If, at this remove, we can imagine Vienna in the late 1890s, we behold a great imperial capital in ferment. Gustav Mahler is not only reinventing the harmonic structure of serious music, he is getting his head seriously shrunk by Sigmund Freud. Arnold Schoenberg takes painting lessons from the eroticist Richard Gerstl (who will later bed the composer's wife), and new schools of thought are quickly multiplying in the coffeehouses. Vienna is the cradle of modernist architecture, psychoanalysis, and twelve-tone music, but it has also given rise to an ominous new strain of anti-Semitism. The Old Order is changing; the catastrophe of World War I appears on the... More >>>