Piano Solo
Piano + ...
For beginners

Das Lied von der Erde

Composer: Mahler Gustav

Instruments: Voice Alto Tenor Orchestra Baritone

Tags: Symphony


Download free scores:

Complete Score PDF 10 MB
Complete Score PDF 7 MBComplete Score PDF 5 MBColor Cover PDF 1 MB
Complete Score PDF 12 MB
Complete Score (preface omitted) PDF 21 MBTitle and orchestration PDF 0 MB1. Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde PDF 4 MB2. Der Einsame im Herbst PDF 1 MB3. Von der Jugend PDF 1 MB4. Von der Schönheit PDF 2 MB5. Der Trunkene im Frühling PDF 1 MB6. Der Abschied PDF 5 MB

Parts for:

AllViolinViolaTubaTrumpetTromboneTimpaniPiccoloOboeMandolinHarpFrench hornFluteCor anglaisContrabassoonClarinetCelloAlto saxophone


Piano Solo:

Von der Jugend. (Unknown)


Von der Jugend. Recorder(4) (Tokumei, Taro)
Das Lied von der Erde ("The Song of the Earth") is a composition for two voices and orchestra written by the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler between 1908 and 1909. Described as a symphony when published, it comprises six songs for two singers who alternate movements. Mahler specified that the two singers should be a tenor and an alto, or else a tenor and a baritone if an alto is not available. Mahler composed this work following the most painful period in his life, and the songs address themes such as those of living, parting and salvation. On the centenary of Mahler's birth, the composer and prominent Mahler conductor Leonard Bernstein described Das Lied von der Erde as Mahler's "greatest symphony".
Three disasters befell Mahler during the summer of 1907. Political maneuvering and antisemitism forced him to resign as Director of the Vienna Court Opera, his eldest daughter Maria died from scarlet fever and diphtheria, and Mahler himself was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. "With one stroke," he wrote to his friend Bruno Walter, "I have lost everything I have gained in terms of who I thought I was, and have to learn my first steps again like a newborn".
The same year saw the publication of Hans Bethge's Die chinesische Flöte, a volume of ancient Chinese poetry rendered into German. Mahler was captivated by the vision of earthly beauty and transience expressed in these verses and chose seven of the poems to set to music as Das Lied von der Erde. Mahler completed the work in 1909.
Mahler was aware of the so-called "curse of the ninth", a superstition arising from the fact that no major composer since Beethoven had successfully completed more than nine symphonies: he had already written eight symphonies before composing Das Lied von der Erde. Fearing his subsequent demise, he decided to subtitle the work A Symphony for Tenor, Alto (or Baritone) Voice and Orchestra, rather than numbering it as a symphony. His next symphony, written for purely instrumental forces, was numbered his Ninth. That was indeed the last symphony he fully completed, because only two movements of the Tenth had been fully orchestrated at the time of his death.
The first public performance was given, posthumously, on 20 November 1911 in the Tonhalle in Munich, sung by Sara Cahier and William Miller (both Americans) with Bruno Walter conducting. Mahler had died six months earlier, on 18 May.
One of the earliest performances in London (possibly the first) occurred in January 1913 at the Queen's Hall under conductor Henry Wood, where it was sung by Gervase Elwes and Doris Woodall. Wood reportedly thought that the work was 'excessively modern but very beautiful'.
Mahler's source for the text was Hans Bethge's Die chinesische Flöte. Bethge used prior translations and adaptations of the original Chinese poetry. Texts now identified as being likely sources used by Bethge include Hans Heilman's [de] Chinesische Lyrik (1905), Marquis d'Hervey de Saint Denys' Poésies de l'époque des Thang, and Judith Gautier's Livre de Jade.
Four of the songs—"Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde", "Von der Jugend", "Von der Schönheit" and "Der Trunkene im Frühling"—were derived from poems written by Li Bai, the wandering poet of the Tang dynasty. "Der Einsame im Herbst" is based on a poem "After Long Autumn Night" by Qian Qi, another poet of the Tang Dynasty. "Der Abschied" combines poems by Tang Dynasty poets Meng Haoran and Wang Wei, with several additional lines by Mahler himself. These attributions have been a matter of some uncertainty, and around the turn of the 21st century, Chinese scholars extensively debated the sources of the songs following a performance of the work in China in 1998.
