Another life of Alma

Bloomsbury has announced another biography of Alma Mahler, out in June.

It’s by Cate Haste and draws ‘extensively on hitherto unpublished diaries and letters’ (as do we all).

Cate Haste has previously confined herself mostly to politics. She is co-author with Cherie Blair of a book on British Prime Ministers’ wives, The Goldfish Bowl (2004) and has written Nazi Women (2001) about women in Nazi Germany.

The go-to Alma biography at present is Oliver Hilmes’s Malevolent Muse (2015).

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  • As we know, he wrote her into the first movement of the 6th Symphony (2nd theme) in the first three weeks of July 1903, in the hut in Maiernigg, in a kind of Straussian Pauline aka Heldenleben. Walk beyond the hut towards the Villa through the forest and you will be able to see Alma as she stood outside in 1903 waiting for him to come back in the late afternoon. The old winding path direct ( the original path Mahler took in the early hours in the summer months) from the Villa front is still there, albeit muted and slightly overgrown, not the tourist route from the car park. One must walk Mahler’s orginal path, physically to feel his footsteps and see and smell what he saw before reaching the hut.

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