A Drummer Boy's Funeral March

The Wanderer

Parade Ground
Military signals, fanfares, and marches in Mahler’s music express a full gamut of emotion, from triumph to tragedy.
“The military band was the passion of my childhood.”
  • The works from Mahler’s Wanderer years continue to draw on the full emotional spectrum of military music. In one of his settings from The Youth’s Magic Horn (Des Knaben Wunderhorn), “The Drummer Boy” (Der Tamboursg’sell), Mahler depicts a soldier’s last moments, recollecting life as a drummer boy: “I’m a poor drummer boy being led out through the gate! If I had stayed a drummer, I wouldn’t have been taken captive.

VIDEO:SFS principal clarinet Carey Bell on nature in Mahler’s music
  • In another of the songs in this collection, “Song of the Persecuted Man in the Tower” (Lied des Verfolgten im Turm), both music and words contrast the life of the prisoner with the world outside: “In summer, it’s great to be in the high, wild mountains. There you find patches of green.” Still, the prisoner repeats: “thoughts are free.”