23 December: Mahler’s healthy lifestyle

Every day throughout Advent, the season of overindulgence, we’ll be telling a tale of an overindulgent composer

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Composer: Mahler

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How indulgent: Careful not to be

How: Mahler, a huge admirer of Wagner, went one step further by actually adopting vegetarianism in practice, as well as in principle. Eating out with friends one evening, the composer rejected all the more substantial meat dishes on offer, instead choosing spinach and apples! He would breakfast on diet bread with milk, butter and jam, served alongside a cup of coffee. He once remarked that, as a result of vegetarianism, he expected ‘nothing less than the regeneration of mankind’. That put you in your place with that huge turkey, didn’t it?

Did you know: Mahler also had a fondness for pastries. When he was told that a friend disliked Viennese apricot dumplings, he exclaimed, ‘What! Is there a Viennese to whom Marillenknödel means nothing?’

Now indulge yourself with…..  Erinnerung, Lieder und Gesänge

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The second song in this collection of songs for voice and piano translates as ‘Memory’, which seems fitting for a reflective time of year.