Rückert-Lieder

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Rückert-Lieder is a song cycle of five Lieder for voice and orchestra or piano by Gustav Mahler, based on poems written by Friedrich Rückert. They were first published in Sieben Lieder aus letzter Zeit.

The songs[edit]

  1. Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder! (Do not look at my songs!) - 14 June 1901
  2. Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft (I breathed a gentle fragrance) - July 1901
  3. Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (I am lost to the world) - 16 August 1901
  4. Um Mitternacht (At midnight) - Summer 1901
  5. Liebst du um Schönheit (If you love for beauty) - August 1902

The first four songs were premiered on 29 January 1905 in Vienna, Mahler conducting himself, together with his Kindertotenlieder (also on poems by Rückert). The last song, Liebst du um Schönheit, was not orchestrated by Mahler himself but by Max Puttmann, an employee of the first publisher.

The set of songs is not a cycle in the narrowest sense, because the Lieder are independent, connected only by the poetry and common themes. However, they were published together and most often have been performed together and come to be known as the Rückert-Lieder, although Mahler did set more texts of Rückert. Artists such as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Kathleen Ferrier have chosen their own order of the Lieder.

Seven Songs of Latter Days[edit]

The songs were first published in 1910 by C.F. Kahnt of Leipzig as Sieben Lieder aus letzter Zeit (Seven Songs of Latter Days), together with Revelge and Der Tamboursg’sell (on poems from Des Knaben Wunderhorn) in the order:

  1. Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft
  2. Liebst du um Schönheit
  3. Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder
  4. Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen
  5. Um Mitternacht
  6. Revelge (Reveille)
  7. Der Tamboursg’sell (The Drummer Boy)

More recently, Universal Edition has published a score consisting only of the five Rückert settings.

Instrumentation[edit]

The size and constitution of the orchestra varies from song to song, but the instruments required for performance of the complete set are as follows: two flutes, two oboes, oboe d'amore, English horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, timpani, celesta, harp, piano and strings.

The Austrian composer and conductor Gerhard Präsent has written two arrangements for small chamber ensemble:

  • Three Rückert Songs for high voice, violin, viola and piano op.36b (Liebst du um Schönheit, Blicke mir nicht..., Ich bin der Welt...) in 1998, and
  • Five Rückert Songs for middle voice, violin, viola, cello and piano op.44 (2002-03) ([1]),

the latter recorded by the ALEA Ensemble with the baritone Alexander Puhrer.

Instrumentation of Mahler's Rückert-Lieder
Blicke mir nicht... Ich atmet’ einen linden... Ich bin der Welt... Um Mitternacht Liebst du um Schönheit
Flute Flute 2 Flutes
Oboe Oboe Oboe Oboe d'amore 2 Oboes
English horn English horn
Clarinet (B) Clarinet (A) 2 Clarinets (B) 2 Clarinets (A) 2 Clarinets (B)
Bassoon 2 Bassoons 2 Bassoons 2 Bassoons 2 Bassoons
Contrabassoon
Horn (F) 3 Horns (F) 2 Horns (E) 4 Horns (E) 4 Horns (F)
2 Trumpets (E)
3 Trombones
Bass tuba
Timpani
Celesta
Harp Harp Harp Harp Harp
Piano
Violin I Violin Violin I Violin I
Violin II Violin II Violin II
Viola Viola Viola Viola
Cello Cello Cello
Contrabass Contrabass

External links[edit]