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The final movement culminates in a resolution. The music, also reused in the First Symphony (in the Scherzo “Funeral March in Callot’s manner”), is subdued and gentle, lyrical and often reminiscent of a chorale in its harmonies. Its title, “Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz” (“The Two Blue Eyes of my Beloved”), deals with how the image of tho…
 
Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children) is a song cycle for voice and orchestra by Gustav Mahler. The words of the songs are poems by Friedrich Ruckert (1788-1866). The original Kindertotenlieder were a group of 428 poems written by Rückert in 1833-1834 in an outpouring of grief following the illness (scarlet fever) and death of two of h…
 
Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) is a composition for two voices and orchestra by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). Composed between Year 1908 and Year 1909 following the most painful period in Mahler’s life (Year 1907). The songs address themes such as Living, Parting and Salvation. Mahler had already included movements for voice and orchest…
 
The final movement is nearly as long as the previous five movements combined. Its text is drawn from two different poems, both involving the theme of leave-taking. Mahler himself added the last lines. This final song is also notable for its text-painting, using a mandolin to represent the singer’s lute, imitating bird calls with woodwinds, and repe…
 
The second scherzo of the work is provided by the fifth movement. Like the first, it opens with a horn theme. In this movement Mahler uses an extensive variety of key signatures, which can change as often as every few measures. The middle section features a solo violin and solo flute, which represent the bird the singer describes. --- A listening g…
 
The music of this movement is mostly soft and legato, meditating on the image of some 'young girls picking lotus flowers at the riverbank'. Later in the movement there is a louder, more articulated section in the brass as the young men ride by on their horses. There is a long orchestral postlude to the sung passage, as the most beautiful of the you…
 
The third movement is the most obviously pentatonic and faux-Asian. The form is ternary, the third part being a greatly abbreviated revision of the first. It is also the shortest of the six movements, and can be considered a first scherzo. First this movement was called ‘Der Pavillon aus Porzellan’ (‘The pavilion made of porcelain’). --- A listenin…
 
This movement is a much softer, less turbulent movement. Marked ‘somewhat dragging and exhausted’, it begins with a repetitive shuffling in the strings, followed by solo wind instruments. The orchestration in this movement is sparse and chamber music-like, with long and independent contrapuntal lines. The lyrics, which are based on the first part o…
 
The first movement continually returns to the refrain, Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod (literally, 'Dark is life, is death'), which is pitched a semitone higher on each successive appearance. Like many drinking poems by Li Bai, the original poem 'Bei Ge Xing' (a pathetic song) mixes drunken exaltation with a deep sadness. The singer's part is not…
 
The final song, “Selbstgefühl” (My mood), starts with a dynamic of forte. To maintain a high level of playfulness, the tubist must observe the strict dynamic indications. Mahler indicated that the octave in the left hand of the piano part can be omitted throughout the song if the additional low notes create too thick of a texture in this register. …
 
Balancing the soft low texture with piano remains one of the main challenges for tubists in the penultimate song in this collection, “Nicht wiedersehen!” (Never to meet again). It is scored very low on the piano and would be easy to lose the melody inside of the harmony of the accompaniment. Mahler instructs the pianist to use the pedals freely, ho…
 
“Scheiden und Meiden” (Partings) explores the metric juxtaposition of two versus three used in “Ablösung im Sommer.” “Trumpetlike” is the first expression in the music as F major arpeggios rise from the tuba and piano. Despite the repeated ascending passages, the first dynamic is piano so the tubist should strive to be precise to start with soft dy…
 
Misprints are rare, but this song contains one incorrect note in the piano part. In measure 3 of the IMC edition, the first left hand note should be A instead of F. Few instances exist where Mahler uses a hemiola effect in the piano. Measures 10 and 11 are a wonderful example of this effect, where the pianist can bring out the left hand duple feel …
 
The tenth song in this collection, “Zu Strassburg auf der Schanz” (At Strasbourg on the battlement), starts with a very colorful piano entrance marked “as a folk tune” and “imitating the shawm.” As Donald Mitchell points out, this is of a type very characteristic of Mahler in his vocal as well as symphonic output: the slow farewell song or funeral …
 
One of the challenges with the ninth song in this collection, “Starke Einbildungskraft” (Strong imagination), concerns clarity of articulation. Sixteenth-note passages sound unclear with the piano part due to the imbalance of lower tones produced by both the piano and tuba. Changes have been notated in the tuba version to reflect these issues of cl…
 
The majority of the songs in this collection begin with very soft dynamics. Eleven of the fourteen songs begin with the dynamic of piano, one song begins at pianissimo, and the remaining two songs (this song and the last song in the collection) begin at the dynamic of forte. The tubist should take advantage of this diversity of dynamics and style. …
 
“I went joyfully through a green wood,” is a beautiful slow melody challenging the tubist to keep a consistent color of sound in the low register of the bass tuba. The first note is the lowest in the entire collection, a low G. Fingered 2-3-4-5 on a German Rotary F tuba, this pitch is a whole step above the fundamental of the instrument and somewha…
 
