Two summers ago — a time that will ever stay dear in my memory as the Summer of Schreker — I paid a visit to Mahler's composing hut, or Häuschen, in the little village of Steinbach, on the shores of the Attersee. I posted some pictures from the expedition here on the blog. As a result, I have become a sort of clearinghouse — clearing-Häuschen? — for reports on Mahler's various composing huts. The latest transmission is the most delightful yet. Tom Neenan, who teaches music at Caltech, recently dropped by the hut in sparkling sunny weather, and his pictures radiate a mood rather different from the Sturm und Drang atmosphere that prevailed in my photos (actually the work of Jeremy Eichler). The hut abuts an RV site and campground, and on the day of Neenan's visit sun-worshippers were out in force. They were apparently startled when Neenan opened the door of the Häuschen and caused the Third Symphony to blare from the speakers. If the view from inside the hut is anything like what Mahler experienced during his summers in Steinbach — and, in truth, there is so far no evidence that it is — scholars may have to reconsider their conception of the sources of Mahler's creative inspiration. A parental advisory: these images are slightly racier than the Rest Is Noise norm, so, if you have impressionable young children reading over your shoulder, cover their eyes or send them from the room.
Update: Poor Richard's Anorak notes that the Häuschen is in much better shape today than it was in 1976, when it served as a latrine. And they talk about the death of classical music!