Wanderer: Synagogue

The Wanderer

Mahler’s Jewish heritage gave him both specific musical sources and an ear for the outsider’s voice.
“Always an intruder, never welcomed…”
  • At times I feel I am a solitary stranger everywhere! My whole life is one great homesickness.” The expressive “sighs” in the first movement of Mahler’s Second Symphony are a prime example of the way he achieved a musical portrayal of grieving and loneliness in piercing, searing lines.

VIDEO:Baritone Thomas Hampson and the SFS perform Das irdische Leben

Another evocation of alienation occurs in the song “Earthly Life” (Das irdische Leben), about a mother trying to console her starving child:
"Mother, oh Mother! I'm hungry;
Give me bread, or I shall die!"
"Wait a little, my darling child;
Tomorrow we shall sow quickly."