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‘MAHLER: Commentary on His Music’

Gustav MahlerGustav Mahler Anniversary
July 7, 2010 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Gustav Mahler, one of the world’s greatest composers. Mahler’s music has catapulted to international acclaim during the past half century. Although his music has been amply recorded and performed, there are few places where a listener can go to find out how Mahler’s music works and what meaning it is intended to convey. So to celebrate this very special event, we will be presenting all of Mahler’s music in chronological order with a listeners’ guide to each work provided by our founder and program director, who also happens to be the president of the Gustav Mahler Society of New York.

Mahler Societies:
Internationale Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft Wien
Gustav Mahler Society of New York

ADDITIONAL LIST OF RECOMMENDED MAHLER RECORDINGS

Das Klagende Lied:
Susan Dunn, Brigitte Fassbaender, Markus Baur, Werner Hollweg, Düsseldorf  Musikverein Choir, Berlin Radio Symphony, Riccardo Chailly

Sym. #1:
Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado (DVD)

Sym #2:
Emilia Cundari, Maureen Forrester, Westminster Choir, New York Philharmonic, Bruno Walter
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Hilde Rössel-Majdan, Philharmonic Chorus & Orchestra, Otto Klemperer
Heather Harper, Helen Watts, London Symphony Chorus & Orchestra, Georg Solti
Eteri Gvazava, Anna Larsson, Orfeon Donostiarra Choir, Lucerne Festival Orch., Claudio Abbado

Sym #3:
Kathleen Ferrier, BBC Symphony, Adrian Boult
Hilde Rössel-Majdan, Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna Boys’ Choir, Vienna Philharmonic, F. Charles Adler
Anna Larsson, Arnold Schoenberg Chorus; Tölzer Boys’ Choir, Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

Sym #4:
Margaret Price, London Philharmonic, Jascha Horenstein
Sylvia McNair, Berlin Philharmonic, Bernard Haitink
Judith Raskin, Cleveland Orchestra, George Szell
Felicity Lott, London Philharmonic, Franz Welser-Möst

Sym #5:
New York Philharmonic, Bruno Walter
New Philharmonia, John Barbirolli
Chicago Symphony, George Solti
Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

Sym #6:
Vienna Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein (video & audio)
London Philharmonic, Klaus Tennstedt
Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado
New York Philharmonic, Dimitri Mitropoulos

Sym #7:
Chicago Symphony, Claudio Abbado
Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

Sym #8:
Soloists, Chicago Symphony, Vienna Boys’ Choir, Vienna State Opera Chorus & Vienna Sinverein, Georg Solti
Soloists, London Philharmonic Choir, Tiffin School Boys’ Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Klaus Tennstedt

Sym #9:
Columbia Symphony, Bruno Walter
Berlin Philharmonic, John Barbirolli
Chicago Symphony, Carlo Maria Giulini
Bamberg Symphony, Jonathan Nott

Das Lied von der Erde:
Kathleen Ferrier, Julius Patzak, Vienna Philharmonic, Bruno Walter
Alfreda Hodgson, John Mitchinson, Northern Symphony, Jascha Horenstein
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, James King, Vienna Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein

Symphony No.8 In E-Flat Major – Introduction

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Date of composition: summer, 1906; orchestrated in 1907; published by Universal Editions, February 1911.
Place of composition: Maiernigg
Premiere: Munich, 12 September 1910, Mahler conducting.

Orchestration: Piccolo (or double as 5th flute), 4 flutes, 4 oboes, English horn; clarinet in E-flat, 3 clarinets in B-flat, bass clarinet in B-flat, 4 bassoons, contrabassoon, 8 horns, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, bass tuba, 3 timpani, bass drum, cymbals, tamtam, triangle, deep bells, glockenspiel, celesta, piano, harmonium, organ, 2 harps, mandolin, strings. Internal band: 4 trumpets, 3 trombones.

Voices: Soloists: Soprano I (Magna Peccatrix), Soprano II (Una poenitentium), Soprano (Mater Gloriosa), Alto I (Mulier Samaritana), Alto II (Maria Aegyptiaca), Tenor (Doctor Marianus), Baritone (Pater Ecstaticus), Bass (Pater Profundus), Choruses: Boys choir, Mixed Choruses I and II

Movements:
Part I : Hymnus: Veni, creator spiritus (anonymous but once attributed to Hrabanus Maurus)
Part II: Final scene from Faust by Wolfgang von Goethe.

