Composer of the Week: Mahler

Death of a Daughter

Episode 4 Death of a Daughter



The death of their eldest daughter has a profound effect on Gustav and Alma. Donald Macleod continues the story of their marriage, and its relationship to Mahler's music. Their relationship wasn't always the happiest, the terms he laid down for their marriage were far from fair, and she wasn't always faithful to her husband. But Alma Mahler exerted a powerful fascination on Gustav Mahler, and proved not only an inspiration but also a very practical support for his working and creative life. In today's episode, the event about which Mahler had composed a cycle of songs (Kindertotenlieder or 'songs on the deaths of children') actually happens. The loss of the Mahlers' eldest child is a numbing shock, prompting the couple to seek a change of scene as far away as New York. Alma finds consolation in her unhappiness through dancing with the man whom she would eventually marry. And Gustav will open up his heart on the psychiatrist's couch, when he visits Sigmund Freud. Mahler: Oft denk'ich sie sind nur ausgegangen (Kindertotenlieder). Bryn Terfel (baritone), Philharmonia Orchestra, conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli. Symphony No 7 (4th movement: Nachtlied). Philharmonia Orchestra, conductor Lorin Maazel. Symphony No 1 (2nd movement: Kraftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell). Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, conductor Rafael Kubelik. Symphony No 8 (Part 1). London Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Klaus Tennstedt.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Donald Macleod
Producer Geoff Ballinger