Private meeting. Only four people present. Alma Mahler (1879-1964) is pregnant. But that is not clear yet. Friends of the couple were surprised by the marriage and dubious of its wisdom. Max Burckhardt (1854-1912) called Gustav Mahler “that rachitic degenerate Jew”, unworthy for such a good-looking girl of good family. On the other hand, Mahler’s family considered Alma Schindler to be flirtatious, unreliable, and too fond of seeing young men fall for her charms. Mahler was by nature moody and authoritarian – Natalie Bauer-Lechner (1858-1921), his earlier partner – said that living with him was “like being on a boat that is ceaselessly rocked to and from by the waves”. Alma soon became resentful that, on Mahler’s insistence that there could only be one composer in the family, she had given up her music studies. She wrote in her diary: “How hard it is to be so mercilessly deprived of … things closest to one’s heart”. Mahler’s requirement that their married life be organised around his creative activities imposed strains, and precipitated rebellion on Alma’s part; the marriage was nevertheless marked at times by expressions of considerable passion, particularly from Mahler.