Musings on Mahler

From Wind Repertory Project
Gustav Mahler

Gustav Mahler (arr. Thomas Bough)

General Info

Year: 2018
Duration: c. 11:15
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Trumpet and piano
Publisher: Cimarron Music Press
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $120.00


1. Ging Heut Morgen Übers Feld (Went This Morning Over the Field) from Songs of the Wayfarer
2. Die Zwei Blauen Augen (The Two Blue Eyes of My Darling) from Songs of the Wayfarer
3. Wer Hat Dies Liedel Erdacht (Up there on the Hill) from Des Knaben Wunderhorn


Full Score
Solo Trumpet (Cornet, Flugelhorn and Piccolo preferred)
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I
Trombone I-II
Percussion, including:

  • Marimba
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

One of Mahler's favorite books was collection of German folk poetry entitled Das Knaben Wunderhorn. He set a number of these poems to music for solo voice and piano, which he later scored for orchestra. Inspired by these poems, he wrote his own poetry which formed the lyrics of Songs of a Wayfarer, which he also set to music. These two song cycles have become some of his most beloved compositions, and among his most frequently performed works.

This setting, scored for trumpet and band, captures the whimsical nature of German folk song, although the themes are original by Mahler. The composer later incorporated some of these melodies into his orchestral works. At the request of Dr. Mark Ponzo, my colleague from Northern Illinois University, I selected three leider from these two song cycles to be scored for trumpet. As I reflected upon the beautiful melodies, I was inspired to utilize both the lyrical and technical nature of the trumpet to convey Mahler's ideas, while expanding upon them as well.

I am proud to dedicate this music to Mark Ponzo. Mark was one of the very first faculty members to welcome me to NIU in 2005, and he has been a consistent source of encouragement and friendship ever since. As our trumpet professor, Mark has consistently supported my leadership of the wind symphony and the marching band, by encouraging his students to perform in these groups. I am grateful for the many times he has appeared as a soloist with the wind symphony as well. Our shared background as high school band directors has consistently shaped our collective approach to preparing our students to be teachers and players.

We were sharing a press box while judging a marching band show together when we hatched the idea of creating this piece. I was not surprised when Mark suggested that we use Mahler lieder as source material for this project, due to the rich lyrical and harmonic content of the music. I was very surprised when he said he wanted to play cornet, flugel horn, and piccolo trumpet during the course of the piece, in that order, due to the difficulty of switching instruments within a single piece of music. This conversation prompted a wonderful journey of discover as I listened to many hours of Mahler’s music, trying to find songs that fit the nature of the trumpet. Both Mark and my students proved to be valuable collaborators as we worked out the best possible solutions to the challenges provided by the music. I hope the listener is pleased with the results!

- Program Note adapted from Thomas Bough


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Northern Illinois University (DeKalb) Wind Ensemble (Thomas Bough, conductor) – 19 November 2021

Works for Winds by This Composer