Gustav Mahler in Toblach
Gustav Mahler's first contact with Toblach can be traced to July 1897, when he undertook a bicycle tour from Vahrn through the Puster Valley. During the following years he returned for several "Blitzausflüge" – short excursions – in order to refresh himself mentally from his work on the 4th to 8th symphonies.
When his 4 ½-year-old daughter Maria died of scarlet fever and diphtheria in Maiernigg in July 1907, it was no accident then that he sought refuge in Schluderbach and Misurina. And eventually, during the summers of 1908 to 1910 Mahler, his wife Alma, and daughter Anna ended up staying just outside Toblach at the Trenkerhof in Alt-Schluderbach, and his third "composer's cottage" was built nearby.
There he spent, as reported by a contemporary witness, "most of the day and was not to be disturbed by anyone, not even his wife". It was there that he created his last three major works: Das Lied von der Erde (1908), the Ninth Symphony (1909), and the unfinished Tenth Symphony (1910).
In addition to his work, Mahler often walked to the center of the village of Toblach and to Aufkirchen, he went on excursions within the surrounding area, and he entertained many guests. Among them were Richard Strauss and his wife, with whom he dined at the Grand Hotel. The summer of 1910 was overshadowed by a grave marital crisis, his work interrupted by a trip to Holland to consult Sigmund Freud. On September 3, an exhausted Mahler finally departed from Toblach. It was to be his farewell, for the following May he died of bacterial endocarditis in Vienna.