Magna Peccatrix: Erna Spoorenberg, soprano
Una Poenitentium: Gwyneth Jones, soprano
Mater Gloriosa: Gwyneth Annear, mezzo-soprano
Mulier Samaritana: Anna Reynolds, mezzo-soprano
Maria Aegyptiaca: Norma Procter, mezzo-soprano
Doctor Marianus: John Mitchinson, tenor
Pater Ecstaticus: Vladimir Ruzdjak, baritone
Pater Profundis: Donald McIntyre, bass

Hans Vollenweider, organ
Leeds Festival Chorus
London Symphony Orchestra Chorus (Donald Hunt, chorus master)
Finchley Children’s Music Group (John Andrews, music director)
Highgate School Boys Choir (Edward Chapman, music director)
Orpington Junior Singers (Sheila Mossman, chorus master)
London Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein, conductor

Sony 88697-45369-2
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Symphony No. 7 In B Minor/E Minor – Fifth Movement

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Allegro ordinario ; Maestoso; Sempre l’istesso tempo; Gemessen! Nicht Schnell! (Measured! Not fast!); Grazioso; Immer noch Tempo II (still in Tempo II), etc.
Key: C major (opening briefly in E minor); second subject in A-flat major with occasional ventures into A, G-flat, B-flat and B major and a brief incursion into C minor.
Time Signature: 4/4; 3/2; 2/2; alla breve; returning to 4/4
Form: Modified sonata-rondo

Symphony No. 7 In B Minor/E Minor – Fourth Movement

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Andante Amoroso; Mit Aufschwung (With verve); Graziosissimo; Sehr Fliessend (very fleeting),etc.
Key: F Major (with a middle section in A-flat major and B-flat Major with modulations)
Time Signature: 2/4
Form: ABACA-DE-ABACA

Symphony No. 7 In B Minor/E Minor – Third Movement

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Schattenhaft. Fliessend, aber nicht schnell, an der Anfangstahten noch etwas zogernd. (Shadowy. Fleeting, but not too fast, the beginning still somewhat hesitant.); etwas flotter (somewhat brisker); klagend (lamenting); Pesante
Key: D minor with Trio in D major.
Time Signature: 3/4
Form: Scherzo and Trio (with Introduction, Coda and sonata-like development sections)

Symphony No. 7 In B Minor/E Minor – Second Movement

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work


Tempo: Allegro Moderato; Tempo subito, molto moderato (Andante); Sempre l’istesso tempo; Gehalten; Poco meno mosso
Key: C minor/major (first Trio in A-flat major; second Trio in F minor)
Time Signature: 4/4
Form: ABACABA (with Introduction and Coda)

Symphony No. 7 In B Minor/E Minor – First Movement

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work


Tempo: Langsam (Adagio); Allegro risoluto, ma non troppo
Key: Beginning in B minor and modulating progressively to E minor and concluding in E major.
Time Signature: 4/4
Form: Sonata form

Symphony No. 7 In B Minor/E Minor – Introduction

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Occasionally, the subtitle The Song of the Night has been appended to the Seventh Symphony, presumably relating to the two movements (the second and fourth) that Mahler entitled Nachtmusik. However, Mahler did not append a subtitle to the symphony. Regarding the symphony’s principal key, some have referred to it as B minor, the key in which the symphony begins. However, the first movement is clearly in E minor which relates more directly than B minor to both the keys of the second movement and the finale (C minor/major and C major respectively), although more remotely to those of the other movements.

Date(s) of composition: 1904-5; published by Bote & Bock, Berlin (1909)
Place(s) of composition: Maiernigg
Premiere:Prague, 19 September 1909, Mahler conducting
Orchestration: Piccolo, 4 flutes (4th doubling as 2d piccolo), 4 oboes, English horn, clarinet in E-flat, 3 clarinets in A and B-flat, 3 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, tenor horn in B-flat (referred to in English as a >baritone=), 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (bass drum, snare drum, tambourine, tam-tam, triangle, cymbals, rute (sticks), cowbells and glockenspiel), 2 harps, guitar, mandolin and strings.
Performers: Vienna Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein
Movements: 5 movements with second and fourth movements each entitled Nachtmusik and third Scherzo.
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Symphony No. 6 In A Minor – Fourth Movement

