Tuesday 30 September 2014

The fascinating Alma Mahler

Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel (1879–1964)
Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel (1879–1964)
I first came across Alma Mahler thanks to Tom Lehrer's song about her - Her lovers were many and varied, From the day she began her beguine, There were three famous ones whom she married, And God knows how many between'. (You can hear Lehrer performing it on YouTube). Notorious for marrying Mahler, Walter Gropius and Franz Werfel (first a composer, then an architect and then a writer). A composer herself, she gave it up during her marriage to Mahler, but continued inspiring her husbands. But if you look at photos of her or film footage taken in the 1950's you do being to wonder as she looks like a rather forbidding matriarch. The Aspect Foundation is devoting the first of its Autumn series of music in context to Alma, with Alma Mahler: Muse or Monster? at the 20th century Theatre in Notting Hill on 1 October 2014. The evening will include music by Alma and Gustav Mahler,  Zemlinsky and Korngold performed by Olivia Ray (mezzo-soprano), Ania Safonova (violin), Aleg Kogan (cello) and Ronan O'Hora (piano), plus an illustrated talk by Patrick Bade.

Further events in the series at the 20th Century Theatre include Paris: The Age of Enlightenment with music by Marais, Rebel, Rameau, Forqueray and CPE Bach from Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord), Kati Debretzeni (violin) and Richard Boothby (gamba), plus an illustrated talk by Philipp Blom (15 October), Prague: Czech Romantics on 5 November and Schumann and Faure: Kindred Spirits (4 December)

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