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José van Dam – “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” – “Rückert-Lieder” – G. Mahler – 1901-02

by Luca

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