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Symphony No. 2 (Mahler)

Symphony No. 2 (Mahler)

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The Symphony No. 2 by Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

, known as the Resurrection, was written between 1888 and 1894, and first performed in 1895. Apart from the Eighth Symphony
Symphony No. 8 (Mahler)
The Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major by Gustav Mahler is one of the largest-scale choral works in the classical concert repertoire. Because it requires huge instrumental and vocal forces it is frequently called the "Symphony of a Thousand", although the work is often performed with fewer than a...

, this symphony was Mahler's most popular and successful work during his lifetime. It is his first major work that would eventually mark his lifelong view of the beauty of afterlife and resurrection. In this large work, the composer further developed the creativity of "sound of the distance" and creating a "world of its own", aspects already seen in his First Symphony
Symphony No. 1 (Mahler)
The Symphony No. 1 in D major by Gustav Mahler was mainly composed between late 1887 and March 1888, though it incorporates music Mahler had composed for previous works. It was composed while Mahler was second conductor at the Leipzig Opera, Germany...

. The work lasts around eighty to ninety minutes.

Origin


Mahler completed what would become the first movement of the symphony in 1888 as a single-movement symphonic poem
Symphonic poem
A symphonic poem or tone poem is a piece of orchestral music in a single continuous section in which the content of a poem, a story or novel, a painting, a landscape or another source is illustrated or evoked. The term was first applied by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt to his 13 works in this vein...

 called Totenfeier (Funeral Rites). Some sketches for the second movement also date from that year. Mahler wavered five years on whether to make Totenfeier the opening movement of a symphony, although his manuscript does label it as a symphony. In 1893, he composed the second and third movements. The finale was the problem. While thoroughly aware he was inviting comparison with Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

's Symphony No. 9
Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)
The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best known works of the Western classical repertoire, and has been adapted for use as the European Anthem...

 (both use a chorus as the centerpiece of a much longer final movement, which begins with references to the earlier movements), Mahler knew he wanted a vocal final movement. Finding the right text for this movement proved long and perplexing.

When Mahler took up his appointment at the Hamburg Opera
Hamburg State Opera
The Hamburg State Opera is one of the leading opera companies in Germany.Opera in Hamburg dates back to 2 January 1678 when the "Opern-Theatrum" was inaugurated with a performance of a biblical Singspiel by Johann Theile...

 in 1891, he found the other important conductor there to be Hans von Bülow
Hans von Bülow
Hans Guido Freiherr von Bülow was a German conductor, virtuoso pianist, and composer of the Romantic era. He was one of the most famous conductors of the 19th century, and his activity was critical for establishing the successes of several major composers of the time, including Richard...

, who was in charge of the city's symphony concerts. Bülow, not known for his generosity, was impressed by Mahler. His support was not diminished by his failure to like or understand Totenfeier when Mahler played it for him on the piano. Bülow told Mahler that Totenfeier made Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde is an opera, or music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner to a German libretto by the composer, based largely on the romance by Gottfried von Straßburg. It was composed between 1857 and 1859 and premiered in Munich on 10 June 1865 with Hans von Bülow conducting...

sound to him like a Haydn symphony. As Bülow's health worsened, Mahler substituted for him. Bülow's death in 1894 greatly affected Mahler. At the funeral, Mahler heard a setting of Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock
Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock
Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock was a German poet.-Biography:Klopstock was born at Quedlinburg, the eldest son of a lawyer.Both in his birthplace and on the estate of Friedeburg on the Saale, which his father later rented, young Klopstock passed a happy childhood; and more attention having been given...

's Die Auferstehung (The Resurrection). "It struck me like lightning, this thing," he wrote to conductor Anton Seidl
Anton Seidl
Anton Seidl was a Hungarian conductor.-Biography:He was born at Pest, Hungary. He began the study of music at a very early age, and when only seven years old could pick out at the piano melodies which he had heard at the theatre...

, "and everything was revealed to me clear and plain." Mahler used the first two verses of Klopstock's hymn, then added verses of his own that dealt more explicitly with redemption and resurrection. He finished the finale and revised the orchestration of the first movement in 1894, then inserted the song Urlicht (Primal Light) as the penultimate movement. This song was probably written in 1892 or 1893.

