Gustav Mahler and Turn-of-the-Century Vienna

You are here

Course Information
Discipline(s): 
Music
Terms offered: 
Fall
Credits: 
3
Language of instruction: 
English
Contact Hours: 
45
Prerequisites: 
  • Prior studies in music history
  • Basic skills in music analysis
Description: 

A look at Gustav Mahler from the perspective of his cultural surroundings. Students will explore the musical works, aesthetic goals, and personal philosophy of the composer within the setting in Vienna from 1875 to 1911. We will consider examples of the literature, philosophy, science, art, music, drama, and politics that surrounded Mahler and ask how these may have influenced his approach to musical composition. Excursions to historic sites will complement course material.

Attendance policy: 

See IES Abroad Vienna handbook.

Method of presentation: 
  • Lectures
  • Discussions
  • Excursions
Required work and form of assessment: 

Reading and listening assignments are listed below. CDs of the required listening will be made available for borrowing and copies of the required readings will be provided in reading packets. Readings will be accompanied by study questions that will help you prepare for class discussion. All participants are required to purchase an orchestral score of Mahler’s Third Symphony (these can be acquired from IES). There will be a midterm and a final exam as well as a journal. The journal consists of assignments relevant to the topic at hand; participation in class discussions is also evaluated. The course is graded as follows:

  • Class participation - 20%
  • Journal - 20%
  • Mid-term exam - 30%
  • Final exam - 30%
content: 

 

Week
Topics and Works
Readings

1

  • Course Introduction
  • Background                                                             
  • Mahler’s Vienna
  • Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): Symphony No. 3 (1895-96)

 

  • VA: 9-17
  • BL: excerpts

 

2

  • Art and Existence
  • Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860): The World as Will and Representation, Vol.I (1818), §31-36
  • Gustav Mahler: “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” (1901) and Symphony No.3, fourth movement (1896)

 

  • SW
  • S1: 28-113
  • S1: 239-300

    3

  • Music as Revelation
  • Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900): The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music (1872)
  • Gustav Mahler: Lieder from Des Knaben Wunderhorn:
  • “Ablösung im Sommer” (1887/90), “Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt” (1893), “Das himmlische Leben” (1892)

 

  • NB: §1-7
  • SH1: 369-374, 383-407 

 

4

  • Dionysus
  • The Driving Force
  •  Sigmund Freud (1856-1939): “Fixation to Traumas – The Unconscious” (1917)
  • Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.10 (1910, incomplete)           

 

  • FU
  • SF 1-8, 173-230
  • PB

 

5

  • Culture and Politics
  • Siegfried Lipiner: “On the Elements of a Renewal of Religious Ideas in the Present”
  • Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.3, movts. 1, 4, 5, and 6 (1896)
  • MIDTERM EXAM

 

  • SL
  • MD: 120-162

 

 

6/7

 

  • SCREENING: "What the Universe Tells Me." Unraveling the Mysteries of Mahler's Third Symphony.
  • Nature
  • The Secession
  • EXCURSION to the Secession: November 6, 10:30 am - 12 noon.
  •  Gustav Klimt (1862-1918): Beethoven Frieze (1902)
  •  Alma Mahler, née Schindler (1879-1964)Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5 and Symphony No. 6, Kindertotenlieder

 

  • VA: 18-85

8

  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882): The Origin of Species (1859), Chapter 3
  • Gustav Mahler: “Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde” from Das Lied von der Erde (1909)
  • Darwinian Crisis

 

  • DO: Chapter 3
  • SH2 438-450

 

 

9

  •  The Fallen Comrade
  • Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.3, 3rd movt. and “Ablösung im Sommer” (Des Knaben Wunderhorn)
  • Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.1 (1888), 3rd movt. and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen

 

  • S2
  • SH1: 374-383

10

  • Love Transcendent
  • Sex and Society
  • Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931): Anatol (1888-1891)
  • Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.8 (1907)

 

  • SA
  • JW: 407-418
  • ML (excerpts)

 

11

  • Overcoming
  • Richard Wagner (1813-1883), Parsifal (1882)
  • Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.3, finale
  • Final Exam

 

  • WP

 

Required readings: 
  • Bauer-Lechner, Natalie (1980). Recollections of Gustav Mahler. London: Faber and Faber.
  • Darwin, Charles The Origin of Species: Chapter 3, “Struggle for Existence” www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-origin-of-species
  • Freud, Sigmund (1991). Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis Lecture 18: Fixation to Traumas – The Unconscious. London: Penguin.
  • Carr, Jonathan (1997). The Real Mahler. London: Constable.
  • Williamson, John (2002). “The Eighth Symphony” in: The Mahler Companion, eds. Andrew Nicholson and Donald Mitchell. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Martner, Knud (ed.) (1979) Selected Letters of Gustav Mahler. London: Faber and Faber.
  • McGrath, William J. (1974). Dionysian Art and Populist Politics in Austria, Chapter 5. New Haven and London: Yale Univ Press.
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music www.geocities.com/thenietzschechannel
  • Solvik Olsen, Morten (1992) Culture and the Creative Imagination: The Genesis of Gustav Mahler’s Third Symphony. Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ. of Pennsylvania
  • Solvik, Morten (1997). “Biography and Musical Meaning in the Posthorn Solo of Mahler’s Third Symphony” in: Neue Mahleriana, ed.: G?nther Wei?. Berne, etc.: Peter Lang.
  • Schnitzler, Arthur (1983) Anatol: The Crucial Question, Christmas Shopping. London: Methuen.
  • Hefling, Stephen E. (1997) “Mahler: Symphonies 1-4,” in: The Nineteenth-Century Symphony, ed. D. Kern Holoman. New York: Schirmer Books.
  • ------- (2002) “Das Lied von der Erde” in: The Mahler Companion, ed.: Andrew Nicholson and Donald Mitchell. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Feder, Stuart (2004) (2004). Gustav Mahler. A Life in Crisis. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Schopenhauer, Arthur (1969). The World as Will and Representation, Vol.I, Book 3, § 31-36. New York: Dover.
  • Vergo, Peter (1981). Art in Vienna 1898-1918 Oxford: Phaidon Press. Wagner, Richard Parsifal (libretto)