Classical Gilbert Podcast - Songs of a Wayfarer - Gustav Mahler


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Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen ('Songs of a Wayfarer') is Gustav Mahler's first song cycle. While he had previously written other lieder, those were not grouped by common theme, rather by composition date. The cycle, for low voice (but often performed by a female singer), was inspired by the conclusion of Mahler's affair with soprano Johanna Richter.

The lyrics are by the composer himself, though influenced by Des Knaben Wunderhorn, a collection of German folk poetry and one of Mahler's favorite books, and the first song is actually based on the Wunderhorn poem "Wann [sic] mein Schatz". There are strong connections between this work and Mahler's First Symphony, with the main theme of the second song being the main theme of the 1st Movement and the final verse of the 4th song reappearing in the 3rd Movement as a contemplative interruption of the funeral march.

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