When Gustav Mahler married his wife, Alma, she was not only a beautiful and well-known young woman in Vienna, she was also a competent composer. Her husband asked her at that time to give up her creative composing, yet he continued to ask her for her opinions on his own efforts as a composer.
Now we have a new recording that is dedicated solely to Alma’s music:
Alma Mahler: Lieder und Gesänge
The songs in this collection are:
Die stille Stadt
In meines Vaters Garten
Laue Sommernacht (text: Gustav Falke)
Bei dir ist es traut
Ich wandle unter Blumen (text: Heinrich Heine)
Licht in der Nacht (text: Otto Julius Bierbaum)
Waldseligkeit (text: Richard Dehmel)
Ansturm (text: Rochard Dehmel)
Erntelied (text: Gustav Falke)
Der Erkennende (text: Franz Werfel)
Hymne an die Nacht
Canto di Penelope
These songs are performed by Catharina Kroeger (soprano), and Monica Lonero (piano)
Linked throughout her life to famous men – among them Gustav Klimt, Alexander Zemlinsky, Walter Gropius, Franz Werfel, and of course her first husband Gustav Mahler – Alma Mahler was much more than a passive muse. Intelligent, witty and beautiful, she was also musically gifted in her own right.
Gustav Mahler reversed this decision some years later on seeing how unhappy his wife was without her creative musical outlet. He even helped to edit and publish her songs, and it is this small but diverse collection of the works published in her lifetime that makes up this CD.
Drawing on various poets – including Richard Dehmel and Rainer Maria Rilke – Alma’s songs explore themes of love and loss as dramatic as her personal life. Harmonically daring, saturated with large, weighty chords and sensitively scored for piano and voice, the short pieces represent the peak of the late‐Romantic experience.
Performers Catharina Kroeger and Monica Lonero have long championed female composers and performers, particularly those previously disregarded or neglected, such as Alma Mahler.
Here, from this recording, is the song ‘Die Stille Stadt’: