Mahler's Origins: A "Sonic Goulash"

Mahler's Origins: A "Sonic Goulash"

All of Mahler’s music reflects the world of sounds that enveloped him as a child growing up in Iglau in Moravia, now Jihlava in the Czech Republic. A sizable mining town halfway between Vienna and Prague, Iglau housed army garrissons from far-flung parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The family lived over a tavern run by Gustav’s father Bernard.

Time & Place: Mahler's Iglau

Explore the soundscape that echoed in Mahler’s music throughout his life. Stroll around Iglau and listen to the kaleidoscope of sounds the young Mahler heard. Then listen to the way they took symphonic form in the very first bars of his first symphony.

Explore Map

Watch Video

MTT explains how he hears the soundscape of Mahler's childhood in the form of his symphonies.

Common Threads

“Impressions of his youth run like a scarlet thread throughout his work.”

—Mahler’s friend, musicologist Guido Adler

On this website you can follow the way Mahler’s childhood memories — sounds of the countryside, the parade ground, the church, the tavern, and the synagogue — create common threads that run through all of his songs and symphonies.


“I have eaten and drunk, I have been awake and I have slept, I have wept and laughed, I have stood on mountains, where the breath of God bloweth where it listeth, I have been on the heath, and the tinkling of cow-bells has lulled me into dreams.”

Shared Experiences

October 3, 2011

This is the best documentary ever written about Gustav Mahler.

There is so much love and tenderness in it that makes you love Mahler forever.

Thank you ever so much.

October 3, 2011

Like almost everybody else in the world, I'm just another not musician who discovered Mahler's music through the film Death in Venice with the beautiful Adagietto. That was in 1973.
Since then I've been listening and discovering all his songs, simphonies (and Das Lied)and nowdays I just can't live without his music.
I have it all on cd's (played by different conductors)books and lots of DVD's with excellent documentaries.
I thought I had it all till this excellent Keeping Score came to me. I've never seen something so weel done in my life. There's love for Mahler everywhere.
I'd love to congratulate you for such a master piece.
Thank you with all my heart.


July 16, 2011
Thanks so much .
June 30, 2011

I cannot thank you enough for such a wonderful exposé on Mahler! Although I am not a musician, when I first heard Mahler as a teenager, my life was dramatically and forever altered. While I do not have the musicians ear, all of his music is indelibly imprinted in my being, and I am ever so grateful for all of those highly charged journeys through the inner and outter cosmos.

As stated by Rilke (who I discovered around the same time as Mahler and whose writing had an equally life-changing impact on me), "I, who even as a child had been so distrucful of music (not because it lifted me out of myself more violently than anything else, but because I had noticed that it never dropped me again where it had found me, but lower down, somewhere deep in the unfinished), I endured this music, on which one could ascent upright, higher and higher, until one imagined that for a while this must just about have been heaven."

A huge BRAVO to Michael Tilson Thomas!