Gustav Mahler and Anton Krisper


  • Primož Kuret



When studying at the Conservatorium in Vienna Gustav Mahler became friends with Anton Krisper, of Ljubljana. Krisper (1858–1914) is generally taken to have been a highly gifted and extremely sensitive character. In 1879 and 1880 Mahler wrote six letters to Krisper, at that time not yet twenty years old. These letters are important because they contain Mahler's communication concerning his work and plans (Rübezahl, a fairy-tale play; a Nordische Symphonie; both of them later destroyed) and reveal his impassioned disposition, filled with poetry. Later on Anton Krisper went to Leipzig to study there philosophy and then mining engineering. He is often quoted in connection with an opera (probably Zlatorog) that possible had its first premiere in Prague – but evidence for this is lacking. Later on he wrote a treatise entitled "Die Kunstmusik in ihrem Prinzip, ihrer Entwicklung und ihrer Konsequenz bzw. Die Musiksysteme in ihren Prinzipien". In his Musiklexicon Hugo Riemann characterises it as "a very interesting historical-theoretical study on harmonic-dualistic basis". In all likelihood it was Krisper who persuaded Mahler to decide and come to Ljubljana. Here he was in the 1881-82 season the conductor at the Ljubljana theatre. Since that time no more relations between the two friends can be traced. Krisper died in a mental hospital at Feldhof near Graz in 1914 and was burried in Ljubljana.


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1. 12. 1981




How to Cite

Kuret, P. (1981). Gustav Mahler and Anton Krisper. Musicological Annual, 17(2), 77-83.