This song is the first of the Wunderhorn Lieder for Voice and Piano. It is titled “Um sclimme Kinder artig zu machen” (To make bad children good) and is much longer than any from the previous collection. The quick and witty style will challenge the novice tubist with soft dynamics and repeated articulations. “To teach naughty children to be good”. …
 
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (‘Songs of a Wayfarer’) is a song cycle by Gustav Mahler on his own texts. The cycle of four Lieder for low voice (often performed by women as well as men) was written around 1884-1885 in the wake of Mahler’s unhappy love for soprano Johanna Richter (1858-1943), whom he met while conductor of the opera house in Kasse…
 
The final movement culminates in a resolution. The music, also reused in the First Symphony (in the Scherzo “Funeral March in Callot’s manner”), is subdued and gentle, lyrical and often reminiscent of a chorale in its harmonies. Its title, “Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz” (“The Two Blue Eyes of my Beloved”), deals with how the image of tho…
 
The third movement is a full display of despair. Entitled “Ich hab’ein glühend Messer” (“I Have a Gleaming Knife”), the Wayfarer likens his agony of lost love to having an actual metal blade piercing his heart. He obsesses to the point where everything in the environment reminds him of some aspect of his love, and he wishes he actually had the knif…
 
The second movement, “Ging heut Morgen übers Feld” (“I Went This Morning over the Field”), contains the happiest music of the work. Indeed, it is a song of joy and wonder at the beauty of nature in simple actions like birdsong and dew on the grass. “Is it not a lovely world?” is a refrain. However, the Wayfarer is reminded at the end that despite t…
 
The first movement is entitled “Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht” (“When My Sweetheart is Married”), and the text discusses the Wayfarer’s grief at losing his love to another. He remarks on the beauty of the surrounding world, but how that cannot keep him from having sad dreams. The orchestral texture is bittersweet, using double reed instruments, c…
 
Das klagende Lied is a work in which Mahler comes closest to the opera. This is because the composition is pervaded by drama and its elaboration in a text that regularly gets the character of a theatrically very effective dialogue. Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was fourteen years old when his younger brother Ernst Mahler (1862-1875) died. The loss touc…
 
On the day that the minstrel arrives at the castle there is just a party going on for the occasion of the upcoming wedding of the queen and the eldest brother. The murderer is pale and feels guilty about the way he earned his royal engagement. The minstrel plays the flute and the song of the murdered brother, the complaining song, sounds. The eldes…
 
A minstrel that runs through the forest finds a bone under a tree, and cuts a flute. When he plays the flute, the voice of the murdered youngest brother, who tells the story of his unfortunate death, sounds. The minstrel feels that he can not leave this story untold and goes on his way to the castle to reveal the true nature of the queen’s fiancée.…
 
A beautiful, but proud queen would like to get married but do not know who. She conceives of a competition: the man who first brings her the very special flower that grows in the forest may marry her. Many men from the kingdom accept the challenge, including two brothers. The eldest brother is brave, mean and reckless, the youngest brother kind, ge…
 
Um Mitternacht moves from the most brilliant day to deepest night, and the change is once more immediately apparent in its coloration. Mahler calls for an orchestra without strings. In addition to pairs of woodwinds (with a single oboe d’amore replacing the usual oboes), three horns, two trumpets, three trombones, a single tuba, and timpani, both h…
 
The poetic theme of “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen,” one of Mahler’s most beautiful and moving songs, is again unusual. It evokes the peace achieved through the poet’s withdrawal from the everyday turmoil of the world and his absorption in the most meaningful and central aspects of his life: his heaven, his life, and his song. (By implication …
 
Rückert-Lieder is a song cycle of five Lieder for voice and orchestra or piano by Gustav Mahler, based on poems written by Friedrich Ruckert (1788-1866). Lied Ruckert 1: Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder Lied Ruckert 2: Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft! Lied Ruckert 3: Um Mitternacht Lied Ruckert 4: Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen Lied Ruckert 5: Liebs…
 
Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft is perhaps unique in musically evoking a fragrance, the delicate fragrance of the lime tree with which the poet associates his love. The color of the setting is still more transparent, and much brighter than “Blicke mir nicht.” The orchestration again consists of single winds, horn and harp, but only violins and violas …
 
Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder explores a more unusual theme. It warns the listener not to be too inquisitive about the process of creation, and suggests that the poet does not trust himself to inquire too much: only the finished work counts, not how it was achieved. The analogy made with the work of bees in the second stanza provides Mahler with t…
 
The most traditional of the songs was the last composed, “Liebst du um Schönheit.” It is the most clearly strophic in form, with the four stanzas presented in pairs, with a very brief orchestral interlude in the middle. The first three stanzas are clear variants of one another. The fourth begins as if it were to continue in the same pattern, but un…
 
Revelge is the most intense and manic of the Wunderhorn settings, and also by far the most extended. It is a persistent march of a magnitude matching the great march movements of the symphonies. The speaker is a fallen drummer boy whose comrades pass him by on the march and leave him for dead. For most of the song, a persistent military rhythm in t…
 
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