N.B. Versions of this work exist in G minor, A minor, and B minor, each with slightly different instrumentation and meter layout.
Duration: c. 5:10
Difficulty: V-VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Cost: Score and Parts - $55.00 | Score Only - $8.00
For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.
A Clarinet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
None discovered thus far.
Um Mitternacht (After Midnight) represents the finest of Mahler’s lieder, and a musically sophisticated audience appreciates his harmonic innovations in this setting. Skilled players are required due to sustained sonorities that expand traditional tonal expectations. Unique effects further distinguish this piece from others in the genre. For example, Mahler instructs the clarinets and oboes with the term herunterzeihen, meaning to pull down pitches by almost two octaves. A vocalist with an expressive, rich lower register would enhance the emotional underpinnings of this Romantic treasure.
- Program Note from Great Music for Wind Band
One of five songs contained in Mahier’s Rückert Lieder, Um Mitternacht is the only song in the set scored for orchestral winds without strings. In fact, it is Mahler’s one and only contribution to the wind repertoire.
Um Mitternacht (At Midnight) recounts the poet’s battle with darkness in both its literal and figurative sense. Three central instrumental motives are introduced in the opening bars and form the foundation for much of the song: a three-note dotted figure in the clarinets; a rising and falling dotted figure in the flute; and an even descending scale in the horns, mirrored by an ascending scale in the voice. Each of the first four stanzas weave these motives in different contexts and modalities, representing the poet’s psychological fear of God, darkness and the earthly realm. The poet’s initial awareness of God is followed by the pursuit to understand the heavenly unknown. The poet then recognizes his or her own humanistic limitations and struggles to fight inherent “afflictions.” This leads to a very different orchestration of the final section: the transcendent moment where the proportion, harmony and grandiosity build into extravagant fruition.
Um Mitternacht is often performed as the last song of the set, due to the triumphant nature of the ending. A translation of Ruckert’s poetry follows:
At midnight, I was roused and looked up to the heavens; No star in the entire sky smiled down upon me at midnight.
At midnight, I cast my thoughts out beyond the dark limits. No vision of light brought me solace at midnight.
At midnight, I was rapt to the beats of my heart; One single pulse of pain welled up at midnight.
At midnight, I fought the battle, of your passion, oh humankind; I could not resolve it with my strength at midnight.
At midnight, I commended my strength into your hands! Lord, over death and life you keep watch at midnight!
- Program Note by Brooke Emery and University of North Texas Wind Ensemble concert program, 23 February 2021
- Audio: Lamont Wind Ensemble (Chris Rigolini, conductor; Jenna Clark, mezzo-soprano)
- Audio CD: Ohio State University Wind Symphony (Russel C. Mikkelson, conductor; Katherine Rohrer, mezzo-soprano) - 2016
- Audio CD: University of Texas Wind Ensemble (Jerry F. Junkin, conductor)
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro) Wind Ensemble (Denny Hawkins, conductor; H. Stephen Smith, soloist) - 23 March 2023
- University of Miami (Fla.) Frost Bands (Robert Carnachan, conductor; Alexandra Coalizzi, mezzo-soprano) - 2 May 2021
- University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Ensemble (Daniel Cook, conductor; Molly Fillmore, soprano) – 23 February 2021
- Houghton (N.Y.) College Wind Ensemble (Timothy McGarvey, conductor; Kimberly Prins Moeller, mezzo) – 1 November 2019
- Temple University (Philadelphia, Penn.) Wind Symphony (Patricia Cornett, conductor; Katherine Leemhuis, mezzo-soprano) – 20 February 2019
- Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Kevin Sedatole, conductor; Jane Bunnell, mezzo-soprano) – 7 February 2019
- University of Southern California (Los Angeles) Thornton Wind Ensemble (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor; Melissa Treinkman, mezzo) - 5 October 2018
- University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) Wind Ensemble (Travis J. Cross, conductor) – 25 April 2018
- University of Miami (Coral Gables) Frost Wind Ensemble (Robert Carnochan, conductor; Robynne Redmon, vocal) – 22 March 2018
- Nazareth College (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Symphony (Jared Chase, conductor; Kate Hannigan, mezzo-soprano) – 8 March 2018 (CBDNA 2018 Eastern Conference, New Haven, Conn.)
