A Legitimate Rival to the Colossus

zemlinsky_small.jpgBY FRED KIRSHNIT [NY Sun, 8 February 2006]
Alexander von Zemlinsky was the composition teacher and most probably one of the lovers of Alma Schindler, who married Gustav Mahler, the nucleus of the Viennese musical atom. It was, in fact, Alma’s study of Bach with Zemlinsky that led Mahler to revise his compositional style back toward the more traditional, instrumentally based weltanschauung that produced Symphonies No. 5, 6, and 7. (His wife’s closeness to her mentor certainly led Mahler to mount two Zemlinsky works for the stage during his tenure at the Hofoper.)