Friedrich Kovacs (1861-1931)

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Friedrich Kovacs (1861-1931).

  • Profession: Doctor of Medicine. Cardiologist.
  • Residences: Vienna.
  • Relation to Mahler: Year 1907Health.
  • Correspondence with Mahler:
  • Born: 16-01-1861 Vienna, Austria.
  • Died: 11-02-1931 Vienna, Austria.
  • Buried: Unknown.

Friedrich Kovacs was born in Vienna and studied medicine there (1885 University of Vienna). Head physician at the Franz-Joseph-Spital from 1893. he held the same pott at the Wiener Allgemeines Krankenhaus from 1900. A diagnostician and tracher of high repute, specializing in internal medicine, he published a great deal, notably on the pathology of the circulatory system. Internist.

In 1907, Mahler’s world dramatically changed when he witnessed the death of his young daughter just five days after his 47th birthday. His wife’s subsequent collapse from exhaustion prompted a visit by the local physician.

Dr. Blumenthal reassured Frau Mahler that her health was fine. Then, as if on whim, he examined the maestro, only to discover a heart murmur, becoming the first to discover Mahler’s rheumatic valve disease.

Eventually confirmed by the famed Viennese cardiologist Friedrich Kovacs, Mahler’s diagnosis, the sounds of which likely meant mitral stenosis and regurgitation, required a strict regimen of rest.

Kovacs even forced Mahler to carry a pedometer to measure (and thus limit) his exertion. Although typical for that time, these restrictions made Mahler feel like an invalid, filling his brain with thoughts of imminent death. The result was the Ninth Symphony of 1909.

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