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Allegro Moderato (Sostenuto); allegro energico
Principal key: A minor with various subsidiary keys (C minor, D major and minor, F-sharp and B-flat major, A major, F minor, E-flat major and G major and minor)
Time Signature: alla breve opening leads to the principal 4/4 meter
Form: Extended sonata form with rondo elements (expositions merges with development sections and opening measures become ritornello)

Symphony No. 6 In A Minor – Third Movement

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Andante Moderato
Key: E-flat major (second theme in G minor, then in E minor and A minor) with the Development in E minor and 2 episodes, the first in E minor then E major, the second in C major.
Time Signature: 4/4
Form: Rondo form. (ABA’B’A’Coda)

Symphony No.6 In A Minor – Second Movement

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Wuchtig (weighty or powerful) (3/8 ausschlagen ohne zu schleppen) (3/8 meter not too dragging).
Key: A minor (First trio in F major and Second trio in D major)
Time Signature: 3/8 (numerous meter shifts throughout the trios)
Form: Scherzo with two Trios (ABA’B’AACoda)

Symphony No. 6 In A Minor – First Movement

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work


Tempo: Allegro energico, ma non troppo. Heftig, aber markig (Vigorous, but emphatic).
Key: A minor (second theme in F major; recapitulation in A major with the second theme in D major)
Time Signature: 4/4
Form: Modified Sonata form

Symphony No. 6 In A Minor – Introduction

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Date(s) of composition: 1903-4; published by C. F. Kahnt Nachfolger, Leipzig (1906) in three editions (a full orchestral score, study score and a four-hand piano transcription by Alexander von Zemlinsky) were published, the second of which reversed the order of the middle movements from Scherzo-Andante to Andante-Scherzo and contained substantial revisions in the orchestration. The orchestration of the revised Critical Edition published in 1998 by the International Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft which contains numerous revisions from the original published versions based upon reported changes Mahler is claimed to have made in the score after performances.

Place(s) of composition: Maiernigg and Vienna
Premiere: Essen, 27 May 1905, Mahler conducting the Tonkünstlerfest of the Allgemeine Deutsche Musikverein.

Orchestration: piccolo, 4 flutes, 4 oboes, English horn, clarinets in D and E-flat, 3 clarinets in A and B-flat, bass clarinet, 4 bassoons, contrabassoon, 8 horns, 6 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (big drum, side drum, tam-tam, cymbals, triangle, glockenspiel, cow bells, deep bells, rute and hammer), xylophone, 2 harps, celesta and strings.
Performers: Vienna Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein
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Movements: 4 movements organized in modified traditional symphonic form:
1. Allegro energico, ma non troppo
{2. Scherzo (Wuchtig)} or Andante
{3. Andante} or Scherzo (Wuchtig)
4. Finale (Allegro moderato)

Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor – 5th Movement

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Allegro. Allegro giocoso.
Principal Key: D major.
Time Signature: 2/2

Form: Although Mahler used the term Arondo in the title of this movement, its structure is hardly that of a traditional rondo. Some commentators consider the movement to be in sonata-form, but there are several reasons to doubt the efficacy of this viewpoint, one being the first appearance of an important theme in the development section. There have been other attempts to analyze the movement based upon key relationships and sectional organization. The most consistent feature of the movement is its contrast of homophonic and fugal elements. However, the rondo-like return of the opening motto, the special function of the Grand Chorale within the scheme of the movement and the frequent development sections, among other things, make any traditional analysis of this movement necessarily flawed.

Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor – 4th Movement

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Sehr langsam (Very slowly)
Key: F (with modulations in the B section to C minor, G-flat major, E major, D major, etc.).
Time Signature: 4/4
Form: ABA

Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor – 3rd Movement

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Third Movement: Scherzo

In what strange simplification and falsification man lives! One can never cease wondering once one has acquired eyes for this marvel! How we have made everything around us clear and free and easy and simple! How we have been able to give our senses a passport to everything superficial, our thoughts a divine desire for wanton leaps and wrong inferences! How from the beginning we have contrived to retain our ignorance in order to enjoy an almost inconceivable freedom, lack of scruple and caution, heartiness, and gaiety of life–in order to enjoy life! And only on this now solid, granite foundation of ignorance could knowledge rise so far–the will to knowledge on the foundation of a far more powerful will: the will to ignorance, to the uncertain, to the untrue! Not as its opposite, but–as its refinement!
Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche

Tempo: Kräftig, nicht zu schnell. (Energetic, not too fast).
Key: D major with numerous minor-key modulations (f, d, a, e, etc.).
Time signature: 3/4
Rhythm: Ländler and waltz.
Form: Scherzo with two trios

Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor – 2nd Movement

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Stürmisch bewegt. Mit grösster Vehemenz. (Stormily agitated, with the greatest vehemence).

