Gustav Mahler and the rhythm of the heart. From disease to melody
Gustav Mahler suffered from rheumatic carditis, an inflammation of cardiac valves that may follow streptococcal infection. His heart emitted pathological murmurs that his wife Alma used to recognize even without stethoscope. His mitral valve was steno-insufficient, a condition that predisposes to bacterial endocarditis, which indeed was fatal to the musician, who died in 1911 at 51. Mahler’s weak heart can be heard in some musical passages, for example the first movement of his last finished symphony, the ninth. Paolo Fresu will show how heart rate can enter music.