Mahler devised a narrative programme for the work, which he told to a number of friends. In this programme, the first movement represents a funeral and asks questions such as "Is there life after death?"; the second movement is a remembrance of happy times in the life of the deceased; the third movement represents a view of life as meaningless activity; the fourth movement is a wish for release from life without meaning; and the fifth movement – after a return of the doubts of the third movement and the questions of the first – ends with a fervent hope for everlasting, transcendent renewal, a theme that Mahler would ultimately transfigure into the music of his sublime Das Lied von der Erde
Das Lied von der Erde
Das Lied von der Erde is a large-scale work for two vocal soloists and orchestra by the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler...

.

Publication


The work was first published in 1897 by Friedrich Hofmeister
Friedrich Hofmeister Musikverlag
Friedrich Hofmeister Musikverlag is a publisher of classical music, founded by Friedrich Hofmeister in Leipzig in 1807. Early listings included composers Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt. Hofmeister was the first to publish Mahler's Second Symphony. Pedagogical works, such as...

. The rights were transferred to Josef Weinberger shortly thereafter, and finally to Universal Edition, which released a second edition in 1910. A third edition was published in 1952, and a fourth, critical edition in 1970, both by Universal Edition. As part of the new complete critical edition of Mahler's symphonies being undertaken by the Gustav Mahler Society, a new critical edition of the Second Symphony was produced as a joint venture between Universal Edition and the Kaplan Foundation
Kaplan Foundation
The Kaplan Foundation is a foundation dedicated to the scholarship and preservation of the music of Gustav Mahler set up by amateur conductor and businessman Gilbert Kaplan....

. Its world premiere performance was given on 18 October 2005 at the Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall situated on the northern edge of the South Kensington area, in the City of Westminster, London, England, best known for holding the annual summer Proms concerts since 1941....

 in London with Gilbert Kaplan
Gilbert Kaplan
Gilbert Edmund Kaplan is an American businessman, former journalist and amateur conductor.He founded the magazine Institutional Investor in 1965. He was publisher of the magazine until 1990, and editor-in-chief for three more years, although he sold it in 1984 for $72 million...

 conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is a British orchestra based in London. It tours widely, and is sometimes referred to as "Britain's national orchestra"...

.

Reproductions of earlier editions have been released by Dover and by Boosey & Hawkes. The Kaplan Foundation published an extensive facsimile edition with additional materials in 1986.

1899 saw the publication of an arrangement
Arrangement
The American Federation of Musicians defines arranging as "the art of preparing and adapting an already written composition for presentation in other than its original form. An arrangement may include reharmonization, paraphrasing, and/or development of a composition, so that it fully represents...

 by Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter was a German-born conductor. He is considered one of the best known conductors of the 20th century. Walter was born in Berlin, but is known to have lived in several countries between 1933 and 1939, before finally settling in the United States in 1939...

 for piano four-hands.

Instrumentation


The symphony
Symphony
A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, scored almost always for orchestra. A symphony usually contains at least one movement or episode composed according to the sonata principle...

 is written for an orchestra
Orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

, a mixed choir
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

, two soloists (soprano
Soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

 and contralto
Contralto
Contralto is the deepest female classical singing voice, with the lowest tessitura, falling between tenor and mezzo-soprano. It typically ranges between the F below middle C to the second G above middle C , although at the extremes some voices can reach the E below middle C or the second B above...

), organ
Organ (music)
The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

, and an offstage ensemble
Offstage brass and percussion
An offstage brass and percussion part is a sound effect used in Classical music, which is created by having one or more trumpet players , horn players, or percussionists from a symphony orchestra or opera orchestra play a note, melody, or rhythm from behind the stage...

 of brass
Brass instrument
A brass instrument is a musical instrument whose sound is produced by sympathetic vibration of air in a tubular resonator in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips...

 and percussion. The use of two tam-tams, one pitched high and one low, is particularly unusual; the end of the last movement features them struck in alternation repeatedly.

Woodwinds:
4 Flute
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

s (all four doubling Piccolo
Piccolo
The piccolo is a half-size flute, and a member of the woodwind family of musical instruments. The piccolo has the same fingerings as its larger sibling, the standard transverse flute, but the sound it produces is an octave higher than written...

s)
4 Oboe
Oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

s (3rd and 4th oboe doubling English Horns)
3 Clarinet
Clarinet
The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

s in B-flat, A, C (3rd clarinet doubling Bass Clarinet
Bass clarinet
The bass clarinet is a musical instrument of the clarinet family. Like the more common soprano B clarinet, it is usually pitched in B , but it plays notes an octave below the soprano B clarinet...

