This Compilation 1993 Innovative Music Productions Ltd.
Teresa Zylis-Gara, Anna Reynolds, Andor Kaposy, Ambrosian Singers, New Philharmonia Orchestra, cond.: Wyn Morris, (studio 1987), Anna Reynolds, Geoffrey Parsons
# 1 - Das Klagende Lied
## 9-10 - Lieder Und Gesange Aus Der Jugendzeit
========= from the cover ==========
Gustav Mahler graduated from the Vienna Conservatoire in 1878. Two years later he completed his cantata, Das Klagende Lied, later submitting it for a cash-prize competition. This was the vehicle by which Mahler hoped to make his initial mark on the musical world. The work was divided into three sections, each bearing its own subtitle. Its scoring called for a large orchestra, an additional offstage band (woodwind, brass and percussion), mixed chorus, and four soloists.
The cantata's musical language, while evidently bred and nourished in the Wagnerite camp, was already couched in a Mahlerian idiom which must have been exceedingly startling in 1881. (Many now-destroyed juvenile compositions had preceded it). And like many an example of youthful "effrontery", it was of course rejected by the jury, (including Brahms, Hans Richter, Karl Goldmark, and Bduard Hanslick), just as his First Symphony was rejected by the critics eight years later. Thus began Mahler's supplementary career as an operatic director and conductor.
Das Klagende Lied was not performed until February 17, 1901, in the same season in which his Fourth Symphony appeared, and three and a half years after Mahler had blazed his way across Europe to the summit of his professional career in Vienna. He had made several minor revisions in the score during the intervening years, but more importantly he had completely eliminated one of its three original sections (the first one). Of the four soloists, the bass pan had likewise disappeared, along with the subtitles. The work was so published in 1899, and farther revised for a second printing in 1901.
A Note On The Text Of "Das Klagende Lied"
Mahler wrote his own words for this cantata, his only existing major work set to his own poem throughout. It is apparently based on either or both of two fairy-tales: Das Klagende Lied by Ludwig Bechstein, and Der Singende Knochen (The Singing Bone) by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. As originally composed, Part 1 (Waldmarchen) tells of the murder of a young man by his brother; Part II (Der Spielmann) describes how a wandering minstrel finds the murdered man's bone in the woods and makes a flute out of it, which magically sings human words when he plays on it; Part III (Hochzeitsstuck) tells how this supernatural flute reveals the murder at the guilty brother's wedding feast with the Queen whom he has won. (As Shakespeare observed three centuries earlier. "For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak with most miraculous organ!)" Mahler's penchant for irony is already evident in his last subtitle, Hochzeitsstuck: (Wedding-Piece).
Why Mahler omitted the Waldmarchen finally is a question which, until one can examine the score, can only be speculated upon. Was it a musical, a dramatic, or simply a practical reason-or is there, indeed, some equally constraining but less obvious explanation? As Donald Mitchell says in his book "Gustav Mahler - The Early Years": "We recocognize that Waldmarchen is much of a piece with the rest of the cantata when we encounter Mr. Rose's references to its trumpet and horn calls, its drum fourths, bird-song, and characteristic Mahler triplets".
Insofar as the flute's song, heard in both the Spielmann and Hochzeitsstuck sections, evidently is intended to bring the listener back to the murder scene, as in a film "flash-back", it makes little musical or dramatic sense to omit that fateful moment in the first place - a great dramatic moment, according to the annotations from Brno and Vienna. The accusation at the wedding feast is a kind of delayed confrontation (by supernatural means, at least) of the two brothers who were presented at the beginning; so it is certainly undramatic to begin merely with the secondary character, the minstrel, and his coming upon the bone of the murdered man in the forest - a man whom we have never met, musically, or dramatically speaking.
A purely personal explanation suggests itself for this evident lapse on Mahler's part. In 1874, when he was 14, a younger brother Ernst, 13, died of "hydrocardia after a long illness". Mahler reportedly harboured fond memories of Ernst, and was consumed with grief at his loss. In view of the central theme of fratricide in Das Klagende Lied, a psychologist would almost certainly suggest that Mahler was inwardly driven to compose it in order to exorcise a buried feeling of guilt over his brother's death - the familiar feeling of "If only I had treated him better, it never would have happened!" Such a supposition would gain further credence from the fact that, in superimposing elements of Grimm upon the basic Bechstein story, Mahler changed the sex of the victim! In Bechstein's Klagende Lied, it is a sister who is murdered by her brother.
If such were his unconscious motivation, would not this hidden connection between the actual death and the fictional murder be even stronger when Mahler returned to the score after many yean of forgetfulness? - So strong, in fact, that he might then have suppressed his own depiction of the murder without realizing why ? The question is still further compounded by the fact that another brother named Otto - like himself, a composer, whom at one time Mahler considered more talented than himself - actually shot himself to death in 1895, at the age of 21.
