Naturlaut is a respected journal of Mahler studies, which has been active for more than a decade. Originally published as a quarterly (March, June, September and December), the schedule shifted in 2009 to two double issues each year. Naturlaut contains new research, reports on performances and conferences, reviews of publications and performances, and other information related to Mahler and his music, as well as other composers of his time or influenced by Mahler.

Why the Name Naturlaut?

Mahler wrote a rather simple phrase over the first bars of his First Symphony, "Wie ein Naturlaut," which can be loosely translated into "as if spoken by nature". The composer claimed it to be the soul of all his symphonic works, as Gabriel Engel stated in his biography, Gustav Mahler: Song Symphonist.

"That Nature embraces everything that is at once awesome, magnificent, and lovable, nobody seems to grasp. It seems so strange to me that most people, when they mention the word Nature in connection with art, imply only flowers, birds, the fragrance of the woods, etc. No one seems to think of the mighty underlying mystery, the god Dionysus, the great Pan; and just that mystery is the burden of my phrase, Wie Ein Naturlaut. That, if anything, is my program, or the secret of my composition." (Mahler was writing this to a prominent critic.) "My music is always the voice of Nature sounding in tone, an idea in reality synonymous with the concept so aptly described by von Bülow as 'the symphonic problem.' The validity of any other sort of 'program' I do not recognize, at any rate, not for my work. If I have now and then affixed titles to some movements of my symphonies I intended them only to assist the listener along some general path of fruitful reaction. But if the clarity of the impression I desire to create seems impossible of attainment without the aid of an actual text, I do not hesitate to use the human voice in my symphonies; for music and poetry together are a combination capable of realizing the most mystic conception. Through them the world, Nature as a whole, is released from its profound silence and opens its lips in song."

This phrase appropriately sums up the attraction and the essence of Mahler's works, hence the name for the journal.

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Index of Items Published in Naturlaut