)
2 E-flat Clarinets (2nd E-flat clarinet doubling 4th clarinet in B-flat and A)
4 Bassoon
Bassoon
The bassoon is a woodwind instrument in the double reed family that typically plays music written in the bass and tenor registers, and occasionally higher. Appearing in its modern form in the 19th century, the bassoon figures prominently in orchestral, concert band and chamber music literature...

s (3rd and 4th Bassoon doubling Contrabassoon
Contrabassoon
The contrabassoon, also known as the double bassoon or double-bassoon, is a larger version of the bassoon, sounding an octave lower...

)


Brass
Brass instrument
A brass instrument is a musical instrument whose sound is produced by sympathetic vibration of air in a tubular resonator in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips...

:
10 French Horns
Horn (instrument)
The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

 in F, four (7-10) also used offstage (preferably more)
8-10 Trumpet
Trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

s in F and C, four to six used offstage
4 Trombone
Trombone
The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. Like all brass instruments, sound is produced when the player’s vibrating lips cause the air column inside the instrument to vibrate...

s
Tuba
Tuba
The tuba is the largest and lowest-pitched brass instrument. Sound is produced by vibrating or "buzzing" the lips into a large cupped mouthpiece. It is one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra, first appearing in the mid-19th century, when it largely replaced the...



Percussion:
(Requires total of seven players)
Timpani
Timpani
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...

 (2 players and 8 timpani, with a third player in the last movement using two of the second timpanist's drums)
Several Snare Drum
Snare drum
The snare drum or side drum is a melodic percussion instrument with strands of snares made of curled metal wire, metal cable, plastic cable, or gut cords stretched across the drumhead, typically the bottom. Pipe and tabor and some military snare drums often have a second set of snares on the bottom...

s
Bass Drum
Bass drum
Bass drums are percussion instruments that can vary in size and are used in several musical genres. Three major types of bass drums can be distinguished. The type usually seen or heard in orchestral, ensemble or concert band music is the orchestral, or concert bass drum . It is the largest drum of...

Cymbal
Cymbal
Cymbals are a common percussion instrument. Cymbals consist of thin, normally round plates of various alloys; see cymbal making for a discussion of their manufacture. The greater majority of cymbals are of indefinite pitch, although small disc-shaped cymbals based on ancient designs sound a...

s
Triangle
Triangle (instrument)
The triangle is an idiophone type of musical instrument in the percussion family. It is a bar of metal, usually steel but sometimes other metals like beryllium copper, bent into a triangle shape. The instrument is usually held by a loop of some form of thread or wire at the top curve...

Glockenspiel
Glockenspiel
A glockenspiel is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal plates or tubes, and making it a metallophone...

3 deep, untuned steel rods or bells
Chime
-Musical instrument or tone:* Chime , an array of large bells, typically housed in a tower and played from a keyboard.** An instrument of this kind with 23 bells or more is known as a carillon...

Rute
Rute (music)
The rute is a beater for drums. Commercially-made rutes are usually made of a bundle of thin birch dowels or thin canes attached to a drumstick handle. These often have a movable band to adjust how tightly the dowels are bound toward the tip. A rute may also be made of a bundle of twigs attached...

, or "switch", to be played on the shell of the bass drum
2 Tam-tams (high and low)
Offstage Percussion
Offstage brass and percussion
An offstage brass and percussion part is a sound effect used in Classical music, which is created by having one or more trumpet players , horn players, or percussionists from a symphony orchestra or opera orchestra play a note, melody, or rhythm from behind the stage...

 in Movement 5:
Bass drum with cymbals attached (played by the same percussionist), Triangle, Timpano


Keyboards
Keyboard instrument
A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument which is played using a musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano. Other widely used keyboard instruments include organs of various types as well as other mechanical, electromechanical and electronic instruments...

:
Organ
Organ (music)
The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

 (used in fifth movement only)


Voices
Vocal music
Vocal music is a genre of music performed by one or more singers, with or without instrumental accompaniment, in which singing provides the main focus of the piece. Music which employs singing but does not feature it prominently is generally considered instrumental music Vocal music is a genre of...

