When Mahler Met Freud
On what would have been Sigmund Freud's 157th birthday today, we're reminded of the little-known meeting between the father of psychoanalysis and our own one-time Music Director Gustav Mahler (whose music reveled in angst and conflict).
The two titans of Austrian culture had a session in 1910, the year before Mahler’s death, when the composer was at a particularly low point, grappling with the knowledge of his wife’s attraction to a younger man and the death of his beloved four-and-a-half-year-old daughter a few years prior. The two spoke over a four-hour walk during their first and only meeting. Freud is reported to have remarked later on that Mahler (who one said “My need to express myself musically — symphonically — begins at the point where the dark feelings hold sway, at the door which leads to the other world — the world in which things are no longer separated by time and space.”) possessed an insight into psychoanalysis like no other.