The influence of Gustav Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer on his First Symphony
The output of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), Austrian post-romantic composer of the turn of the century, was heavily drawn to the song cycle and symphonic genres. The song cycles provided Mahler the laboratory to experiment musical techniques, forms, among other elements, in a smaller scale, that serve as the blueprint for his symphonies. In some cases, this borrowing would be literal, while in others, it would be motivic, thematic, or of the overall mood. In the case of his first song cycle, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (translated Songs of a Wayfarer) and his First Symphony, the borrowing is of a diverse nature. Songs of a Wayfarer was a song cycle completed in its piano version in 1885 (orchestrated in 1896) with texts by the composer, depicting the sorrows a traveler faces after the rejection of a loved one. Mahler borrows motives, themes, moods, key relationships, orchestration, and is even influenced by the text when writing purely instrumental music in his First Symphony. It is the scope of this paper to uncover the various ways Mahler borrowed from the Wayfarer when he wrote his First Symphony, and argue that the borrowing and treatment of the material is methodical and purposeful, while respecting the expansive nature of symphonic writing.
|The influence of Gustav Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer on his First Symphony
|No Copyright - U.S.
|April 4, 2023
|May 06, 2023
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