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Music: Primary Sources: Mahler, Gustav 1860-1911

Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde


Mahler, Gustav, and J. V. Wöss. 1911. Das Lied von der Erde: eine Symphonie fur̈ eine Tenor- und eine Alt- (oder Bariton- ) stimme und Orchester (nach Hans Bethges "Die chinesische Floẗe"). Wien: Universal-Edition.  

Call no. : U 783.247 M21 l7    

“Folio. Original publisher's dark red cloth boards with gilt titling to upper and spine, decorative endpapers. [i] (title within decorative sepia border), [i] (table of contents), 3-99, [1] (blank) pp. Binding very slightly worn and rubbed with small stains to upper.”

“First Edition of the piano-vocal score, pre-dating the publication of the full score." 

"This orchestral song cycle, based on German versions of ancient Chinese poetry collected by Hans Bethge in Die chinesische Flöte (1907), was as original in form and technique as it was assured in its urgently lucid clarification of the subjective dialectic of the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies. Real Chinese music may have inspired the metrical innovations which contribute to quasi-heterophonic passages for solo instruments. In the extended last movement, ‘Der Abschied’, such passages project stylized images of the natural world as described by the singer ‘In narrative tone, without expression’. For tenor and contralto soloists in strict alternation (the second movement permits the contralto to be replaced by a baritone), the cycle's six movements fall into three pairs. The middle pair recall youth and beauty while the first and last present a tensely contested balance between energetic abandonment to existential despair (particularly in the two drinking songs; the ape howling its laughter amid gravestones is a crucial image in the opening movement) and a more controlled attempt to maintain lyrical equilibrium beyond the destructive expressionist ‘moment’." Peter Franklin in Grove online

Images and descriptions provided by J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians


Modern versions available in the Music Library


Das Lied von der Erde = The song of the earth.

Wien: Philharmonia Partituren in der Universal Edition. 1962.

Music 784.3 M21 l71 score  

miniature score


Das Lied von der Erde Eine Symphonie für eine Tenor- und eine Alt- oder Bariton-Stimme und Orchester. Sämtliche Werke / herausgegeben von der Internationalen Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft,Wien.

Wien: Universal Edition. 1964.

Call no.: MuR 780.81 M21  bd.9 score  

Full score

 Das Lied von der Erde: für höhere und tiefere    Singstimme mit Klavier.

 Wien: Universal Edition. 2012.

 Call no.: MuR 780.81 M21 P  Suppl. Bd.2 score

 Piano-vocal score