Memories of Marianne Trenker

In the summer months of 1908-1910, Gustav Mahler rented part of the Trenkerhof and had a wooden house built in the nearby spruce forest, which he would use for composing.
An essay by Marianne Trenker, the adopted daughter of the Trenker family, who in 1938 recorded vivid memories of Mahler from this period. These memoires are likely to have originated from stories told by the maid, Jesacher Maria, who worked at the Trenkerhof during Mahler's time there.

"Over three years, Gustav Mahler spent his summer holidays with his family at the beautiful Altschluderbach farm, which is located in an idyllic setting near the edge of the forest. In the summer of 1907, Gustav Mahler was in Neuschluderbach, now Carbonin. Gustav Mahler must have noticed the scenic, quiet location of our house during a walk, and so in the spring of 1908 he rented the apartment, where his widow still lived in 1911. The old, castle-like apartment is large and spacious, with ten rooms and a beautiful enclosed veranda. The house is one of Toblach's historic manors and dates back to Maximilian's time. In the large salon, the von Leis family coat of arms can be seen on the ceiling. Five minutes away from the house, in a quiet spruce grove, is a simple summer cottage that was Gustav Mahler's actual place of work. Three pianos would be brought to the cottage every spring. He spent most of the day there and was not to be disturbed by anyone, not even his wife. Early in the morning, breakfast had to be ready: tea, coffee, butter, honey, eggs, pastries, fruit and poultry.
Master Mahler would leave for work as early as six o'clock in the morning. The cottage came complete with a stove, which he would light himself and cook his breakfast on. The cottage had to be surrounded by a 1 and 1⁄2 m high fence within a radius of 1 km. Despite this, two journeymen once climbed over the fence and pestered the famous composer, begging him for money. Now the fence had to be fitted with spikes. On one occasion, a vulture chased a raven and it flew into Mahler's study, looking for shelter. The Master complained bitterly to old man Trenker, the proprietor of Altschluderbach, about the insolent intruder. Mr. Trenker laughed in his face and Gustav Mahler had to laugh along. On another occasion, the rooster upset him by waking him from his morning slumber with its cock-a-doodle-doo. "Can you train a rooster not to crow in the morning?" asked the Master. "Oh yes", said Mr. Trenker, "You just wring its neck!" but Gustav Mahler did not want to know about that either. In his dealings with people, he was kind-hearted and jovial. He would often tell us how, as one of many children from a poor family, he would live for days on just a piece of bread so that he could pay for his studies. He would gather poor journeymen together on the street, provide them with clothing and money so that they could find a job more easily; they no doubt thanked him for his generosity, even beyond the grave.
Gustav Mahler received many guests, among them Selma Kurz, a famous singer. He was once among his wife's guests, who apparently did not like him very much. Suddenly he gets up and starts gesticulating, saying: "Vienna is full of louts, perhaps there are even some among us?" One of my earliest childhood memories is of being able to picture Gustav Mahler exactly, with his ruffled hair, plain work suit and distinctive gait. We have an autographed photo of him, which we hold very dear; it is a cherished souvenir of the great composer."