:
Soprano
Soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

 Solo (used in fifth movement only)
Alto Solo (sometimes credited as and sung by a mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano
A mezzo-soprano is a type of classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and the contralto singing voices, usually extending from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above...

) (used in fourth & fifth movements only)
Mixed Chorus
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

 (used in fifth movement only)


Strings
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

:
Harp
Harp
The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicularly to the soundboard. Organologically, it is in the general category of chordophones and has its own sub category . All harps have a neck, resonator and strings...

s I, II (several to each part in the last movement and possibly at one point in the Scherzo)

"The largest possible contingent of strings"
First and Second Violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

s
Viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

s
Violoncellos
Double bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

es (some with low C extension).

Form


The work in its finished form has five movements:
  1. Allegro maestoso
    Musically, the first movement – written in C minor – though passing through a number of different moods, often resembles a funeral march
    Funeral march
    A funeral march is a march, usually in a minor key, in a slow "simple duple" metre, imitating the solemn pace of a funeral procession. Some such marches are often considered appropriate for use during funerals and other sombre occasions, the most well-known being that of Chopin...

    , and is violent and angry.
    The form of this movement is somewhat similar to a Classical Sonata form. The exposition is repeated in a varied form (from rehearsal letter 4 through 15, as often does Beethoven in his Late Quartets). The development presents several ideas that will be used later in the symphony, including a theme based on the Dies Irae
    Dies Irae
    Dies Irae is a thirteenth century Latin hymn thought to be written by Thomas of Celano . It is a medieval Latin poem characterized by its accentual stress and its rhymed lines. The metre is trochaic...

     plainchant.
    Mahler uses a somewhat modified tonal framework for the movement. The secondary theme, first presented in E major (enharmony of Fb major, neapolitan of Mib), begins its second statement in C major, a key in which it is not expected until the recapitulation. The statement in the recapitulation, coincidentally, is in the original E major (Fb major). The eventual goal of the symphony, E-flat major, is briefly hinted at after rehearsal 17, with a theme in the trumpets that returns in the finale.
    Following this movement, Mahler calls in the score for a gap of five minutes before the second movement. This pause is rarely observed today. Often conductors will meet Mahler half way, pausing for a few minutes while the audience takes a breather and settles down and the orchestra retunes in preparation for the rest of the piece. Julius Buths
    Julius Buths
    Julius Buths was a German pianist, conductor and minor composer. He was particularly notable in his early championing of the works of Edward Elgar in Germany. He conducted the continental European premieres of both the Enigma Variations and The Dream of Gerontius...

     received this instruction from Mahler personally, prior to a 1903 performance in Düsseldorf
    Düsseldorf
    Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

    ; however, he chose instead to place the long pause between the fourth and fifth movements, for which Mahler congratulated him on his insight, sensitivity, and daring to go against his stated wishes.
  2. Andante moderato
    The second movement is a delicate Ländler
    Ländler
    The ländler is a folk dance in 3/4 time which was popular in Austria, south Germany and German Switzerland at the end of the 18th century.It is a dance for couples which strongly features hopping and stamping...

     in A-flat major with two contrasting sections of slightly darker music. This slow movement itself is contrasting to the two adjacent movements. Structurally, it is one of the simplest movements in Mahler's whole output. It is the remembrance of the joyful times in the life of the deceased.
  3. In ruhig fließender Bewegung (With quietly flowing movement)
    The third movement is a scherzo
    Scherzo
    A scherzo is a piece of music, often a movement from a larger piece such as a symphony or a sonata. The scherzo's precise definition has varied over the years, but it often refers to a movement which replaces the minuet as the third movement in a four-movement work, such as a symphony, sonata, or...

     in C minor
    C minor
    C minor is a minor scale based on C, consisting of the pitches C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. The harmonic minor raises the B to B. Changes needed for the melodic and harmonic versions of the scale are written in with naturals and accidentals as necessary.Its key signature consists of three flats...

    . It opens with two strong, short timpani
    Timpani
    Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...

     strokes. It is followed by two softer strokes, and then followed by even softer strokes that provide the tempo
    Tempo
    In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

     to this movement, which includes references to Jewish folk music. Mahler called the climax of the movement, which occurs near the end, sometimes a "cry of despair", and sometimes a "death-shriek". The movement is based on Mahler's setting of "Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt" from "Des Knaben Wunderhorn", which Mahler composed almost concurrently. (This movement was the basis for the third movement of Luciano Berio
    Luciano Berio
    Luciano Berio, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was an Italian composer. He is noted for his experimental work and also for his pioneering work in electronic music.-Biography:Berio was born at Oneglia Luciano Berio, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (October 24, 1925 – May 27, 2003) was an Italian...

