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Main heading: The Music of Gustav Mahler: A Catalogue of Manuscript and Printed Sources [rule] Paul Banks





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'Begegnungen mit Gustav Mahler', Signale für die Musikalische Welt, LXIX/29,18 July 1911, 1028.



Josef Stransky's relative was probably Isaak Stransky, who was 'Oberlehrer der isr. deutschen Privatvolkschule mit Oeffentlichkeitsrecht in Ledetsch', whose contribution as head teacher to the management and education standards was noted by the local school board on 29 September 1891, following an inspection of the establishment. See Prager Tagblatt, XV/289, 21 October 1891, 6.



See Barbara Hermann in the online family tree for details. In 1885 she was one of the two most generous members of the Frauenverein in Cultusgemeinde Ledetsch who supported the Pensionsfund der Kaiser Joseph-Jubiläum-Stiftung für israeli. Lehrer, Religions-Lehrer, deren Witwen und Waisen. (Prager Tagblatt, IX/226, 18 August 1885, Beilage, 7



Trauerhymne auf die Kaiserin Maria Anna (1884)




Trauerhymne auf die Kaiserin Maria Anna


  [May-June 1884]










Printed Editions



[1884.05.04] Empress Maria-Anna died
[1884.05–06] Trauerhymne composed?
[1884.06.??] Work on the Trompeter music begun
[1884.06.??] The score of the Trompeter music completed
1884.06.23 First performance of the Trompeter music in Kassel, conducted by Mahler
1884.06.30 Mahler travelled to Vienna (HLG1a, 218)
1884.07.01–07 Mahler stayed with Fritz Löhr in Perchtoldsdorf (ibid.)
1884.07.08 Mahler returned to Iglau (HLG1a, 219)
1884.07.20 Mahler wrote to Fritz Löhr (GMB2a, No. 29)
1884.[08.??-??] Löhr planned to arrive in Iglau on a Monday evening for an eight-day visit (GMB2a, No. 30)



The only primary source to refer to this work is an anecdote published in 1911 by the conductor Josef Stransky (1872–1936):¹

Als achtjähriger Knabe verbrachte ich meine Schulfereien bei Verwandten in dem böhmischen Städtschen Ledetsch, wo eine Tante Mahlers names Freischberger, die Schwester seiner Mutter, lebt.... die Honoratioren von Ledetsch rechneten es sich zur Ehre an, von Freischberger eingeladen zu werden. Das war mir von meinen Angehörigen eingeschärft worden, und mit ehrfurchtsvoller Erwartung betrat ich daher das Haus, als wir einst zum Nachmittagskafee fort eingeladen waren. Die hagere Frau...erzählte uns voll Stolz gleich beim Kommen, ihr junger Neffe Gustav – schon damals der bewunderte Abgott der Familie – sei mit seinem Freunde zum Besuch gekommen und werde sogelich von einem Spaziergange zurückkehren. Und schon traten die beiden ein.... Mahler stricht mir über's Haar und fragte nach meinem Namen und als ich den gennant, meinte er: „So heißt ja auch der Schullehrer hier am Ort, dem ich die Trauerhymne auf die Kaiserin Maria Anna komponiert habe. Bist du mit dem Schullehrer verwandt?‟ Und als ich das bejahen konnte, hatte ich das Gefühl, als sei damit eine Art Brücke geschlagen von meiner Wenigkeit zu dem bewunderten Manne. (KBM, 170)

When I was eight, I spent my summer holidays with relations in the small Bohemian town of Ledetsch, where an aunt of Mahler's lived. She was his mother's sister, and her house was the most important in the place: the local dignitaries of Ledetsch regarded it as an honour to be invited by Frau Freischberger. My relations made that quite clear to me, and so I was full of awe as I entered the  house, when we were invited for afternoon coffee. The thin lady, ... as soon as we arrived, told us that her young nephew Gustav, who was already the admired idol of the family, had come to see her with a friend, and that they would soon be back from their walk. They came in at that moment....Mahler stroked my hair and asked my name; when I told him, he said, 'You have the same name as the local schoolmaster, for whom I have composed the funeral anthem for the Empress Maria Anna. Are you a relation of his? And as I could say that I was, I felt that a sort of connection had been established between this admired man and my insignificant self.²

(KBME, 171 (revised))


Ledetsch c. 1873 was a relatively small town of about 3000 inhabitants located about 50 km to the north-west of Iglau (pop. c. 20,000: see RGSL, passim; HBRK, 16–17); Mahler's aunt was Frau Barbara Freischberger, née Hermann (1847–1923).³ The reference to Empress Maria-Anna, the widow of the deposed Austrian Emperor Ferdinand, who died on 4 May 1884, offers a terminus post quem for the date of these events: Stransky was eleven years old at the time, and Mahler was working as a conductor at the Königliches Theater in Kassel. Exactly when Mahler was asked to compose the Trauerhymne is not documented, but it was presumably required for some local event to mark her death, so a date in mid/late May-early June seems most probable. By the end of that month Mahler was busy with the more demanding task of preparing the incidental music for Der Trompeter von Sakkingen, and was thereafter itinerant until he arrived back in Iglau on 8 July (see the chronology above). There he was joined in August by Fritz Löhr for an eight-day visit. Later in his reminiscences of the meeting in Ledetsch, Stransky identifies Mahler's companion as Rudolf Krzyzanowski (already also pursuing a career as a conductor of opera), but nevertheless the possibility that it was Löhr who accompanied Mahler should perhaps not be discounted.

The text, scoring and scale of the work are unknown and it cannot be assumed that it was intended solely for performance by pupils at Stransky's school. However, even if the performing forces could be supplemented by, or drawn entirely from the wider community, Mahler may have needed to limit its technical and numerical demands.


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  KBM, 170; KBME, 171; HLG1a, 112; 220
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