GUSTAV MAHLER (1860–1911)
Selections from Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1892–1901)
The Des Knaben Wunderhorn selections will include Revelge, Trost im Unglück, Der Schildwache Nachtlied, Lied des Verfolgten im Turm, Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt, and Der Tamboursg’sell. Mahler selected and set 12 texts from a collection of old German folk poetry and gathered them into an informal song cycle. The three volumes of poems, entitled Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Youth’s Magic Horn), had been compiled and published by two young Romantic poets, Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano, between 1805 and 1808. In creating these vocal jewels (which he considered as important as any of his symphonies) Mahler was raising simple folk material into the lofty sphere of art. The poetry itself and Mahler’s musical interpretations span the range of human experiences and emotions…love, sorrow, war, fairytales, ghosts…all expressed sweetly, humorously, charmingly, satirically, tragically, poignantly. The composer would begin with the texts — often adjusting them to suit his purposes — and then create the melodies that were inspired by sources as diverse as military band music recalled from his childhood, military fanfares, drum rolls, popular songs, and folk dances.