Tag Archives: Gustav Mahler

🎻♫♪ – Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen by Gustav Mahler

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
Progress:
111/501Title: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Nationality: Bohemian
Year:
1885

Time for the oldest of the Gustav Mahler pieces, a very brief song cycle whose title has been translated as either ‘Songs of a Wayfarer’ or ‘Songs of Journeyman’. These four songs, with lyrics also written by Mahler, tell four stories about a working man who has lost the love of his life to another man and how he gets over them.

We begin with a lovely flourish before hearing him mourn his loss, we go via some lightness under a tree and him wishing for a knife to end the pain before ending with things possibly being okay again. The whole piece goes by in what feels like an instant – so by the time I got part way through my writing set-up it was nearly over. Not that I cared, listening to this a few more times was a pleasure.

By the looks of it, this won’t be the last I hear of these particular pieces of music. At some point, when Mahler’s ‘Symphony no. 1’ comes out of the bucket, some of these themes will be making a return. I do look forward to seeing how it works for the second song in the cycle, it had such a lightness and a positivity to it that it would be nice to hear a longer classical work take more of a lead from such a good place.

🎻♫♪ – Symphony No. 4 by Gustav Mahler

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
Progress:
75/501Title: Symphony No. 4
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Nationality: Bohemian
Year:
1900

Given the busy week (okay, month) I’ve been needing some relaxing music to help with the resulting anxiety. There’s only so many ASMR recordings you can listen to after all. So we picked a classical piece at random – hoping it wouldn’t have the sense of foreboding that the last piece had. Hopes were definitely fulfilled, so thank you Mahler.

Listening to the opening of Mahler’s symphony, my thoughts turned to the ending theme of children’s cartoon Barbar. It was something in the lightness of the woodwinds that made me drift in that direction; a direction that eventually took me back to walking through the mountains near Freiburg when the wind was blowing lightly.

The actual basis of the piece, as well as the light soprano at the end, was actually a bit darker than my mind’s eye – instead meant to be a child’s idea of heaven. That alone doesn’t seem too dark, but any time I imagine a child thinking of heaven it’s because of something in relation to death.

Since this is Mahler’s fourth symphony, and is actually related to the previous three, I’m probably missing out on something by jumping straight to his fourth. We’ll get there eventually, but all in good time.