Hope in Gustav Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder
It will be shown that Mahler’s 'Kindertotenlieder', despite its title, express hope. Although there is a battle going on between themes of light and darkness, throughout the whole song cycle, in the end it is always something connected to light, which ends each of the five songs. Furthermore, these positive endings find their counterpart in the musical endings of the singing parts, namely ending in major with the exception of the first song which ends in minor and the third song ending in a chord without a third. This also shows that there is a progression towards major endings, from the first to the fifth song, which might also resemble the real grief process. As Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder express hope and, as it may even be rational for a sad person to listen to these songs, other pieces of music could be examined to see whether they serve the same rational function, although they do not appear to do so.
Keywords: Hope, Mahler, Kindertotenlieder, Emotion, Rationality
Dr. Marion Ledwig
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Nevada, Las Vegas