‘In art, as in life, I rely entirely on spontaneity. Were I obliged or compelled to compose, I know for sure that I wouldn’t be able to put a single note to paper.’ As was his wont, Gustav Mahler withdrew from his busy life as a conductor to compose in the summer of 1905. (...)
The Seventh Symphony was the final work in which Mahler led the Concertgebouw Orchestra. After a walk along the beach near Scheveningen, the composer is said to have sighed, ‘What an ugly place this is! I’ve no wish ever to return here.’ Alma would later donate Mahler’s handwritten score to Willem Mengelberg, a relic which to this day is still in the possession of the Concertgebouw.