5b 1908 TO LIVE FOR YOU, FOR YOU
ALMA and KLIMT at a spa near Vienna.
KLIMT (at the window) Alma! Dearest Alma! What a surprise!
ALMA Ah Klimt! What are you doing here? Have you been sent to spy on me?!
KLIMT Alma, please! – Wouldn't you like to come in for a cup of tea? I've got a surprise for you!
Klimt follows her from the staircase into the room.
ALMA What kind of surprise? – What's that? What have you got there?
ALMA (takes the sheet music) Where did you get this?
KLIMT It was in my mail. He sent it to me. It's your handwriting, isn't it? I thought I'd bring it over.
KLIMT It's good stuff. You're talented.
ALMA I was talented. Maybe. Who can say now? No-one will ever know.
KLIMT Try At least , won't you?
ALMA It’s impossible--
KLIMT Why? Start composing-- it will come back to you. You’re still young. You are meant to be an artist, Alma! You must not throw away yourself to the garbage. The day you stopped composing you lost your voice, you hear me?!! You lost your whole existence…!
ALMA I can’t compose any more.
ALMA You can't just throw away something that's God-given. It's dead. Suffocated. Aborted.
KLIMT What are you talking about-- ?
ALMA Nothing in particular. At first, after we married, I still had melodies in my head. They would burst out spontaneously. I had to suppress them. I stifled them, many times. I had to restrain myself to keep from jumping to the piano, stop myself from ripping open the lid and throwing myself at the keys! Black, white, black, white...! to keep myself from to writing down the music that was playing inside me. It was terribly cruel. But as time passed it became easier to repress it all. It was a slow death. Yes, it was like a living death. But over time, I got used to it.
KLIMT You got used to it?
ALMA Astonishingly. Yes. The girls were born, I became pregnant, the music was forgotten. And he wrote his “Songs of the Death of Children”- Why did he have to challenge fate? –And then came the punishment! Putzi's death... The reprisal, and that was not enough! Gustav's heart disease... the animosity we encountered in Vienna... The conspiracies at the Opera... the disgrace, the filth, the scorn. But you know all that. You can hear it in the Sixth (plays on the piano, then stops). They fought against him, even resorting to knives, they bled him dry. Until we could take no more. We surrendered. Austria! (laughs bitterly). Do you remember, how you all stood there, on the platform? To bid us farewell? That was bitter.
KLIMT Why was it bitter?
ALMA I was the only one who stood by his side like a rock-- you friends never showed up until he resigned-- then you emerged all of sudden -- a bunch of hypocrites-- coming to the railway station-- to fill the wagon with flowers-- I thought: “Now you come? Where were you when they attacked us-- and Gustav needed a kind word? Now it’s too late—
KLIMT I know. I'm sorry. I understand . But isn't it always too late? Whatever one does, is usually too late ...
ALMA I don’t blame you. I just blame myself for still being alive.
KLIMT What has he done to you?
ALMA I had my compensation. New York, the Metropolitan. The honour, the success... Hotels, trains, ocean liners, nocturnal balls, the journeys! Life was overflowing, a full life so to speak. Meeting the leading musicians, the greatest conductors. Paris, St. Petersburg, New York. Time galloped along like a film loop always moving forward ! And I… all those years… When was I supposed to think of my own music? I didn’t write a single note of my own. I only copied Gustav’s Hundreds of manuscript pages, thousands of notes... But unfortunately they weren't my own.
KLIMT But he did have your songs published. He even performed them in New York!
ALMA By then it was too late. I didn't even attend the performance. it would just have been a high -class funeral. And I don't go to funerals, you know that.
KLIMT Yes, I know. I hope you’ll come to mine at least…
MUSIC: Klimt switches on Alma’s song “Hymne”.
ALMA That is MY song!!! – (after having listened a while:) What choice did I have but to remain silent? Eight years of silence… how can you ask me to return to composing? I don’t hear my own voice any more… even my hearing has deteriorated! Or maybe it was the alcohol…?
KLIMT I wonder what would have happened to me if I'd been forbidden to work. I think I'd have gone insane.
ALMA Who says I'm not insane?
KLIMT What do you mean?
ALMA Well, why do you think I'm here?
KLIMT At the sanatorium? I thought you were here to get some rest ...
