In rethinking some of my Mahler repertoire for performance and master classes later this year, I am again reminded that Mahler followed Schubert and Schumann in developing the song cycle. Mahler clearly loved a primal expression in the voice, incorporating a potpourri of marvelous themes from "high" and "low" cultures in his song cycles.
Mahler's style stretches from the Classical composers, including the Romantic world as well, with much attention to Beethoven and Wagner. These composers captivated Mahler's interest in creative "development."
Though Mahler never composed an opera, Beethoven's and Wagner's attention to thematic and harmonic originality, and clear musical "development," fascinated Mahler, grasping much of Mahler's creative thinking in regard to his own innovative world of song.