Gustav Mahler

Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, song cycle for voice & piano (or orchestra)

    Description by Steven Coburn

    This is Mahler's first completely mature work. It is also his first full-fledged orchestral song cycle, a genre Mahler was eventually to bring to its height. Unlike its two predecessors, Berlioz's Nuits d'été (Summer Nights) and Wagner's Wesendonck-Lieder (Wesendonck Songs), Mahler's cycle was intended from the beginning as orchestral. Despite the fact that it was first sketched with piano and published this way as an alternative, the orchestral version is clearly superior. The texts are all by Mahler, although they were inspired by the collection of German folk poetry entitled Das Knaben Wunderhorn (The Young Boy's Magic Horn); they depict a "Spring Journey" of a young man who has lost his love to a rival. Stylistically, all the elements of Mahler's early work are present: folklike melodies, the invocation of nature through bird calls and open textures, an intensely dramatic and dark Allegro, and a grim military march. Also present is Mahler's lifelong juxtaposition of the love of life and nature with despair, emptiness, and death. Anticipating his later harmonic complexities, none of these songs end in the same key as they began -- a procedure called "progressive tonality."

    In "Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht" (When My Sweetheart Has Her Wedding), the protagonist mourns the loss of his love to a rival and attempts to find solace in nature. The first part, in which the lover mourns, is written in a simple and moving folk-Slavic style. This gives way in a central, faster section to the invocation of nature through imitation bird calls, always incorporated into the musical fabric of the accompaniment. A return to the opening mournful music ends the song bleakly.

    In "Ging heut' morgens übers Feld" (I Went Out This Morning Through the Fields), the protagonist sets out on a cheerful walk in the country, only to eventually remind himself of his lost love. This is also in a folkish style, with scale-derived melodies and hints of Austrian yodeling. The accompaniment begins with simple open textures, only to give way to a flowing and contrapuntally rich texture. Towards the end, the almost ecstatic quality of much of the song gives way to a wistful melancholy.

    "Ich hab' ein glühend Messer" (I Have a Glowing Knife) describes the metaphorical knife the sweetheart plunged into the lover's breast with her betrayal. In what would become Mahler's typical diabolical style, the song features muted trumpets, tremolo strings, and snarling brass. The tortured and aggressive quality of the music perfectly depicts the lover's angst.