ALMA Not exactly . It's called therapy.
ALMA I'm not sick; what's sick is the life I lead. Lying makes you sick. There was a moment when I wanted to vanish - just vanish, you know what I mean? Last year-- when we were in New York-- one night-- I stood in the window of our hotel room--... I saw the lights of Manhattan-- It was February ... And it was cold. he was conducting at the Metropolitan—and I opened the window ... the air was bitingly cold ... clear as glass ... And I watched the life below me. What passes for life ... Down there in the streets people celebrated their young lives -- and I stood in the open window-- watching them from my prison-- from my frozen life—and I took no joy in it ... not in anything ... I stood up there and I watched ... I was empty ... I stood at the window half the night ... But I didn't have the strength ... the strength to take one small step ... I don’t know what keeps me alive--
KLIMT Why didn't you say anything all those years? Why didn't you speak to him?
ALMA How could I? He'd set his terms, and I'd accepted them. I paid the price. I'm not complaining.
KLIMT That's not human. You had a voice. A gentle, tender voice. You had a voice that once sand in your soul. It sang about people you loved, new-born feelings, the grief of parting. You had a voice that mourned the death of beloved friends. There is not much else worth talking about. You had a voice that knew how to sing about those things. It was your responsibility to protect that voice. Not to let strange hands defile it. But you didn't nurture your voice. You let it wither stifled within you ---
ALMA I chose a path, and I followed it to the end. When I make a decision, it's irrevocable.
KLIMT Why ?
ALMA That's how I am.
the secret of love,
feel constant hunger
and eternal thirst.
The divine meaning of
is a mystery to earthly minds
But who has ever
Drawn in the breath of life
From hot, beloved lips,
whose heart has been melted in quivering waves
by a holy fervour,
whose eyes have been opened
so as to measure the fathomless depths of Heaven,
will eat from His body
and drink from His blood
Who has divined the higher meaning
of our earthly flesh?
Who can say
that he understands the blood?
Once all is flesh,
The blessed couple bathes
in heavenly blood.
Oh, that the world's ocean
would turn red,
and that the rock would bring forth
The sweet feast would never end,
love would never be satiated.
Love can never be
deep enough, nor intimate enough.
That which we relish is transformed by
ever more tender lips
to become ever deeper, ever closer.
More ardent lust
trembles through the soul,
the heart becomes
still thirstier and hungrier.
And so, love's pleasure endures
From eternity to eternity.
I had a voice-- a gentle-- tender voice-- that used to sing in my soul-- it sang about people I loved-- new-born feelings -- the grief of parting -- I had a voice that mourned beloved friends who had died-- there are not many other things worth talking about-- I had a voice that knew how to sing about things like that those —and it was my responsibility to safeguard my voice-- not to let strange hands touch it-- but I didn't protect my voice-- a man came who said that because he loved me- I would have to silence my voice-- listen only to his -- because it was stronger-- and that he would speak for me-- and I-- instead of telling that man-- get out of my way-- I don’t want to hear your voice-- I said I agree—and to this day my voice is stifled inside me-- broken- torn-- shattered — like a mirror that doesn't reflect who I am anymore. !
KLIMT Unless you open your mouth one day— and try it. Try it...! But don't let it shock you. Because a cry of despair will come out-- the likes of which the world has never heard-
ALMA You make me sick...!
KLIMT You are sick!
ALMA (on her way to the bedroom for “Post Coitus”:) Oh, Walter, I’m burning for your naked body to lie at my side, with nothing to separate us but sleep! Come, my love! I I live only for the time when I’ll be completely yours! Your wife. My Walter – from you I want a child – to cherish and nurture – until the day comes when we can be united and drown in each others' arms without remorse. Your spirit and my body — such dual perfection will surely engender a demigod. I want to have you over me again, physically, inside me! I want to see you like your god created you – for only a god can produce such a creature. I want your beauty to melt inside me! I ache for your embraces! I'll never forget the touch of your hand on my most intimate parts. You sent fire and joy flowing through me. Yes, it is possible to be entirely happy, there is such a thing as perfect joy. In your arms I've known it. One little nuance more, and I would have become a god. Everything about you is holy to me. I want to kneel down and kiss your loins - kiss everything. Everything! Amen!