According to the musicologist Theodor W. Adorno, Mahler found in Chinese poetry what he had formerly sought after in the genre of German folk song: a mask or costume for the sense of rootlessness or "otherness" attending his identity as a Jew._15-0" class="reference"[15]_16-0" class="reference"[16] This theme, and its influence upon Mahler's tonality, has been further explored by John Sheinbaum. It has also been asserted that Mahler found in these poems an echo of his own increasing awareness of mortality.
The Universal Edition score of 1912 for Das Lied von der Erde shows Mahler's adapted text as follows.
Schon winkt der Wein im gold'nen Pokale, Doch trinkt noch nicht, erst sing' ich euch ein Lied! Das Lied vom Kummer Soll auflachend in die Seele euch klingen. Wenn der Kummer naht, Liegen wüst die Gärten der Seele, Welkt hin und stirbt die Freude, der Gesang. Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod. Herr dieses Hauses! Dein Keller birgt die Fülle des goldenen Weins! Hier, diese Laute nenn' ich mein! Die Laute schlagen und die Gläser leeren, Das sind die Dinge, die zusammen passen. Ein voller Becher Weins zur rechten Zeit Ist mehr wert, als alle Reiche dieser Erde! Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod! Das Firmament blaut ewig und die Erde Wird lange fest steh'n und aufblüh'n im Lenz. Du aber, Mensch, wie lang lebst denn du? Nicht hundert Jahre darfst du dich ergötzen An all dem morschen Tande dieser Erde! Seht dort hinab! Im Mondschein auf den Gräbern Hockt eine wild-gespenstische Gestalt – Ein Aff' ist's! Hört ihr, wie sein Heulen Hinausgellt in den süßen Duft des Lebens! Jetzt nehmt den Wein! Jetzt ist es Zeit, Genossen! Leert eure gold'nen Becher zu Grund! Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod!
The wine beckons in golden goblets but drink not yet; first I'll sing you a song. The song of sorrow shall ring laughingly in your soul. When the sorrow comes, blasted lie the gardens of the soul, wither and perish joy and singing. Dark is life, dark is death! Master of this house, your cellar is full of golden wine! Here, this lute I call mine. The lute to strike and the glasses to drain, these things go well together. A full goblet of wine at the right time is worth more than all the kingdoms of this earth. Dark is life, dark is death! The heavens are ever blue and the Earth shall stand sure, and blossom in the spring. But you O man, what long life have you? Not a hundred years may you delight in all the rotten baubles of this earth. See down there! In the moonlight, on the graves squats a wild ghostly shape; an ape it is! Hear you his howl go out in the sweet fragrance of life. Now! Drink the wine! Now it is time comrades. Drain your golden goblets to the last. Dark is life, dark is death!
(Chinese original version of this poem: 悲歌行 [zh-yue].
Herbstnebel wallen bläulich überm See; Vom Reif bezogen stehen alle Gräser; Man meint, ein Künstler habe Staub von Jade Über die feinen Blüten ausgestreut. Der süße Duft der Blumen ist verflogen; Ein kalter Wind beugt ihre Stengel nieder. Bald werden die verwelkten, gold'nen Blätter Der Lotosblüten auf dem Wasser zieh'n. Mein Herz ist müde. Meine kleine Lampe Erlosch mit Knistern, es gemahnt mich an den Schlaf. Ich komm' zu dir, traute Ruhestätte! Ja, gib mir Ruh', ich hab' Erquickung not! Ich weine viel in meinen Einsamkeiten. Der Herbst in meinem Herzen währt zu lange. Sonne der Liebe willst du nie mehr scheinen, Um meine bittern Tränen mild aufzutrocknen?
Autumn fog creeps bluishly over the lake. Every blade of grass stands frosted. As though an artist had jade-dust over the fine flowers strewn. The sweet fragrance of flower has passed; A cold wind bows their stems low. Soon will the wilted, golden petals of lotus flowers upon the water float. My heart is tired. My little lamp expired with a crackle, minding me to sleep. I come to you, trusted resting place. Yes, give me rest, I have need of refreshment! I weep often in my loneliness. Autumn in my heart lingers too long. Sun of love, will you no longer shine Gently to dry up my bitter tears?