Jack Diether (Director of the Bruckner Society of America)
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
Lieder and Gesange aus der Jugendzeit
Mahler's songs from Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen onwards are as familiar as his symphonies, which is as well, since both genres are closely interwined in his music. Phrases, whole melodies from his songs, were put to work again in his symphonies; the finale of the fourth symphony is a song, and the set of songs called Das Lied von der Erde may correctly be described as the Mahler symphony which followed No.8, preceding the one we call No.9.
The Mahler songs recorded here come from three earlier volumes composed while he was a student and a young conductor. The earliest of them, Hans und Grethe, dates from 1880 when he was 20; he wrote the text for it himself. Some earlier songs were suppressed or destroyed. This one was published in 1885 together with four others that include Phantasie, Fruhlings morgen and Erinnerung. If you listen to all four, one after another, the distinction between Lieder and Gesange should become clear. The last two are definitely Lieder. art-songs in the German tradition of Schumann and Brahms, the first two nearer to folkmusic - Phantasie rather resembles Brahms' folksong arrangements. But all four are characteristic of Mahler as we know him in his later works. Hans und Grethe may seem most typical of all, with it's Landler beat (the composer so described it at first, then indicated that it should sound like a slow waltz), it's many small changes of pace, it's suggestions of yodelling melody and it's thematic links with the (almost contemporaneous) scherzo of what was to be his first symphony. But Fruhlingsmorgen carries hints of a Mahlerian Landler, and the long piano trills pre-figure the birdsong which is basic (like military bands and fanfares) to Mahler's own musical vocabulary. Just before the voice enters, there is a winsome half-cadence phrase, repeated as Steh auf, which is pure Mahler; so is the running figure in the piano's right-hand (like that in St. Antony's Sermon to the Fishes). This is half Lied and half Gesang. Erinnerung is pure Lied. Mahler eventually settled for Gesang. out of which he developed his personal brand of symphonic song (in the mature Knaben Wunderhorn settings) that led him, by a roundabout route, back to symphonic Lieder (in the five Ruckert songs). The melancholy of Erinnerung, its drooping cadences, the scunched harmony at So kommen meme Lieder, and the deliberate pushing of the music from its starting key into another a tone higher, will be familiar to everyone who knows Mahler's later music. There is a similar key-surprise in Phantasie which veers between two keys and finally opts for the one you didn't expect; I half suspect Mahler modelled this song on Pedrillo's serenade in Mozart's Seraglio. Incidentally, he tells the pianist to imitate a harp, or perhaps actually play one.
The remaining Mahler songs on this record come from the two volumes composed between 1886 and 1888, while Mahler was completing his first symphony. Since boyhood, he had known Achim von Amim and Clemens Brentano's anthology of German folk-poetry Des Knaben Wunderhorn, a cornerstone in the history of German romanticism. In the spirit of these poems he had devised the texts of Hans und Grethe and the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen - Now he turned for song material to the poems themselves and set nine of them - five are included here - before embarking on the later settings with orchestral accompaniment. These are prototypical Mahler, Nicht Wiedersehen, one of Mahler's funeral-march songs, pre-figures most closely the later Tambourg'sell and, in the contorted key - switch at Wo ist mein Hereallerliebste, its companion-piece, Revelge, as well as recalling, in the last verse, the final Fahrenden Gesellen song. The mixture of minor and major tonality in this song is reflected in Scheiden und Meiden (untranslatable title - I apologise for my feeble, charmless, equivalent) which floats, Schubert-like, from the one to the other. The equestrian lilt of the music is Schubertian too (Die Post, for instance) but the total effect belongs only to Mahler; we can isolate the recurrent drooping phrase, on some appearances of Ade, as Mahler hallmarks (O Mensch, gib Acht in symphony 3, the fate theme in symphony 6, the opening tune in symphony 9). But the song clings to the memory chiefly for the poignant, elastic phrase to which the words of the title are set (twice, differently the second time - varied repeats on another Mahler fingerprint). In design and style, Ich ging mit Lust could almost be an extra Fahrenden Gesellen song: the big strides taken by the voice part, phrase after phrase, are unusual - and look forward to later composers, as is some other Mahler songs, they may here derive from Alpine yodelling (and in Fnuhlingsmorgen). Notice that the piano's birdsongs are back in the last verse to portray the nightingale.
The other two songs are cheeky and comic, full of gusto. Starke Einbildungskraft could almost, but for one harmony in each verse, be an 18th century song, (by Arne, for example); the piano introduction comes close to the British army bugle-call "Come to the cookhouse door". Un schlimme Kinder artig zu machen starts like a hornpipe set out as a near-Bach two-part invention, though it gets more intricate later on. Lieder aus der Jugendzeit is an accurate, helpful title from our end of history. But juvenilia these songs are not. Mahler in his twenties was an expert, adult, highly imaginative composer.
-William Mann 1969