Key: A minor, F minor in the second theme, with various major and minor key modulations; E minor for the second theme in the recapitulation and D major for the Grand Chorale.

Time Signature: 2/2

Form: ABABA with introduction and coda; contains elements of sonata form.

Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor – First Movement

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Trauermarsch. In gemessenem Schritt. Streng. Wie ein Kondukt. (Funeral March. In measured tread, austere, like a funeral cortège.)

Key: C-sharp minor (modulating to A-flat, then to B-flat minor for the first trio, D-flat major and then A minor for the second trio, etc.)

Time Signature: 2/2

Rhythm: funeral march.

Form: ABABA in the manner of a scherzo movement with two trios. [N.B.,  Edward Murphy considers the musical material for the trio sections to be too heavy and too frenetic to be considered trios in the traditional sense, especially since the climax of the movement occurs during one of them. Moreover, application of the term Ascherzo to the calmer, more melodious music of the funeral march is equally inappropriate. However, given Mahler’s retention of traditional formal frameworks within which he makes radical departures for classical principles, the use of such terms as Ascherzo and Atrio for the first movement is not necessarily inappropriate.

Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor – Introduction

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Date(s) of Composition: 1901-02; published by C. F. Peters (1904), revised edition, 1919.
Place of Composition: Maiernigg and Vienna
Premiere: Cologne, 18 October 1904.

Orchestration: 4 flutes (3rd and 4th double with piccolo); 3 oboes (3rd doubles with English horn); 3 clarinets (3rd doubled with bass clarinet); 3 bassoons (3rd doubles with contrabassoon); 6 horns; 4 trumpets; 3 trombones; tuba; 4 timpani; cymbals; bass drum; side drum; triangle; glockenspiel; tam-tam; woodblock; harp and strings.
Performers: Chicago Symphony under Georg Solti
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Movements: 5 movements organized in 3 parts as follows:
Part I
1. Trauermarsch
2. Stürmisch bewegt. Mit grösster Vehemenz
Part II
3. Scherzo: Kräftig, nicht zu schnell
Part III
4. Adagietto: Sehr langsam
5. Rondo-Finale: Allegro

Rückert-Lieder – Um Mitternacht (At Midnight)

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work


Key: B minor in the piano version and the Kritische Gesamtausgabe; B-flat minor and A minor in other orchestral editions.
Tempo: Ruhig. Gleichmässig. (Restful, evenly)
Time Signature: 3/2, alternating with 2/2, 4/2 and 6/2.
Orchestration: no strings; 2 flutes; 2 oboes (oboe d’amore in A minor version); 2 clarinets; 2 bassoons and contrabassoon; 4 horns; 2 trumpets; 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, harp and piano.
Form: strophic in five verses; ABAAB.

Um Mitternacht
Hab’ ich gewacht
Und aufgeblickt zum Himmel;
Kein Stern vom Sterngewimmel
Hat mir gelacht
Um Mitternacht.

Um Mitternacht
Hab’ ich gedacht
Hinaus in dunkle Schranken.
Es hat kein Lichtgedanken
Mir trost gebracht
Um Mitternacht.

Um Mitternacht
Nahm ich in acht
Die Schläge meines Herzens;
Ein einz’ger Puls des Schmerzes
War angefacht
Um Mitternacht

Um Mitternacht
Kämpft’ ich die Schlacht,
O Menschheit, deiner Leiden;
Nicht konnt’ ich sie entscheiden
Mit meiner Macht
Um Mitternacht.

Um Mitternacht
Hab’ ich die Macht
In deine Hand gegeben!
Herr! Über Tod und Leben
Du hälst die Wacht
Um Mitternacht!

At midnight
I awake
And looked up at the sky.
Not a star in the galaxy
Smiled at me
At midnight.

