The Manchester girl that Mahler loved

The Manchester girl that Mahler loved


norman lebrecht

March 15, 2018

I’ll be elaborating about Marion von Weber at the Liverpool Phil tonight.

Here‘s some dirt that I dug up seven years ago.

The world owes Mahler’s First Symphony to Marion von Weber, his Leipzig love… 

Now for the nagging detail. In an excess of local patriotism, Leipzig scholars trawled through the rest of Marion’s life to find some exceptional trait, and came up with no further incident from the day Mahler left in 1886 until her death in 1931. But tracing her origins, they found an inconvenient fact. Marion was not from Leipzig at all: she was from Manchester. Fancy that.

An English researcher, Nigel Simeone, has furnished me with further details. Marion was born into a German-Jewish family called Schwabe, living at 313 Oxford Road …

Read on here.


  • Rich C. says:

    She was from Manchester? Was she United or City?

  • Rob says:

    That explains the blum-in(e)’ hell original second movement then!

  • Charles Clark Maxwell says:

    Excellent article !

  • Bruce says:

    No comments about her looks? Weird.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    This whole affair is covered in great detail in Jens Malte Fischer’s big, single-edition Mahler biography. He does, however, run with the bit about Marion’s husband brandishing a gun and threatening suicide.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Fascinating story. But a tricky proposal to make to a mother of three children. No woman in her right mind would desert her children for a lover – or she would be able to take the children with her. Something like this may have transpired in Mahler while writing the slow movement.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      No woman in her right mind?!? . . . this sort of thing happens everyday, sometimes by – otherwise – very rational people.