Wie eine Silberbarke schwebt Der Mond am blauen Himmelssee herauf. Der Bach singt voller Wohllaut durch das Dunkel. Die Erde atmet voll von Ruh' und Schlaf.
Ich stehe hier und harre meines Freundes; Ich harre sein zum letzten Lebewohl. Wo bleibst du? Ich wandle auf und nieder mit meiner Laute Auf Wegen, die von weichem Grase schwellen. O ewigen Liebens — Lebens — trunk'ne Welt! Er stieg vom Pferd und reichte ihm den Trunk Des Abschieds dar. Er sprach, seine Stimme war umflort. Wohin ich geh'?
Ich geh', ich wand're in die Berge.
Ich werde niemals in die Ferne schweifen. Still ist mein Herz und harret seiner Stunde! The sun departs behind the mountains. In all the valleys the evening descends with its shadow, full cooling.
O look! Like a silver boat sails the moon in the watery blue heaven. I sense the fine breeze stirring behind the dark pines. The brook sings out clear through the darkness. The flowers pale in the twilight. The earth breathes, in full rest and sleep. All longing now becomes a dream. Weary men traipse homeward to sleep; forgotten happiness and youth to rediscover. The birds roost silent in their branches. The world falls asleep.
It blows coolly in the shadows of my pines.
I stand here and wait for my friend; I wait to bid him a last farewell. I yearn, my friend, at your side to enjoy the beauty of this evening. Where are you? You leave me long alone! I walk up and down with my lute on paths swelling with soft grass.
O beauty! O eternal loving-and-life-bedrunken world! He dismounted and handed him the drink of Farewells.
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He asked him where he would go and why must it be. He spoke, his voice was quiet. Ah my friend, Fortune was not kind to me in this world!
Where do I go? I go, I wander in the mountains.
I seek peace for my lonely heart. I wander homeward, to my abode! I'll never wander far. Still is my heart, awaiting its hour. The dear earth everywhere blossoms in spring and grows green anew! Everywhere and forever blue is the horizon! Bethge used prior translations and adaptations of the original Chinese poetry. These attributions have been a matter of some uncertainty, and around the turn of the 21st century, Chinese scholars extensively debated the sources of the songs following a performance of the work in China in Mahler had already included movements for voice and orchestra in his Second , Third , Fourth and Eighth Symphonies.
However, Das Lied von der Erde is the first complete integration of song cycle form with that of the symphony. The form was afterwards imitated by other composers, notably by Shostakovich and Zemlinsky. This new form has been termed a "song-symphony",  a hybrid of the two forms that had occupied most of Mahler's creative life. Mahler deploys these resources with great restraint; only in the first, fourth and sixth songs does the full orchestra play together.
The celesta is only heard at the end of the finale, and only the first movement requires all three trumpets, with two playing in the fourth movement and none playing in the sixth. In many places the texture resembles chamber music, with only a few instruments being used at one time. Mahler's habit was to subject the orchestration of every new orchestral work to detailed revision over several years.
Though the musical material itself was hardly ever changed, the complex instrumental 'clothing' would be altered and refined in the light of experience gained in performance. In the case of Das Lied von der Erde , however, this process could not occur as the work's publication and first performance occurred posthumously.
The score calls for tenor and alto soloists. For the first few decades after the work's premiere, this option was little used. On one occasion Bruno Walter tried it out, and engaged Friedrich Weidemann , the baritone who had premiered Kindertotenlieder under Mahler's own baton in However, Walter felt that tenor and baritone did not work as well as tenor and alto, and he never repeated the experiment.
Following the pioneering recordings of the work by baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau under conductors Paul Kletzki and Leonard Bernstein , the use of baritones in this work has increased. Arnold Schoenberg began to arrange Das Lied von der Erde for chamber orchestra, reducing the orchestral forces to string and wind quintets, and calling for piano , celesta and harmonium to supplement the harmonic texture.
Three percussionists are also employed.
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Schoenberg never finished this project, but the arrangement was completed by Rainer Riehn in In , the Octavian Society commissioned Glen Cortese to create two reductions of the work, one for a chamber ensemble of twenty instruments and one for a small orchestra with woodwinds and brass in pairs. Both these reductions are published in critical editions by Universal in Vienna. Mahler also arranged the work for piano accompaniment, and this has been recorded by Cyprien Katsaris with Thomas Moser and Brigitte Fassbaender.
Katsaris has also performed this version in concert. Mahler had died six months earlier, on 18 May. One of the earliest performances in London possibly the first occurred in January at the Queen's Hall under conductor Henry Wood , where it was sung by Gervase Elwes and Doris Woodall. Wood reportedly thought that the work was 'excessively modern but very beautiful'. According to the musicologist Theodor W.