    in "Die zwei blauen Augen" (The Two Blue Eyes), finally, the protagonist goes out in the night to find peace under the linden tree (a durable Romantic metaphor for death), to the accompaniment of a funeral march the likes of which only Mahler could compose. This march eventually fades into a more folklike style, but it remains colored by its original harmonies. A poignant and grim return to a single repeated phrase of the march concludes the song.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht
    2. Ging heut' Morgen übers Feld
    3. Ich hab' ein glühend' Messer, ein Messer in meiner Brust
    4. Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 Arte Verum ARV 014
    2018 Deutsche Grammophon
    2018 Video Artist International 4603
    2018 Lawo Classics LWC 1157
    2018 Praga PRD 350150
    2018 Foghorn Classics FCL 2019
    2018 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon 4798418
    2018 ABC Classics
    2018 Capriccio Records C 7265
    2018 Warner Classics 9029569020
    2018 Sony Classical 19075861862
    2018 Decca / Eloquence
    2017 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186576
    2017 SWR Music SWR 19042
    2017 Linn Records CKD 511
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795805
    2016 RCA Red Seal 88875169792
    2016 Sony Classical 88875183412
    2016 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 14000
    2016 Naxos 8573536
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795553
    2015 Passacaille PAS 1008
    2015 Ladybird 79556834
    2015 Klanglogo KL 1512
    2015 Linn Records CKD 481
    2015 LPO LPO 0100
    2015 ABC Classics 4618272
    2015 Radio France FRF 02027
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 002894795229
    2014 Sony Classical 88843047122
    2014 Linn / Linn Records CKD 453
    2014 Supraphon SU 41712
    2014 Harmonia Mundi HMA 1951875
    2014 RCA Red Seal 88843003502
    2014 Harmonia Mundi HMC 902173
    2014 Supraphon SU 41332
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon 002894791780
    2013 Marsyas MAR 18092
    2013 Elysium 728
    2013 CPO 7776752
    2013 Masterworks / Sony Classical 88883701332
    2013 Gala GL 100806
    2013 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099990377
    2013 Karusel Music / KMI KMI 071115
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 001931702
    2012 ZYX Music CLA 101302
    2012 Newton Classics 8802125
    2012 Orfeo C 870121B
    2012 Eloquentia EL 1233
    2012 Decca
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099960229
    2012 Apex 2564659420
    2012 Signum Classics SIGCD 259
    2011 Preiser Records PR 91192
    2011 Berlin Classics 0300223BC
    2011 Nightingale Classics NC00010011
    2011 Quinton 1001
    2011 RCA Red Seal 88697899792
    2011 Capriccio Records CAP 5101
    2011 SOMM SOMMCD 0109
    2011 BIS SACD 1600
    2011 ATMA Classique ACD 22665
    2011 Bridge 9341
    2011 Archipel ARPCD0516
    2011 Decca
    2011 Membran 232763
    2011 Berlin Classics 0300264BC
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099945635229
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4778825
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 NCA 60166
    2010 Preiser Records 93456
    2010 Decca
    2010 San Francisco Symphony 8219360036
    2010 Decca
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099960898
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 2L 18
    2009 EMI Classics
    2009 RCA / RCA Victor Red Seal 88697567732
    2009 Dutton Vocalion 9791
    2008 MDG 9121489
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099920808
    2008 Tahra 646
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 5675562
    2008 Phoenix Edition 105PHOENIX
    2008 London/Decca / Decca 001089302
    2007 EMI Classics
    2007 Archipel 0391
    2007 Berlin Classics 0184152
    2007 LPO 97
    2007 Urania 320
    2007 Haenssler 98256
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 00400734167
    2007 Elatus
    2007 Arte Nova 878180
    2007 Union Square Music 54
    2007 EMI Music Distribution 59635
    2006 Berlin Classics 0185872BC
    2006 Document 223511
    2006 Harmonia Mundi 901875
    2006 Archipel 0142
    2006 MDR Records 428
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 76780
    2006 LPO 12
    2006 Rca Red Seal 76233
    2006 LPO 11
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 2894775174
    2005 Claves 502310
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 4696372
    2005 Telarc Distribution 80628
    2005 Telarc Distribution 60628
    2005 Preiser Records 90669
    2004 Sony Music Distribution 92460
    2004 Hyperion 55160
    2004 Symposium SYMCD1337
    2004 Oehms Classics 324
    2004 Neos Productions 90607
    2004 Hyperion 67392
    2004 Virgin Classics 62395
    2004 Orfeo 409048
    2003 Cambria 1136
    2003 Arte Nova Classics 74321878182
    2003 Dorian 90315
    2002 Naïve 782160
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 47657
    2002 Preiser Records 89559
    2002 Decca 468486
    2002 Telarc Distribution 80269
    2002 Living Stage 35161
    2002 Classica d'Oro 1052
    2002 Archipel 67
    2002 BBC Legends / BBC Music 41072
    2002 NM Classics 97016
    2001 Audiophile Classics 547
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 67557
    2001 CBC Records 5098
    2001 EMI Classics 74673
    2001 Capriccio Records 10863
    2000 BBC Music 4404
    2000 Deutsche Grammophon 463500
    2000 Gala Records 339
    2000 Biddulph Recordings 83067/8
    2000 BBC Music 4035
    2000 Sony Music Distribution 61847
    2000 Teldec 74002
    2000 Deutsche Grammophon 463516
    2000 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    2000 Stradivarius 10010
    2000 T-Rax 23
    2000 Teldec 21339
    1999 Orfeo 522991
    1999 Berlin Classics 0093972
    1999 Virgin 561507-2
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 66996
    1999 Forlane 16744
    1999 Naxos 554164
    1999 Penguin Classics 460654
    1999 BBC Music 8004
    1999 Telarc Distribution 80499
    1999 Chandos 8951
    1999 Disky 705902
    1999 New York Philharmonic 000
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459080
    1998 Angel Records 69862
    1998 Lys 148
    1997 Belart 461341
    1997 Symposium 1221
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 439928
    1997 Denon Records 18018
    1997 Chandos 9545
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 449735
    1996 Supraphon 3026
    1996 Vox 5529
    1996 Supraphon 3030
    1996 Philips 454 014-2PM2
    1996 Capriccio Records 10332
    1996 Decca / Universal
    1995 Carlton 2020
    1995 Myto Records 89008
    1995 Sony Music Distribution 64447
    1994 Montaigne 789011
    1994 Orfeo 336931
    1994 Denon Records 75969
    1994 Decca 425790
    1992 Hyperion 66100
    1992 Teldec 74868
    1991 Deutsche Grammophon 431682
    1991 EMI Music Distribution 62707
    1991 Philips 426 257-2PH2
    1991 Sony Music Distribution 46535
    1990 EMI Music Distribution 47793
    1989 Deutsche Grammophon 429157
    1970 Decca / London
    Crystal Records Dist. 680
    Deutsche Grammophon 459081
    Urania 11911
    Melodram 18048
    Gerry Pagano 7172
    BBC Music Magazine 285
    Sony Music Distribution 47170
    Greenmill
    Deutsche Grammophon 471 451-2GB15
    White Label 075
    Koch Schwann 312632
    Deutsche Grammophon 477 5329GH
    Auvidis 6110
    London 414674
    UNT College of Music
    Preiser Records 90536
    EMI Music Distribution 574738-2
    London 414624
    Deutsche Grammophon 415959
    Virgin 90703
    Theorema 121203
    Verona Records 27062
    Archiphon 109
    Deutsche Grammophon 469154
    Ameson 517
    Archiv Produktion 116