was a viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...
-player who is best known to musicology
Musicology is the scholarly study of music. The word is used in narrow, broad and intermediate senses. In the narrow sense, musicology is confined to the music history of Western culture...
for having been a close and devoted friend of Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...
in the period between the break-up of her marriage in 1890 and the start of his to Alma Schindler in 1902. During this period, she kept a private journal which provides a unique picture of Mahler's personal, professional and creative life during and just after his thirties, including an exclusive preview of the structure, form, and content of his third symphony
The Symphony No. 3 by Gustav Mahler was written between 1893 and 1896. It is his longest piece and is the longest symphony in the standard repertoire, with a typical performance lasting around ninety to one hundred minutes.- Structure :...
Natalie Bauer-Lechner was the eldest child of three born to a Viennese bookshop owner; she was educated privately and ultimately studied at the Vienna Conservatory. It was at the Conservatoire that she met Mahler for the first time: though she had graduated in 1872 and Mahler was a student from 1875–1878, she appears to have been able to use the Conservatoire's facilities while her sister Ellen was still a student there.
As a professional musician, Natalie Bauer-Lechner became viola-player of the all-female Soldat-Röger String Quartet, whose leader was the Joachim
Joseph Joachim was a Hungarian violinist, conductor, composer and teacher. A close collaborator of Johannes Brahms, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant violinists of the 19th century.-Origins:...
-pupil Maria Soldat-Röger
Marie Soldat-Roeger was a virtuoso violinist active in orchestral and chamber music in the Vienna of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century...
. Being a trained professional musician, Natalie Bauer-Lechner was better equipped than many another person would have been to grasp the technical and aesthetic content of Mahler's conversation -- and the fact that she was clearly besotted with him meant that his numerous statements on music, literature, philosophy and life are frequently recorded at some length and apparently verbatim. While Mahler may well have known that "dear, merry old Natalie" was keeping a record of what he said and did, and might therefore have seen her as a valuable ally in carrying his views to the future, the fact remains that he could find her attentions oppressive or irksome: in the summer of 1894 he specifically requested that she not be invited to join his family on holiday.
In her later years, Natalie Bauer-Lechner became an outspoken feminist, and in 1918 appears to have written an article on war and the need for female suffrage which led to her arrest and imprisonment. The experience seems to have precipitated a collapse in her health. She died in poverty.
The publication history of her principal work is complicated. The source is a bulky collection of notes entitled Mahleriana
, apparently deriving from some thirty diaries which no longer exist. During her life, brief extracts were published in two journals: anonymously in 'Der Merker' (April 1913), and under her own name in 'Musikblätter des Anbruch' (April 1920). Erinnerungen an Gustav Mahler
was published in 1923, and represents an edited selection from the available materials -- as does the later English volume Recollections of Gustav Mahler
Currently owned by Mahler-scholar Henry-Louis de La Grange
Henry-Louis de La Grange is a musicologist and biographer of Gustav Mahler.-Biography:Henry-Louis de La Grange was born in Paris of an American mother and a French father, , who was a senator, one-time government minister, and Vice-President of the International Aviation Federation...
, the Mahleriana
manuscript is not intact: numerous pages have been torn out by unknown hands, and there is no indication of what they might have contained. During her life, Natalie Bauer-Lechner was in the habit of loaning her manuscript to friends and acquaintances (E.H. Gombrich reports that his parents had it in their possession for some time), and it is presumably this practice that allowed material to be removed.
A collection of notes recording conversations with Mahler's long-standing friend Siegfried Lipiner
Siegfried Salomo Lipiner was an Austrian writer and poet whose works made an impression on Richard Wagner and Friedrich Nietzsche, but who published nothing after 1880 and lived out his life as Librarian of Parliament in Vienna...
is understood to have once existed among her papers. Its current whereabouts are unknown.