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Des Knaben Wunderhorn by Gustav Mahler Arranged for Voice, Guitar and Chamber Ensemble

Des Knaben Wunderhorn by Gustav Mahler Arranged for Voice, Guitar and Chamber Ensemble

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Publication's Style: Soft Cover - Score and Parts
Pages: 93
General Description: for Flute - Oboe - Clarinet in A/Bb - Violin - Voice - Guitar - Double Bass
Catalog Number: 74624
ISBN: 978-1-62559-068-8

Years before the Brothers Grimm began to publish the stories they collected, another equally ambitious effort, Des knaben Wunderhorn (1805-08), had appeared. This three-volume compilation of folk songs, poems, and aphorisms was the work of two young writers, Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim, who viewed their collection as a tribute to German culture.

In fall of 1887, in the living room of Karl Maria von Weber’s great-grandson, Gustav Mahler stumbled across this book – a fortunate discovery that would give the crucial jolt of inspiration and direction to his compositional life. As he read the poems, which were different in style, subject matter, tone, verse structure, provenance, and genre, Mahler nevertheless tapped into the underlying spirit that united them and made them the beloved source of imagination for generations of musicians.

Although many German writers were moved to study the collection, composers were musically uninterested until late in the 19th century, when Mahler began to draw upon Wunderhorn for melodic inspiration. In those songs, Mahler covered a vast range of subjects and emotions. Wistful romances are juxtaposed with tragic tales of starving children. St. Anthony preaches valiantly to impervious schools of fish, and in another song an avian vocal contest judged by a donkey conceals a satirical parable of musical tastes. Mahler later used melodies he had written for the collection in orchestral compositions, notably his second, third, and fourth symphonies.

Katarina Markovic

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