- University of Missouri, Kansas City, Wind Symphony (Steven D. Davis, conductor) – 27 February 2018
- University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Wind Symphony (John R. Stewart, conductor; Kathryn Beu, mezzo soprano) - 27 April 2017
- Orchestre à Vent de McGill (Montreal, Quebec) Wind Symphony (Alain Cazes, conductor; Elyse Charlebois, soprano) – 31 March 2016
- Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Thomas E. Caneva, conductor; Jon Truitt, baritone) – 30 October 2015
- The Ohio State University (Columbus) Wind Symphony (Russell Mikkelson, conductor; Katherine Rohrer, soprano)) - 26 March 2015 (2015 CBDNA National Conference, Nashville)
- Colorado Wind Ensemble (Denver) (Alan Mills, conductor) - 14 February 2015
- United States Air Force Band Chamber Ensembles( Peter J. Folliard, conductor; Benjamin Park, baritone) – 19 December 2012 (2012 Midwest Clinic)
- New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble (Charles Peltz, conductor) - 13 October 2011
- Oklahoma State University (Stillwater) Wind Ensemble (Joseph Missal, conductor; Joseph Wiggett, baritone) – 23 February 2001 (CBDNA 2001 National Conference, Denton, Tx.)
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Adagietto (arr. Hautvast) (1902/2002)
- Adagietto from "Symphony No 5" (arr. Shishikura) (1902/2015)
- Blumine (tr. Dohmen) (1884/2020)
- Chorale, March and Coda from "Symphony No 2" (1894/)
- Der Tamboursg’sell (1901)
- Finale from Symphony No. 1 (arr. Mertens) (1888/1996)
- Finale from Symphony No. 1 in D "Titan" (arr. Schneider) (1888/2015)
- Finale from the 3rd Symphony (arr. Mertens) (1894-1896/1985)
- Finale to "Symphony No 3" (arr. Saucedo) (1894-1896/2002)
- Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (arr. Bowlin) (1884/1892/1896/)
- Rückert-Lieder (tr. Andrew J. Putnam) (1901-1902/)
- Movement Four from "Symphony No 4" (arr. Hiller) (1901/2013?)
- Musings on Mahler (arr. Bough) (2018)
- Resurrection Chorale (tr. Austin) (1894/2021)
- Rondo Burleske (arr. Gorb) (1909-1910/2011)
- Sinfonie Nr 7 Rondo Finale (arr. Ishizuya) (1904-1905/2007)
- Symphony No. 1 Finale. See: Finale from Symphony No. 1 in D "Titan"
- Symphony No. 3 (arr. Shaefer, Patterson, Reynolds) (1894-1896/1906/)
- Symphony No 3 Finale (Excerpts) (arr. Reynolds) (1894-96/1971)
- Three Angels Were Singing a Sweet Song (arr. Roach) (1896/2008)
- Um Mitternacht (1901)
- Urlicht (arr. Vertommen) (1894/2008)
- Urlicht (arr. Hanna) (1894/2002)
- Nicholson, Chad. (2009). Great Music for Wind Band: A Guide to the Top 100 Works in Grades IV, V, VI. Galesville, MD: Meredith Music Publications. Pp 65-66.
- Mahler, G. (1984). Sämtliche Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe. Band 14, Teilband 4. Lieder nach Texten von Friedrich Rückert für eine Singstimme mit Orchester [score]. C.F.Kahnt.
- Mahler, G. (2015). Lieder nach Texten von Friedrich Rückert: für Singstimme und Orchester (1901-1905) [Score]. Universal-Edition: Wien.