The MGM logo: a hand-drawn cartoon of Mahler at the podium, glaring at the audience

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





Instrumental Works


Vocal Works


Unfinished Works


Lost and Spurious Works






Mahler's Publishers


Supplementary Essays




Using the Catalogue


Conventions & Abbreviations




Index of Works


Site Map












Index to this page
















Printed editions


Performance History








Related Work


Critical Edition







It should be noted that Bauer-Lechner dates this relationship to the period of Mahler's studies at the Conservatoire (1875–1878).



See GMNUB, 52–65 (this includes an extended introduction and transcriptions of Mahler's correspondence with the Poisl family), HLG1, 62–7 and HLG1a, 139ff. The first two sources above include the assertion (probably originating with Justine) that Julius was twenty years older than than his bride. However, if Josephine was born in 1860, as reported in some sources, the age difference was about 8 years.



Julius Wallner, 'Beiträge zur Geschichte der Laibacher Maler und Bildhauer in XVII. und XVIII. Jahrhunderts', Mittheilungen des Musealvereines für Krain, 3 (1890), 103–39.





























Lieder für Tenorstimme



  5 Lieder für Tenorstimme


  Im Lenz: 19 Februar 1880; Winterlied: 27 Februar 1880; Maitanz im Grünen: 5 März 1880


  The voice ranges at notated pitch use Helmholtz notation and show pitches for which Mahler provides an ossia in parentheses; the timings are derived from PFMD2.
    Key Range Duration


Im Lenz

C major–DGraphic symbol representing a flat signv

e'–a" (b", c''')




A major–F major

eGraphic symbol representing a flat sign'–bGraphic symbol representing a flat sign"



Maitanz im Grünen

D major


c. 2:30


[See the notes below]



[See the notes below]



  Josephinen zueiggnet


  The manuscript contains no attributions for the texts, which were probably by the composer


  Tenor and Piano


  Autograph fair copy (CDN-Lu Mahler-Rosé Collection, OS-MD-684)

Printed Editions

  First published in SWXIII/5 (1990; see below)
Performance history

The first confirmed performance of the three completed songs appears to have been broadcast in Radio Brünn on 30 September 1934; they were sung by Zdeněk Knittl, accompanied by Alfred Rosé (DM1, 119).

1880.02.19 ‘Im Lenz’ completed
1880.02.27 ‘Winterlied’ completed


‘Maitanz im Grünen’ completed; Mahler sent a copy of a poem, Vergessene Liebe, to Anton Krisper (GMB2a, 36–8)

1880.03.18 Mahler may have sent copies of the three completed songs to Josephine Poisl in anticipation of the first day of Spring (21 March) (GMNUB, 59)


Short score of Der Spielmann (incorporating part of ‘Im Lenz’) completed

1886.04.19 A revised version of ‘Maitanz im Grünen’ performed as ‘Hans und Grete’ in Prague


Motives from ‘Maitanz im Grünen’ incorporated into the scherzo of the First Symphony


‘Hans und Grete’ published by Schott in volume 1 of the Lieder und Gesänge




The dedicatee of these songs - named simply ‘Josephine' on the title page - was first identified in 1921 in an article by Dr Rudolf Stephan Hoffmann (RSHUJM). As he makes clear, he was given access to the manuscript of the collection by its owner, Frau Justine Rosé, Mahler's sister, and it appears that in thanks for this he sent her a proof copy of the article (CDN-Lu Mahler-Rose Collection OS-MD-698).  It was presumably Justine who provided the little information he was able to divulge about 'Josephine':

[Die drei Lieder] verdankt ihr Enstehen einer Jugendleidenschaft für die, der die Widmung galt. Es war ein Fräulein Josephine Poisl, von der ich nichts weiter weiß, als daß sie die Tochter des Beamten, der damals in Iglau dem Postamt vorstand, daß sie später geheiratet hat, und „schon lang in der Ferne weilt”, aus der es keine Wiederkeht gibt. 

The three songs owe their existence to a youthful passion for the recipient of the dedication. This was a Miss Josephine Poisl, of who I know nothing beyond the fact that she was the daughter of an official who at that time worked at the Post Office in Iglau, that she later married, and 'for some time has wandered in the distance place', from which there is no return.

Mahler had taught the sisters Josefa and Anna Poisl piano in the summer of 1879, and from this his infatuation grew (HLG1a, 140ff.). Another reference to this relationship can be found in Natalie Bauer-Lechner's important letter to Hans Riel, written in February 1917 (transcription and translation from NBLMW, 21–22):¹

Wie ich durch Albine Adler erfuhr, soll Mahler’s erste Liebe, zur Tochter des Iglauer Postmeisters, ein äußerst lebendige & innige gewesen sein.* Sie spielte sich in den heimischen Ferien zur Wiener-Konservatoriumszeit ab. Ich erinnere mich nur, daß mir Gustav einmal von dem Verhältnis zu einem Iglauer-Mädchen sagte‒was sich wahrscheinlich darauf bezog‒„Und solche gesunde Lebensfreude &-Erfüllung war nur dazu da, dem jungen Menschen die notwendige Nahrung zuzuführen, welche er zur kräftigen Entwicklung seines Körpers & Geistes brauchte.‟


*Albine Adler [1870–1928], die intimiste Jugendfreundin Justi Mahler, war dem Mahler'schen Hause treuest unhänglich. Doch stand sie völlig im Bann Justinens, mit der sie, ohne Wahl durch dich & dünn ging. Erst nach Mahlers Tod schwang sich Albi zu einiger Selbständigkeit auf.

