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Gasthof Föttinger

Gustav Mahler enjoyed his stay at the lake Attersee at the inn Foettinger in Steinbach!

Der alte Gasthof zum Höllengebirge

The old inn "Gasthof zum Höllengebirge" at Steinbach am Attersee, owned by Miss Anna Scheicher (minor, later married with Mr. F. Föttinger) managed by Mr. Johann Danbauer as trustee, was an ideal holiday resort for Gustav Mahler.

pictures: small composing cottage, old inn "Gasthof zum Höllengebirge"

There, Mahler spent the summers of the years 1893, 1894, 1895 and 1896 with his younger sisters Justine and Ema, his brother Otto and Mrs Nathalie Bauer-Lechner. They took on five rooms with seperate kitchen and spacious terraces which gave them the feeling as if they were in a private house. Mahler earned later the title "vacation-composer" as he was certainly unable to indulge in major symphonic work during the theater season. At Steinbach Mahler stood up early in the morning and started to work at his room. After dinner and midday nap they often took a walk or ride their bicycles. Moreover Mahler visited regularly friends at Unterrach, Nußdorf or Seewalchen by taking the ship. At each of his promenades he wrote down new ideas and impressions in his small music book which he got directly from the nature.

Although Mahler had an extrmely prolific summer, he still was not content with his working conditions as tourist and guests of the inn often disturbed his concentration and Mahler needed quiet and seclusion when he was listening to the musical ideas in his mind. Thus Mahler hit upon the obvious idea of having a cottage built at the board of the lake. He was convinced to find there the quiet and seclusion he needed for composing. The following three summers the small composing cottage was an ideal surrounding for composing. Here Mahler incorporated the meadow with the flowers situated between the lake and the inn, the animals at the forest, the forbidding rocky walls of the Höllengebirge, in short, the entire landscape around the Attersee, into his music.

On June 27th 1896, Mahler said to Nathalie Bauer-Lechner:"I never thought I`d put the Höllengebirge into my pocket! Now I`ve really made all of Steinbach my own."

On a walk with his friend Bruno Walter at Steinbach, Mahler said: "No need to look there any more - that`s all been used up and set to music by me"

All these statements demonstrate Mahler`s close personal attachment to the Attersee landscape. The inn`s new tenants caused so many problems, that Mahler decided with a heavy heart not to return to his affable Steinbach. He left the Attersee at the end of August 1896 for ever.

Link to the Hotel-Attersee "Foettinger" where Gustav Mahler lived

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