I wanted well, and I was aiming high. I gave my best, subordinated my person to my cause and my preferences – to my duties. I did not spare myself and was always fair in demanding that others also contribute. In the sheer volume of struggle and the heat of the moment, wounds were inflicted, and you and I made mistakes both. These bitter words were addressed in a letter to the Vienna Opera House staff by Gustaw Mahler, ending his ten-year career as their director. A great genius left the European capital of music tired of constant criticism, numerous diseases, and his beloved daughter's death.
Less than three months after the last performance of ‘Fidelia’ in Vienna, on January 1, 1908, he appeared on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, starting his short but intense career in the United States.
Do you remember how, on the occasion of the ‘Tragic’ symphony, we talked about a strange fate that has not left Mahler since he decided to recreate the hero's fate in this piece? Many legends have grown up around this story. Some believe that Mahler was aware of the "curse of the nine" that, since Beethoven's time, no composer had completed more than nine symphonies in his lifetime. That is why he was to call the Song of the Earth, written in the summer of 1909, a symphony for tenor, alto (or baritone) and orchestra, without giving it a number.
When we reflect on Mahler, his striving for perfection, his passion, severity, erudition ("You have some abstraction instead of your husband" – Alma Mahler was to hear) ... we must protest against the constant presentation of his life through the prism of tragic events.
We still hear the amazing symphony ‘Resurrection’, which we performed in a huge composition several months ago. All the more, we invite you to ‘Das Lied von der Erde’. We hope that after this concert you will also be able to join the discussion on Mahler's biography.
Master of this house,
your cellar is full of golden wine!
Here, this lute I call mine.
The lute to strike and the glasses to drain,
these things go well together.
A full goblet of wine at the right time
is worth more than all the kingdoms of this earth.
Dark is life, dark is death!
MAHLER | The Song of the Earth
Symphony HallFilharmonia im. Mieczysława Karłowicza w Szczecinie
ul. Małopolska 48