Alma Rose: Vienna to Auschwitz

By Richard Newman; Karen Kirtley | Go to book overview

5

Waltzing

Alma was a tremendous rarity. Women simply did not do what Alma was doing in those days. -- Ingeborg Tonneyck-Müller

Alma was ecstatic when she and Váša were able to travel together. Soon after their marriage they toured Poland, and the following spring they were on the French Riviera. In Nice Alma visited Louis Gutmann, formerly Bruno Walter's secretary and a family friend who had moved from Vienna to the south of France. On a postcard to Dory Hetherington dated March 1931, Gutmann wrote: "Imagine the fun to meet our dear little Alma. Her husband met with tremendous success." Alma also scrawled a bright greeting: "I'm traveling all the time, touring with my husband, and my head is filled up as you can imagine."

After one Italian engagement, a critic wrote of Váša, "What technique!" and of Alma, "What sensitivity!" More than once, reviewers noted the unusually sweet sound Příhoda could produce and commented that Alma's playing was "more manly" than her husband's. Alma was not displeased by the comment but found it puzzling. Was Arnold's technique "manly"? If so, she was proud of the description.

On a solo excursion to Regensburg, Alma gave a concert on 8 November 1931, playing a Sunday matinée at the Stadttheater. One reviewer began with a familiar comment:

Alma Příhoda-Rosébears a heavy load of great names, and only if you relieve her of this burden and keep an open mind can you do her justice. . . . In which case you will encounter a violinist highly trained to master her instrument who gives its tone a softly feminine charm and who, moreover, is equipped with an amazing technique.

Her great strength lies in a certain carefree musicianship, and for this reason, she is most successful with those works which lend them-

-69-

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Alma Rose: Vienna to Auschwitz
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • Editor's Note 15
  • Prologue: Alma Maria Rosé 17
  • 1 - Musical Royalty: the Background 19
  • 2 - A Fine Musical Nursery 32
  • 3 - War 42
  • 4 - Double-Edged Sword 53
  • 5 - Waltzing 69
  • 6 - Blood and Honor 84
  • 7 - Anschluss 90
  • 8 - Black Wednesday 102
  • 9 - Another Blow 115
  • 10 - The Need to Sacrifice 124
  • 11 - Rebirth 135
  • 12 - Musical Fortress 156
  • 13 - Council of War 174
  • 14 - Flight 188
  • 15 - Enter Alois Brunner 199
  • 16 - Instant Nightmare 211
  • 17 - Mandel's Mascots 226
  • 18 - The Music Block 249
  • 19 - Escape into Excellence 260
  • 20 - The Orchestra Girls 278
  • 21 - Frau Alma 287
  • 22 - Death in the Revier 298
  • 23 - Reverberations 310
  • Epilogue: Memories of Alma 325
  • Notes 329
  • Interviews and Major Sources 357
  • Bibliograpby 362
  • The Women's Orchestra of Auschwitz-Birkenau 378
  • Camp Glossary 384
  • Index 389
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