At midnight
My thought went
Out to the limits of darkness.
There was no thought of light
To bring me comfort
At midnight.

At midnight
I paid heed
To the beating of my heart.
One single pulse of pain
Caught fire
At midnight.

At midnight
I fought the fight
Of your sorrows, O Mankind.
I could not decide it
For all my power
At midnight.

At midnight
I gave my power
Into your hands,
Lord! Over life and death
You keep watch
At midnight!

Rückert-Lieder – Ich Bin Der Welt Abhanden Gekommen (I Have Lost My Way In The World)

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work


Key: F major in piano version; E-flat major in orchestral version (with modulations into A-flat and then C major and minor.
[N.B., the volume of the Critical Edition of Mahler’s works prepared under the auspices of the International Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft, Vienna, devoted to the orchestral version of four Rückert-Lieder includes 2 orchestral versions of this song, one in F and the other in E-flat. (See Band XIV, Teilband 4)].

Tempo: Äussert langsam und zurückhaltend (extremely slow and held back)
Time Signature: 4/4 (with one measure of 2/4).
Form: through-composed but with three distinct sections, the second of which contrasts somewhat with the others.

Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen,
Mit der ich sonst viele Zeit verdorben,
Sie hat so lange nichts von mir vernommen,
Sie mag wohl glauben, ich sei gestorben!

Es ist mir auch gar nichts daran gelegen,
Ob sie mich für gestorben hält,
Ich kann auch gar nichts sagen dagegen,
Denn wirklich bin ich gestorben der Welt.

Ich bin gestorben dem Weltgetümmel,
Und ruh’ in einem stillen Gebiet!
Ich leb’ allein in meinem Himmel,
In meinem Lieben, in meinem Lied!

I have lost my way in the world
With which I used to waste much time;
It has heard nothing of me for so long,
It may well think I am dead!

And for me it is of no concern at all
If it considers me dead,
Nor can I say anything against it,
For in truth I am dead to the world.

I am dead to the world’s tummelt
And rest in a place of quietness!
I live alone in my heaven,
In my love, in my song.

Rückert-Lieder – Liebst Du Um Schönheit (If You Love For Beauty’s Sake)

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work


Key: C major.
Tempo: Innig, fliessend (tender, flowing) (fliessend does not appear in the orchestral score)
Time Signature: 3/4 with numerous changes.
Form: simple strophic form
Orchestration: According to the original orchestral score, published by C. F. Kahnt, this song was not orchestrated by Mahler, but by an employee of the publisher, Max Puttmann. Many commentators have criticized the orchestration as flawed in details that Mahler would not have missed.

Liebst du um Schönheit,
o nicht mich liebe!
Liebe die Sonne,
sie trägt ein goldnes Haar!

Liebst du um Jugend,
o nicht mich liebe!
Liebe den Frühling,
der jung ist jedes Jahr!

Liebst du um Schätze,
o nicht mich liebe!
Liebe die Meerfrau,
sie hat viel Perlen klar!

Liebst du um Liebe,
o ja mich liebe!
Liebe mich immer,
dich lieb’ ich immerdar.

If you love for beauty’s sake
do not love me!
Love the sun,
it wears hair of gold.

If you love for youth’s sake,
do not love me!
Love the spring,
which is young every year!

If you love for treasure’s sake,
o do not love me.
Love the mermaid,
she owns many lucent pearls.

If you love for love’s sake,
yes, then love me.
Love me always,
as I love you always forever.

Rückert-Lieder – Ich Atmet’ Einen Linden Duft (I Breathed A Gentle Fragrance)

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work


Key: D major (E-flat major in final verse)
Tempo: Sehr zart und innig (Very tender and intimate)
Time Signature: 6/4 (3/4 in final six measures)
Rhythm: continuous eighth-note ostinato interwoven around the quarter-notes of the vocal line like Athe gentle rocking rhythm of a lullaby.
Form: Two-part song form.
Orchestration: 1 flute, 1 oboe, 1 clarinet in A, 2 bassoons, 3 horns, celesta, harp, violins and violas.

Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft
Ein Zweig der Linde,
Im Zimmer stand
Ein Angebinde
Von lieber Hand.
Wie lieblich war der Lindenduft!

Wie lieblich ist der Lindenduft!
Das Lindenreis
Brachst du gelinde!
Ich atme leis
Im Duft der Linde
Der Liebe linden Duft.

