Fragmenting Monumentality: Discontinuity and Incompleteness in Mahler'S 'Der Abschied'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article I explore the confluence of Gustav Mahler's affiliation with a Jewish minority and his approach to musical form and expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-558
Number of pages52
JournalMusic and Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©lix Guattari's theory of Minor literature with current theories of musical form and analyse selected excerpts from 'Der Abschied', the Finale of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde (1909). While 'Der Abschied' aspires towards monumental expression, it rejects its own realization as a musical monument through musical and textual ambiguities. By means of musical analysis I illustrate how discontinuous and fragmented motion in the musical realm undermines the materialization of apotheotic culminations and negates the interpretative framework of monumentality. Against that background, I then compare Mahler's formal approach to Kafka's poetics-the prototype of 'Minor literature'-and discuss how their 'Minor works' concurrently appropriate and subvert the Romantic concept of monumentality and related constructs.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music


Dive into the research topics of 'Fragmenting Monumentality: Discontinuity and Incompleteness in Mahler'S 'Der Abschied''. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this