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Gustav Mahler completed his Lied von der Erde, one of the greatest pieces of music, in Hodonín, Czech Republic, in 1909. This fact is widely unknown, and efforts are being started to remember this. Mahler as the European composer may serve as "guide" on the way of the Czech Republic to the European Union.

Born in Kaliste in Bohemia, he was raised in Jihlava, Moravia, studied in Vienna and worked later in Ljubljana, Olomouc, Hamburg, Budapest, Prague, New York etc. 1897 - 1907, he was Court Opera Director in Vienna. His most fervent supporters and friends were Dutch musicians and Dutch public, and, in Paris, the so-called Dreyfus-Quartett of later minister Clemenceau who also helped in founding Czechoslovakia.

No other orchestra in the world has such a strong Mahler tradition like the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. Today, friends of the Czech Republic from the Dutch Gustav Mahler Society are wondering that the Czechs are not more proud of Mahler!

Therefore, our idea is to install a plate in Hodonín telling that, in the Redlich Villa, Mahler finished the Lied von der Erde. Another idea is to have the work performed in Hodonín by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra which Mahler himself had conducted different times. Also, a small exhibition on Mahler in Hodonín may be added to the Masaryk-Museum . In her memoirs, Alma Mahler-Werfel recalls that, in 1945, it was Jan Masaryk who read a text by Franz Werfel on Gustav Mahler at a New York radio station. Later, he became a close friend of the family and visited them many times in Beverly Hills, California.

After Masaryk was assassinated in 1948, Arturo Toscanini used to conduct Vltava every 10th of March to remember this great Czech politician. The link "Gustav Mahler - Tomás Garrigue Masaryk - Alma Mahler-Werfel - Jan Masaryk" is exciting and also quite typical for our project.

Milan Kundera's definition of Central Europe as the country where Jews acted as a link between different cultures should be pointed out as well: when Mahler finished the Lied in 1909, Hodonín was 8% Jewish.

 pv / hagalil.com / 03-12-2001


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