Mitten in dem kleinen Teiche Steht ein Pavillon aus grünem Und aus weißem Porzellan. Wie der Rücken eines Tigers Wölbt die Brücke sich aus Jade Zu dem Pavillon hinüber. In dem Häuschen sitzen Freunde, Schön gekleidet, trinken, plaudern. Manche schreiben Verse nieder. Ihre seidnen Ärmel gleiten Rückwärts, ihre seidnen Mützen Hocken lustig tief im Nacken. Auf des kleinen Teiches stiller Wasserfläche zeigt sich alles Wunderlich im Spiegelbilde. Alles auf dem Kopfe stehend In dem Pavillon aus grünem Und aus weißem Porzellan; Wie ein Halbmond steht die Brücke, Umgekehrt der Bogen. Freunde, Schön gekleidet, trinken, plaudern.
In the middle of the little pond stands a pavilion of green and white porcelain. Like the back of a tiger arches the jade bridge over to the pavilion. Friends sit in the little house well dressed, drinking, chatting. some writing verses. Their silk sleeves glide backwards, their silk caps rest gaily at the napes of their necks. On the small pond's still surface, everything shows whimsical in mirror image. Everything stands on its head in the pavilion of green and white porcelain. Like a half-moon is the bridge its arch upturned. Friends well dressed, drinking, chatting.
Junge Mädchen pflücken Blumen, Pflücken Lotosblumen an dem Uferrande. Zwischen Büschen und Blättern sitzen sie, Sammeln Blüten in den Schoß und rufen Sich einander Neckereien zu. Gold'ne Sonne webt um die Gestalten, Spiegelt sie im blanken Wasser wider, Sonne spiegelt ihre schlanken Glieder, Ihre süßen Augen wider, Und der Zephir hebt mit Schmeichelkosen Das Gewebe Ihrer Ärmel auf, Führt den Zauber Ihrer Wohlgerüche durch die Luft. O sieh, was tummeln sich für schöne Knaben Dort an dem Uferrand auf mut'gen Rossen? Weithin glänzend wie die Sonnenstrahlen; Schon zwischen dem Geäst der grünen Weiden Trabt das jungfrische Volk einher! Das Roß des einen wiehert fröhlich auf Und scheut und saust dahin, Über Blumen, Gräser wanken hin die Hufe, Sie zerstampfen jäh im Sturm die hingesunk'nen Blüten, Hei! Wie flattern im Taumel seine Mähnen, Dampfen heiß die Nüstern! Gold'ne Sonne webt um die Gestalten, Spiegelt sie im blanken Wasser wider. Und die schönste von den Jungfrau'n sendet Lange Blicke ihm der Sehnsucht nach. Ihre stolze Haltung ist nur Verstellung. In dem Funkeln ihrer großen Augen, In dem Dunkel ihres heißen Blicks Schwingt klagend noch die Erregung ihres Herzens nach.
Young girls picking flowers, Picking lotus flowers at the riverbank. Amid bushes and leaves they sit, gathering flowers in their laps and calling one another in raillery. Golden sun plays about their form reflecting them in the clear water. The sun reflects back their slender limbs, their sweet eyes, and the breeze teasing up the warp of their sleeves, directs the magic of perfume through the air. O see, what a tumult of handsome boys there on the shore on their spirited horses. Yonder shining like the sun's rays between the branches of green willows trot along the bold companions. The horse of one neighs happily on and shies and rushes there, hooves shaking down blooms, grass, trampling wildly the fallen flowers. Hei! How frenzied his mane flutters, and hotly steam his nostrils! Golden sun plays about their form reflecting them in the clear water. And the most beautiful of the maidens sends long looks adoring at him. Her proud pose is but a pretense; in the flash of her big eyes, in the darkness of her ardent gaze beats longingly her burning heart.
(Chinese original version of this poem: 采莲曲 (李白) ( Wikisource).
Wenn nur ein Traum das Leben ist, Warum denn Müh' und Plag'!? Ich trinke, bis ich nicht mehr kann, Den ganzen, lieben Tag! Und wenn ich nicht mehr trinken kann, Weil Kehl' und Seele voll, So tauml' ich bis zu meiner Tür Und schlafe wundervoll! Was hör' ich beim Erwachen? Horch! Ein Vogel singt im Baum. Ich frag' ihn, ob schon Frühling sei, Mir ist als wie im Traum. Der Vogel zwitschert: Ja! Der Lenz ist da, sei kommen über Nacht! Aus tiefstem Schauen lauscht' ich auf, Der Vogel singt und lacht! Ich fülle mir den Becher neu Und leer' ihn bis zum Grund Und singe, bis der Mond erglänzt Am schwarzen Firmament! Und wenn ich nicht mehr singen kann, So schlaf' ich wieder ein. Was geht mich denn der Frühling an!? Laßt mich betrunken sein!
