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B’nai Sholom to Screen “Mahler on the Couch,” Fictional Imagining of a True Dark Love Story

B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany will host a screening of “Mahler on the Couch,” a fictional imagining of the real-life marriage of Gustav Mahler and his tempestuous wife Alma Schindler Mahler in turn-of-the-century Vienna, and a discussion led by music professor and B’nai Sholom congregant Dr. Nancy Newman.

The program will take place Saturday, October 19, at 7:30 p.m. at B’nai Sholom, 420 Whitehall Road, Albany.  Refreshments will be available.  Suggested contribution: $3.

Directed by Percy Adlon and Felix Adlon, “Mahler on the Couch” is in German with English subtitles.

Chafing under her agreement to give up her own musical ambitions, Alma (Barbara Romaner) seeks passion in the arms of the young, dashing architect Walter Gropius (Friedrich Mücke).  Devastated and confused by the discovery of his wife’s passionate affair, Gustav (Johannes Silberschneider) travels to Holland to consult with Sigmund Freud (Kark Markovics), who is on vacation in Leiden.  Feeling humiliated and betrayed, Mahler initially refuses the couch, but when Freud wheels a camp bed into the room, he has no choice.  Fiery yet full of humor, their encounter stretches into the night as Mahler vividly recounts his seduction of Alma, 19 years his junior, the beautiful darling of Vienna’s arts scene.  Moving and funny, the Adlons’ award-winning 2010 film is filled with Mahler’s sublime music.

“Mahler on the Couch” has been provided by The National Center for Jewish Film (

Musicologist Newman is an associate professor at the University at Albany, where she teaches classes on art music and popular culture.  Her book, Good Music for a Free People: The Germania Musical Society in Nineteenth-Century America was published by the University of Rochester Press in 2010.  She also has written on the film musicals The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T and Dancer in the Dark.  Newman has received fellowships and awards for her research from the American Musicological Society, American Antiquarian Society, Music Library Association, AMS­New England and John Nicholas Brown Center at Brown University.  An active performer of electro­acoustic music for piano and other keyboards, Newman has performed as a member of several West African drumming and Indonesian gamelan ensembles.

For more information, visit  or contact the B’nai Sholom office at 518-482-5283 or e-mail

Founded in 1971, B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany is a home for contemporary Reform Judaism in the Capital Region.  Nearly 160 diverse households from six counties seek religious, educational and social fulfillment at B’nai Sholom.

Image credit: The National Center for Jewish Film

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