36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 095: Death in Venice


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 95 — Death in Venice
05-November-1971 (Fri.)


At night, saw
Der Tod in Venedig, the movie about Gustav Mahler and the latter years of his life—and mostly “his love for a young boy” and his fear that he was homosexual and the tensions and sorrows of life that way. It was excellent. The emotion and music made my insides all tense; you could easily imagine what he was going through—his confusion, fear, love, inability to express himself, keeping his emotion inside. Even though the subject matter might be different, I know that I have felt the same way sometimes—something inside bothers you and you want to make it real, but you don’t.

I’ll try and see it again.


Death in Venice. Wow, this surprises me. I normally don’t get excited about a movie to that extent. Der Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice) is the title, and perhaps this movie is entirely fiction and not about Mahler. Although, I don’t remember much of the movie, I think I remember that the music soundtrack was of Mahler’s music. If so, I can guess that the powerful combination of the movie’s visuals and Mahler’s music would be moving. I remember one of the opening themes of his symphonies as the prominent theme. I wonder if it is even possible to find this movie today. Now, I’m curious and want to see the movie.

Mahler. I find it interesting that while I am in school studying music and composers, I never learned about these social and hidden aspects of composer’s lives. I suspect that it may be that these facts have not been proven totally true. They may be speculation. Here is one fact to take away from this—everyone has struggles in life. That’s a part of life. But isn’t it interesting to know that a composer like Mahler, if he had such issues, could write such immortal music? He speaks through his music. He moves forward. He goes on.

Feelings and expression. Movie aside, facing our "life" issues with a positive output (i.e. being creative) is not easy to do. Often we give up, go down a wrong path, or have feelings of hopelessness. We just have to try our best to be positive. Easier said than done. Certainly, every one of us goes through similar types of feelings for any number of reasons. Try to be positive. Don't obsess about worry. Talk with a friend and let your feelings out. Move forward. One-step-at-a-time, one foot in-front-of-the-other. Life goes on.

John's like you. Just to be down-to-earth, I don't go around smiling all the time, telling everyone how wonderful life is, and why don't they go out and enjoy the fall foliage. I don't like those people. I complain. I'm tired. I work too much. I have unfulfilled dreams. There is never enough money. I'm like you. Writing does help me to think about being more positive, though. Give it a try.

Internet enlightenment. The Internet comes to the rescue. How did we ever live without it? First, from Wikipedia—the Italian film uses the music of Mahler, including the opening Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, and other excerpts from his Third and Fourth Symphonies. While the story is not really about Mahler, the parallels are striking, especially since Mahler’s music is present. There is a good synopsis of the movie here. Oh, Venice is in a cholera epidemic.

Another movie database with information about the creators and actors of movies is the
imdb (Internet Movie Database) that also shows actor and composer information. Here is the information on Death in Venice (Morte a Venezia).

Wikipedia works on reader donations. I’ll need to donate a little, since I rely on them so heavily.


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