If life is but a dream, why work and worry? I drink until I no more can, the whole, blessed day! And if I can drink no more as throat and soul are full, then I stagger to my door and sleep wonderfully! What do I hear on waking? Hark! A bird sings in the tree. I ask him if it's spring already; to me it's as if I'm in a dream. The bird chirps Yes! The spring is here, it came overnight! From deep wonderment I listen; the bird sings and laughs! I fill my cup anew and drink it to the bottom and sing until the moon shines in the black firmament! And if I can not sing, then I fall asleep again. What to me is spring? Let me be drunk!
(Chinese original version of this poem: 春日醉起言志 ( Wikisource).
Die Sonne scheidet hinter dem Gebirge. In alle Täler steigt der Abend nieder Mit seinen Schatten, die voll Kühlung sind. O sieh! Wie eine Silberbarke schwebt Der Mond am blauen Himmelssee herauf. Ich spüre eines feinen Windes Weh'n Hinter den dunklen Fichten! Der Bach singt voller Wohllaut durch das Dunkel. Die Blumen blassen im Dämmerschein. Die Erde atmet voll von Ruh' und Schlaf. Alle Sehnsucht will nun träumen, Die müden Menschen geh'n heimwärts, Um im Schlaf vergess'nes Glück Und Jugend neu zu lernen! Die Vögel hocken still in ihren Zweigen. Die Welt schläft ein! Es wehet kühl im Schatten meiner Fichten. Ich stehe hier und harre meines Freundes; Ich harre sein zum letzten Lebewohl. Ich sehne mich, o Freund, an deiner Seite Die Schönheit dieses Abends zu genießen. Wo bleibst du? Du läßt mich lang allein! Ich wandle auf und nieder mit meiner Laute Auf Wegen, die von weichem Grase schwellen. O Schönheit! O ewigen Liebens – Lebens – trunk'ne Welt! Er stieg vom Pferd und reichte ihm den Trunk Des Abschieds dar. Er fragte ihn, wohin er führe Und auch warum es müßte sein. Er sprach, seine Stimme war umflort. Du, mein Freund, Mir war auf dieser Welt das Glück nicht hold! Wohin ich geh'? Ich geh', ich wand're in die Berge. Ich suche Ruhe für mein einsam Herz. Ich wandle nach der Heimat, meiner Stätte. Ich werde niemals in die Ferne schweifen. Still ist mein Herz und harret seiner Stunde! Die liebe Erde allüberall Blüht auf im Lenz und grünt aufs neu! Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! Ewig... ewig...
The sun departs behind the mountains. In all the valleys the evening descends with its shadow, full cooling. O look! Like a silver boat sails the moon in the watery blue heaven. I sense the fine breeze stirring behind the dark pines. The brook sings out clear through the darkness. The flowers pale in the twilight. The earth breathes, in full rest and sleep. All longing now becomes a dream. Weary men traipse homeward to sleep; forgotten happiness and youth to rediscover. The birds roost silent in their branches. The world falls asleep. It blows coolly in the shadows of my pines. I stand here and wait for my friend; I wait to bid him a last farewell. I yearn, my friend, at your side to enjoy the beauty of this evening. Where are you? You leave me long alone! I walk up and down with my lute on paths swelling with soft grass. O beauty! O eternal loving-and-life-bedrunken world! He dismounted and handed him the drink of farewell. He asked him where he would go and why must it be. He spoke, his voice was quiet. Ah my friend, Fortune was not kind to me in this world! Where do I go? I go, I wander in the mountains. I seek peace for my lonely heart. I wander homeward, to my abode! I'll never wander far. Still is my heart, awaiting its hour. The dear earth everywhere blossoms in spring and grows green anew! Everywhere and forever blue is the horizon! Forever ... Forever ...
Mahler had already included movements for voice and orchestra in his Second, Third, Fourth and Eighth Symphonies. However, Das Lied von der Erde is the first complete integration of song cycle form with that of the symphony. The form was afterwards imitated by other composers, notably by Shostakovich and Zemlinsky. This new form has been termed a "song-symphony", a hybrid of the two forms that had occupied most of Mahler's creative life.
Das Lied von der Erde is scored for a large orchestra, consisting of the following:
Only in the first, fourth and sixth songs does the full orchestra play together. The celesta is only heard at the end of the finale, and only the first movement requires all three trumpets, with two playing in the fourth movement and none playing in the sixth. In many places the texture resembles chamber music, with only a few instruments being used at one time.
Mahler's habit was to subject the orchestration of every new orchestral work to detailed revision over several years. Though the musical material itself was hardly ever changed, the complex instrumental 'clothing' would be altered and refined in the light of experience gained in performance. In the case of Das Lied von der Erde, however, this process could not occur as the work's publication and first performance occurred posthumously.
The score calls for tenor and alto soloists. However, Mahler includes the note that "if necessary, the alto part may be sung by a baritone". For the first few decades after the work's premiere, this option was little used. On one occasion Bruno Walter tried it out and engaged Friedrich Weidemann, the baritone who had premiered Kindertotenlieder under Mahler's own baton in 1905. However, Walter felt that tenor and baritone did not work as well as tenor and alto, and he never repeated the experiment.
Following the pioneering recordings of the work by baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau under conductors Paul Kletzki and Leonard Bernstein, the use of baritones in this work has increased.
Arnold Schoenberg began to arrange Das Lied von der Erde for chamber orchestra, reducing the orchestral forces to string and wind quintets, and calling for piano, celesta and harmonium to supplement the harmonic texture. Three percussionists are also employed. Schoenberg never finished this project, but the arrangement was completed by Rainer Riehn in 1980.
In 2004, the Octavian Society commissioned Glen Cortese to create two reductions of the work, one for a chamber ensemble of twenty instruments and one for a small orchestra with woodwinds and brass in pairs. Both these reductions are published in critical editions by Universal in Vienna.
In 2020, a new arrangement for two soloists and a 15-piece chamber ensemble by Reinbert de Leeuw was recorded by the Belgian group Het Collectief with Lucile Richardot and Yves Saelens.
Mahler also arranged the work for piano accompaniment, and this has been recorded by Cyprien Katsaris with Thomas Moser and Brigitte Fassbaender. Katsaris has also performed this version in concert.
The first movement, "The Drinking Song of Earth's Misery" (in A minor), continually returns to the refrain, Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod (literally, "Dark is life, is death"), which is pitched a semitone higher on each successive appearance.
Like many drinking poems by Li Bai, the original poem "Bei Ge Xing" (a pathetic song) (Chinese: 悲歌行) mixes drunken exaltation with a deep sadness. The singer's part is notoriously demanding, since the tenor has to struggle at the top of his range against the power of the full orchestra. This gives the voice its shrill, piercing quality, and is consistent with Mahler's practice of pushing instruments, including vocal cords, to their limits. According to musicologist Theodor W. Adorno, the tenor should here create the impression of a "denatured voice in the Chinese (falsetto) style"._15-1" class="reference"[15]_16-1" class="reference"[16]
The movement begins with a three-note horn call which recurs throughout the song, most notably at the climax in which the singer describes an ape calling "into the sweet fragrance of life." The climax also marks the first of the three whole-tone passages that occur in the symphony.
"The lonely one in Autumn" (for alto, in D minor) is a much softer, less turbulent movement. Marked 'somewhat dragging and exhausted', it begins with a repetitive shuffling in the strings, followed by solo wind instruments. The lyrics, which are based on the first part of a Tang Dynasty era poem by Qian Qi, lament the dying of flowers and the passing of beauty, as well as expressing an exhausted longing for sleep. The orchestration in this movement is sparse and chamber music-like, with long and independent contrapuntal lines.