As I found out from Albine Adler, Mahler's first love—for the daughter of the Iglau postmaster—was apparently very vibrant and deeply felt.* This took its course during his vacations at home while attending the Vienna Conservatory. I only remember that Gustav once told me about a relationship with a girl from Iglau, which probably referred to this, saying "And such healthy love of life and fulfilment was only there in order to provide the young man with the necessary nourishment that he needed for the firm development of his body and mind."


*Albine Adler, Justi Mahler's closest girlhood friend, was most devoted to the Mahler household, yet she was fully under the spell of Justine, whom she loyally and blindly followed through thick and thin. Only after Mahler's death was Albi able to achieve a certain degree of independence.

Despite the later, ostensibly rather patronising and patriarchal recollections that Natalie reports, it is possible that for Mahler, at least, the love affair was serious: he kept a collection of letters and other documents connected with it for the rest of his life. (see HLG1a, 139–140).

However, Frl. Poisl's father, Josef, did not consider Mahler a suitable suitor for his daughter, and in June wrote to Mahler forbidding him to write to her. Shortly afterwards she married Julius Wallner (b.1852), a teacher at the Staatsgymnasium in Iglau, who went on to have a successful professional career, and together they had at least three children.²  By the late 1880s he had moved to Laibach where he was professor at the Obergymnasium until the announcement on 13 July 1894 that he would return to Iglau to take over as Director of the Staatsgymnasium; five years later a further promotion beckoned when, in September 1899 he was appointed Director of the German-language Gymnasium in Brünn. Alongside his professional work Wallner was also an amateur historian who undertook research in a number of areas, including the early history of education in Iglau and 17th and 18th-century painters and sculptors in Laibach.³ From 1887/8 he was for many years a corresponding member of the Centralkommission für Kunst- und historische Denkmale and prepared at least two reports on archives and monastic buildings in Croatia published by the Commission. After his retirement (1906, with the honorary title of Regierungsrat) Wallner moved to Graz and died there, in his 63rd year, on 18 March 1914. Unfortunately recent research has not shed any further light on Josephine herself, or established the date of her death. However there is some evidence that might offer clues about her later life. In August 1896 Julius and his (unnamed) wife registered as guests at the Gasthof zum Wilden Mann at Bad Ischl, an indication that they had achieved at least modest middle-class affluence; at the time Mahler was 22 kilometres away, at Steinbach am Attersee where he had completed the draft of the Third Symphony earlier in the summer. Six years later, in August 1902, Wallner again stayed in Ischl, this time at the Hôtel dem schwarzen Adler, but not with his wife, only one of his sons. There could be have been many reasons for Josephine's absence, but, particularly in light of Hoffmann's reference, it seems possible that she had died in the intervening period: she was not listed with Wallner for any of his subsequent summer visits to resorts. In the light of recent research it is striking how the circumstances of the composition of these songs parallel that of a group of five songs composed by Rudolf Krzyzanowski at about the same time and were for a time erroneously attributed to Mahler.

Franz Willnauer's suggestion that the Frühlingsboten (Spring greetings) that Mahler told Josephine he was sending her in a letter dated 18 March 1880, were in fact the three completed songs of the collection, is not wholly implausible. However, if the sole surviving manuscript was that gift,  how did it end up in Justine's possession? If it was not, then there must have been another autograph manuscript.

Jeremy Barham has conjectured that the two other poems Mahler appears to have written in early 1880 – Vergessene Liebe and „Kam ein Sonnenstrahl‟ (see HLG1, 824–26 and the transcriptions included with the texts of the first three songs) – were intended for the projected fourth and fifth songs but were never composed because of the abrupt ending of his relationship with Josephine (JBJE, 56).

Vocal Range

Taken together the songs demand a tenor with a wide compass: (at sounding pitch) from A ('Maitanz im Grünen') to bGraphic: flat sign' ('Winterlied') or c'' if the ossia is taken in 'Im Lenz'.

Related Work

‘Im Lenz’ shares an extended passage with Das klagende Lied: bb. 14–27 of the song make their first appearance (a fifth lower in pitch) in bb. 302–14 (1880)/bb. 294–307 (1902) of Der Spielmann, and is heard again in bb. 202–207 (1880)/bb. 200–205 (1902) of Hochzeitsstück.


Music example showing bars 13 to 27

music example showing bars 294-307 of Das klagende Lied: Der Spielmann

music example showing bars 294-307 of Das klagende Lied: Der Speilmann

Fig. 1a

Im Lenz, bb. 13–27

Fig. 1b

Das klagende Lied: Der Spielmann (PV1, 1902), bb. 294–307

The autograph short score of this movement (Das klagende Lied, SS2)  is dated 21 March 1880, so it seems likely that the passage was first conceived in the context of the song.

The last completed song, 'Maitanz im Grünen', was subsequently transposed upwards and revised to become 'Hans und Grete', the third song in volume I of the Lieder und Gesänge, published in 1892. Because the original song had an usually wide vocal range – A-a' (sounding pitch) – Mahler had to modify the higher passages when transposing the song.

Critical Edition

SWXIII/5: Gustav Mahler, Verscheidene Lieder für eine Singstimme mit Klavier, Sämtliche Werke, Kritische Gesamtausgabe, Band XIII Teilband 5, ed. Zoltan Roman ([S.l.]: Schott, 1990)

Select Bibliography

  PRML, 49–51; JBJE, 56–8; HLG1a, 139ff.
Level A conformance icon, 
          W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Creative Commons Licence

ORCID logo and link to author's page © 2007-21 Paul Banks  |  This page was lasted edited on 17 February 2022