January 13-18, 1998
Robert Olson, Artistic Director
Mahler’s composing hut at Toblach, Austrian Tyrol (now Dobbiacho, Italy), as it now stands, where he started composing his song symphony Das Lied von der Erde in the summer of 1908. According to Alma, Mahler finished the work in 1909 while staying some weeks at the villa of Fritz Redlich, located in the town of Gšding in Moravia, and wrote :
“I feel marvelous here! To be able to sit working by the open window, and breathing the air, the trees, and the flowers, all the time — this is a delight I have never known until now. … But a place like this I must have.”
Mahler did not realize this dream — he was dead in two years, never having heard or conducted his greatest work for voice.
For reasons that are not supported by any known fact, Mahler decided not to number his Das Lied as Symphony No. 9.
Das Lied , scored for full orchestra, is actually mostly chamber-like in character. Only a dozen or so measures are scored for the full orchestra. While it deals with farewell to a departed friend, it also is optimistic. Mahler added this line to the original text:
The dear earth everywhere blossoms in spring and grows green again