any part in your questionnaire with its national reference, people would only ask what a Jew had to do with it. Besides, music was his means of expression, not the pen, of which he was a horribly clumsy and reluctant manipulator. ‘Perhaps if I were better at it I might employ it more. But I doubt it. There’s Wagner as a shocking example. What is the use of all those volumes he wrote? You have to forget them before you can begin to love the genius of Wagner as it deserves to be loved.’

 

page 97, Chapter: Splendid Isolation, 1906

Mahler went to Breslau in the winter where he conducted his Third Symphony in response to the invitation of Albert Neisser, president of the Music Society. He was very fond of Neisser and his wife, who welcomed all persons of distinction to their cultured house.