The third movement, "Of Youth" (for tenor, in B♭ major), is the most obviously pentatonic and faux-Asian. The form is ternary, the third part being a greatly abbreviated revision of the first. It is also the shortest of the six movements, and can be considered a first scherzo.
The music of this movement, "Of Beauty" (for alto, in G major), is mostly soft and legato, meditating on the image of some "young girls picking lotus flowers at the riverbank." Later in the movement there is a louder, more articulated section in the brass as the young men ride by on their horses. There is a long orchestral postlude to the sung passage, as the most beautiful of the young maidens looks longingly after the most handsome of the young men.
The second scherzo of the work is provided by the fifth movement, "The drunken man in Spring" (for tenor, in A major). Like the first, it opens with a horn theme. In this movement Mahler uses an extensive variety of key signatures, which can change as often as every few measures. The middle section features a solo violin and solo flute, which represent the bird the singer describes.
The final movement, "The Farewell" (for alto, from C minor to C major), is nearly as long as the previous five movements combined. Its text is drawn from two different poems, both involving the theme of leave-taking. Mahler himself added the last lines. This final song is also notable for its text-painting, using a mandolin to represent the singer's lute, imitating bird calls with woodwinds, and repeatedly switching between the major and minor modes to articulate sharp contrasts in the text.
The movement is divided into three major sections. In the first, the singer describes the nature around her as night falls. In the second, she is waiting for her friend to say a final farewell. A long orchestral interlude precedes the third section, which depicts the exchange between the two friends and fades off into silence.
Lines 1–3, 17–19, and 26–28 are all sung to the same music, with a pedal point in the low strings and soft strokes of the tam-tam; in the first two of these sections, a countermelody in the flute imitates the song of a bird, but the third of these sections is just the bare pedal point and tam-tam. The singer repeats the final word of the song, ewig ("forever"), like a mantra, accompanied by sustained chords in the orchestra, which features mandolin, harps, and celesta. Ewig is repeated as the music fades into silence, the final chord "printed on the atmosphere" as Benjamin Britten asserted.
It is also worth noting that throughout Das Lied von der Erde there is a persistent message that "The earth will stay beautiful forever, but man cannot live for even a hundred years." At the end of "Der Abschied," however, Mahler adds three original lines which repeat this, but purposefully omit the part saying that "man must die". Conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein asserts that this ties in with the Eastern idea of Nirvana, in that the "soul" of the singer, as she or he dies, becomes one with the everlasting earth.
The last movement is very difficult to conduct because of its cadenza-like writing for voice and solo instruments, which often flows over the barlines. Mahler specifically instructed the movement to be played Ohne Rücksicht auf das Tempo (Without regard for the tempo). Bruno Walter related that Mahler showed him the score of this movement and asked about one passage, "Can you think of a way of conducting that? Because I can't." Mahler also hesitated to put the piece before the public because of its relentless negativity, unusual even for him. "Won't people go home and shoot themselves?" he asked.
In 2004, Daniel Ng and Glen Cortese prepared a Cantonese version. The world premiere of this version was given on 14 August 2004 by the Chamber Orchestra Anglia at the British Library, conducted by Sharon Andrea Choa, with soloists Robynne Redmon and Warren Mok. It was performed again by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra on 22 July 2005, with mezzo Ning Liang and tenor Warren Mok, under the direction of Lan Shui.
American poet Ronald Johnson wrote a series of concrete poems called Songs of the Earth (1970) based on a "progression of hearings" of Mahler's work.