1911 – Gustav Mahler dies

Gustav Mahler was one of the greatest modern composers, generally classified as one of the Late Romantics. He wrote ten symphonies (although he died with the last one unfinished), and numerous other works, and was one of the most respected and popular composers of his era.

Mahler and his wife Alma had moved to New York in 1908, but as his health failed – he suffered from bacterial endocarditis, complicated his defective heart valves, and almost universally fatal before antibiotics – he and Alma returned to Europe. Mahler died in Vienna, and was buried in Grinzing.

Referenced in:
Alma — Tom Lehrer

1911 – Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” is first performed

Das Lied von der Erde – “The Song of the Earth” – is a six movement orchestral composition in which each of the six movements is an independent song (but “Six Songs of the Earth” wouldn’t sounded so good). It was composed by Gustav Mahler, an Austrian composer, and largely inspired by his reading of Hans Bethge’s volume of ancient Chinese poetry rendered into German, Die Chinesische Flöte (“The Chinese Flute”).

It is unusual in that it is a combined form, a song cycle and a symphonic work. It is become one of most well known of all Mahler’s works – and is also widely considered his most personal. And it was never performed prior to his death six months earlier.

Referenced in:

Alma — Tom Lehrer

1911 – Jimmy Sharman’s Boxing Tent begins at the Ardlethan Show

Jimmy Sharman’s Boxing Tent is perhaps the best known – and most notorious – of the various travelling outback boxing shows that once went from town to town in Australia. It put on displays of bare-knuckle boxing as well as occasional bouts where locals could try their luck against the professional boxers.

It was a brutal sport, and often exploitative – but it was also one of the few ways a black man could make a living, albeit a dangerous one that might leave you maimed. The outback boxing circuit flourished for a few decades, but it largely faded away by the time of World War Two.

Referenced in:

Yesterdays — Cold Chisel
Jimmy Sharman’s Boxers — Midnight Oil