    's "Sinfonia
    Sinfonia (Berio)
    Sinfonia is a composition by the Italian composer Luciano Berio which was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for its 125th anniversary...

    ", where it is used as the framework for adding, collage-like, a great many quotations and references to other scores.)
  4. Urlicht (Primeval Light). Sehr feierlich, aber schlicht
    The fourth movement, Urlicht, is a Wunderhorn song, sung by an alto, which serves as an introduction to the Finale in a manner similar to the bass recitative in Beethoven's Ninth. The song, set in the remote key of D-flat major, illustrates the longing for relief from worldly woes, leading without a break to the response in the Finale.
  5. Im Tempo des Scherzos (In the tempo
    Tempo
    In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

     of the scherzo)
    The finale is the longest, typically lasting over half an hour. It is divided into two large parts, the second of which begins with the entry of the chorus and whose form is governed by the text of this movement. The first part is instrumental, and very episodic, containing a wide variety of moods, tempi and keys, with much of the material based on what has been heard in the previous movements, although it also loosely follows sonata principles. New themes introduced are used repeatedly and altered.
    The movement opens with a long introduction, beginning with the "cry of despair" that was the climax of the third movement, followed by the quiet presentation of a theme which re-appears as structural music in the choral section, and by a call in the offstage horns. The first theme group reiterates the "Dies Irae" theme from the first movement, and then introduces the "resurrection" theme to which the chorus will sing their first words, and finally a fanfare. The second theme is a long orchestral recitative, which provides the music for the alto solo in the choral section. The exposition concludes with a re-statement of the first theme group. This long opening section serves to introduce a number of themes, which will become important in the choral part of the finale.
    The development section is what Mahler calls the "march of the dead". It begins with two long drum rolls, which include the use of the gongs, In addition to developing the Dies Irae and resurrection themes and motives from the opening cry of despair, this section also states, episodically, a number of other themes, based on earlier material. The recapitulation overlaps with the march, and only brief statements of the first theme group are re-stated. The orchestral recitative is fully recapitulated, and is accompanied this time by offstage interruptions from a band of brass and percussion. This builds to a climax, which leads into a re-statement of the opening introductory section. The horn call is expanded into Mahler's "Great Summons", a transition into the choral section.
    Tonally, this first large part, the instrumental half of the movement, is organized in F minor. After the introduction, which recalls two keys from earlier movements, the first theme group is presented wholly in F minor, and the second theme group in the subdominant, B-flat minor. The re-statement of the first theme group occurs in the dominant, C major. The development explores a number of keys, including the mediant, A-flat major, and the parallel major, F major. Unlike the first movement, the second theme is recapitulated as expected in the tonic key. The re-statement of the introduction is thematically and tonally a transition to the second large part, moving from C-sharp minor to the parallel D-flat major — the dominant of F-sharp minor — in which the Great Summons is stated.. The Epiphany comes in, played by the flute, in a high register, and featuring trumpets, that play offstage. The choral section begins in G-flat major.
    The chorus comes in quietly a little past the halfway point of the movement. The choral section is organized primarily by the text, using musical material from earlier in the movement. (The B-flat below the bass clef occurs four times in the choral bass part: three at the chorus' hushed entrance and again on the words "Hör' auf zu beben". It is the lowest vocal note in standard classical repertoire. Mahler instructs basses incapable of singing the note remain silent rather than sing the note an octave higher.) Each of the first two verses is followed by an instrumental interlude; the alto and soprano solos, "O Glaube", based on the recitative melody, precede the fourth verse, sung by the chorus; and the fifth verse is a duet for the two soloists. The opening two verses are presented in G-flat major, the solos and the fourth verse in B-flat minor (the key in which the recitative was originally stated), and the duet in A-flat major. The goal of the symphony, E-flat major, the relative major of the opening C minor, is achieved when the chorus picks up the words from the duet, "Mit Flügeln", although after eight measures the music gravitates to G major (but never cadences on it).
    E-flat suddenly re-enters with the text "Sterben werd' ich um zu leben," and a proper cadence finally occurs on the downbeat of the final verse, with the entrance of the heretofore silent organ (marked "volles Werk") and with the choir instructed to sing "mit höchster Kraft" (with highest power). The instrumental coda is in this ultimate key as well, and is accompanied by the tolling of deep bells. Mahler went so far as to purchase actual church bells for performances, finding all other means of achieving this sound unsatisfactory. Mahler wrote of this movement: "The increasing tension, working up to the final climax, is so tremendous that I don’t know myself, now that it is over, how I ever came to write it."

