Mahler from the train


As I was travelling by train between San Candido and Perca today I realised we were about to pass the famous hut where Mahler composed symphonies 9 and 10, and The Song of The Earth.

I rushed to photo it and here is the result. Despite the rubbishy phone camera, the oncoming sun and the dirty window of a clickety clack Italian train, you can just see the yellow front of Mahler’s house (now a Stube where you can eat), and to its right a small brown blob above a mound of snow. That blob is the famous composing hut. Far better to get out, as I did one summer, at Dobiacco and make the journey to the hut, which is open to the public. It’s a profound experience. Even today, with Mahler on my brain since the photo, puzzles and problems I have been wrestling with for months have found resolution. That’s the power of Mahler for you.

Meanwhile, if all you have is the train, be on the south side of the carriage and pray you don’t have low cloud or (as today) the sun in your eyes. And perhaps think twice before trying to explain to your Italian and German speaking fellow passengers the meaning of that chord in the 10th symphony. I probably only just avoided being fined and arrested. I hope Mahler would have been proud of me.


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