I breathed a gentle fragrance!
In the room stood
A branch of a linden tree,
A present
From a dear hand.
How lovely was the fragrance of a linden tree!

How lovely is the fragrance of a linden tree!
The linden-twig
Was gently plucked by you.
I softly breathe,
In the fragrance of a linden tree,
Love’s gentle fragrance.

Rückert-Lieder – Blicke Mir Nicht In Die Lieder (Do Not Peek At My Songs)

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work


Key: F major (second and final verse in the minor key)
Tempo: Sehr Lebhaft (Very fast).
Time Signature: 2/2
Rhythm: nearly moto perpetuo eighth-notes
Form: AA’; AA’ (A’ episodes in the minor)

Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder!
Meine Augen schlag’ ich nieder,
Wie ertappt auf böser Tat.

Selber darf ich nicht getrauen,
Ihrem Wachsen zuzuschauen
Deine Neugier ist Verrat!

Bienen, wenn sie Zellen bauen,
Lassen auch nicht zu sich schauen,
Schauen selbst auch nicht zu.

Wenn die reichen Honigwaben
Dann vor allen nasche du!

Do not peek at my songs.
I cast my eyes down.
As if caught in a misdeed.

I cannot even trust myself
. I cannot even trust myself
Your inquisitiveness in treason!

Bees, when they build cells,
Do not let one observe them either,
And do not observe themselves.

Have been brought to daylight
Then, before anybody, you shall taste them.

Rückert-Lieder – Introduction

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Dates of Composition: 1901 (Rückert-Lieder); 1902 (Liebst du um Schönheit); published as Sieben Lieder Aus Letzter Zeit 1910 (C. F. Kahnt).
Place of composition: Maiernigg
Type of composition: 5 Songs in versions with piano and orchestral accompaniment.

Blicke Mir Nicht In Die Lieder
Janet Baker, mezzo‑soprano
New Philharmonia
Sir John Barbirolli, conductor
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Um Mitternacht
Jose Van Dam, bass
Cleveland Orchestra
Christoph von Dohnanyi, conductor

Kindertotenlieder – In diesem Wetter, In diesem Braus

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work


Key: D minor (with occasional hints of B-flat and A major), ending in D major.
Tempo: Mit ruhelos schmerzvollem Ausdruck (With a restless, painful expression).
Time Signature: 4/4

Form: free strophic form with a prelude and postlude, each verse being separated by an interlude of varying length. The last verse is much longer than the earlier ones and, because of its vastly different character, is considered by La Grange to be virtually a separate song unto itself.

Orchestration: the only song in the cycle initially written for full orchestra, including piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets in A, bass clarinet in A, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns in F, timpani, celesta, tam-tam, harp and muted strings.

In diesem Wetter, in diesem Braus,
nie hätt’ ich gesendet die Kinder hinaus,
man hat sie getragen, getragen hinaus.
Ich durfte nichts dazu sagen.

In diesem Wetter, in diesem Saus,
nie hätt’ ich gelassen die Kinder hinaus.
Ich fürchtete, sie erkranken,
das sind nun eitle Gedanken.

In diesem Wetter, in diesem Graus,
nie hätt’ ich gelassen die Kinder hinaus.
Ich sorgte, sie stürben morgen,
das ist nun nicht zu besorgen.

In diesem Wetter, in diesem Graus!
Man hat sie hinaus getragen,
nie hätt’ ich gelassen die Kinder hinaus.
Ich durfte nichts dazu sagen!

In diesem Wetter, in diesem Saus, in diesem Braus,
sie ruh’n als wie in der Mutter Haus,
von keinem Sturm erschrecket,
von Gottes Hand bedecket,
sie ruh’n wie in der Mutter Haus!

In this weather, in this tumult,
I should never have sent the children out,
they have been carried, carried out.
I could say nothing about it.

In this weather, in this storm,
I should never have let the children out.
I feared they would get sick,
those are now vain thoughts.

In this weather, in this horror,
I should never have let the children out.
I worried they would die tomorrow,
that is nothing to worry about now.

In this weather, in this horror!
I should never have let the children out.
They have been carried out,
I could say nothing about it!

In this weather, in this storm, in this tumult,
they rest as though in their mother’s house,
frightened by no storm,
sheltered by God’s hand,
they rest as though in their mother’s house!