Return to Jewish roots


Mahler's Jewish heritage gave him both specific musical sources and an ear for the outsider's voice.
"always an intruder, never welcomed...."
VIDEO:MTT on Mahler's late style
  • In the epic orchestral interlude that separates the two poems set in "The Farewell" (Der Abschied), the last song in The Song of the Earth (Das Lied von der Erde), we can hear a return to the primal, folk-inspired gestures of his early works.

  • These gestures build and intensify throughout the interlude. In this context it is interesting to note the contemporary association between Jewish and the "Orientalism" that provided artistic inspiration but also controversy. The critic Rudolph Louis wrote that he found Mahler's music "horribly disgusting" because "it speaks musical German … but with an accent, with a tone, and above all with the gestures of the East."