Wanderer: Folk & Folkways

The Wanderer

The many folk traditions Mahler encountered gave him a rich source of songs, dances, and legends.
“The Bohemian music of my childhood home has found its way into many of my compositions.”
VIDEO:A Bohemian Ländler
  • Mahler’s Second Symphony includes a nostalgic, dreamlike, untroubled Ländler as its second movement. It functions as a kind of intermezzo between the solemn Todtenfeier (Funeral Rites) and the drama of judgment and resurrection.

  • Throughout this epoch of his life, Mahler continued to draw on the quality of the Ländler. A tender, nearly heartbreaking example occurs in his song “Where the Lovely Trumpets Blow” (Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen), when the soon-to-be soldier comforts his lady-love: “Oh, don’t cry, my love. In a year, you’ll be my own.”

Mahler's Methods

VIDEO:MTT on the Ländler in Mahler’s day

Mahler based the Scherzos of his First and most of his later symphonies on the Ländler, a rustic peasant waltz often accompanied by heavy stamping.

  • His college friend Hans Rott had done this in 1880 in his Symphony in E.

  • Mahler seems to echo a phrase from this work in his own Second Symphony. Was this a tribute to the highly talented man who had taken his own life some years earlier?

Related Examples