Text


Note: This text has been translated from the original German text from Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Des Knaben Wunderhorn is a collection of German folk poems edited by Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano, and published in Heidelberg, in the Grand Duchy of Baden, between 1805 and 1808...

to English on a very literal and line-for-line basis, without regard for the preservation of meter or rhyming patterns.

Fourth Movement









Original German

Urlicht
O Röschen rot!
Der Mensch liegt in größter Not!
Der Mensch liegt in größter Pein!
Je lieber möcht' ich im Himmel sein.
Da kam ich auf einen breiten Weg:
Da kam ein Engelein und wollt’ mich abweisen.
Ach nein! Ich ließ mich nicht abweisen!
Ich bin von Gott und will wieder zu Gott!
Der liebe Gott wird mir ein Lichtchen geben,
Wird leuchten mir bis in das ewig selig Leben!

In English

Primeval Light
O red rose!
Man lies in greatest need!
Man lies in greatest pain!
How I would rather be in heaven.
There came I upon a broad path
when came a little angel and wanted to turn me away.
Ah no! I would not let myself be turned away!
I am from God and shall return to God!
The loving God will grant me a little light,
Which will light me into that eternal blissful life!


Fifth Movement


Note: The first eight lines were taken from the poem Die Auferstehung by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock
Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock
Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock was a German poet.-Biography:Klopstock was born at Quedlinburg, the eldest son of a lawyer.Both in his birthplace and on the estate of Friedeburg on the Saale, which his father later rented, young Klopstock passed a happy childhood; and more attention having been given...

. Mahler omitted the final four lines of this poem and wrote the rest himself (beginning at "O glaube").






Original German

Aufersteh'n, ja aufersteh'n
Wirst du, Mein Staub,
Nach kurzer Ruh'!
Unsterblich Leben! Unsterblich Leben
wird der dich rief dir geben!

Wieder aufzublüh'n wirst du gesät!
Der Herr der Ernte geht
und sammelt Garben
uns ein, die starben!

O glaube, mein Herz, o glaube:
Es geht dir nichts verloren!
Dein ist, ja dein, was du gesehnt!
Dein, was du geliebt,
Was du gestritten!

O glaube
Du wardst nicht umsonst geboren!
Hast nicht umsonst gelebt, gelitten!

Was entstanden ist
Das muß vergehen!
Was vergangen, auferstehen!
Hör' auf zu beben!
Bereite dich zu leben!

O Schmerz! Du Alldurchdringer!
Dir bin ich entrungen!
O Tod! Du Allbezwinger!
Nun bist du bezwungen!

Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen,
In heißem Liebesstreben,
Werd'ich entschweben
Zum Licht, zu dem kein Aug' gedrungen!
Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen
Werde ich entschweben.
Sterben werd' ich, um zu leben!
Aufersteh'n, ja aufersteh'n
wirst du, mein Herz, in einem Nu!
Was du geschlagen
zu Gott wird es dich tragen!

In English

Rise again, yes, rise again,
Will you My dust,
After a brief rest!
Immortal life! Immortal life
Will He who called you, give you.

To bloom again were you sown!
The Lord of the harvest goes
And gathers in, like sheaves,
Us together, who died.

O believe, my heart, O believe:
Nothing to you is lost!
Yours is, yes yours, is what you desired
Yours, what you have loved
What you have fought for!

O believe,
You were not born for nothing!
Have not for nothing, lived, suffered!

What was created
Must perish,
What perished, rise again!
Cease from trembling!
Prepare yourself to live!

O Pain, You piercer of all things,
From you, I have been wrested!
O Death, You masterer of all things,
Now, are you conquered!

With wings which I have won for myself,
In love’s fierce striving,
I shall soar upwards
To the light which no eye has penetrated!
Its wing that I won is expanded,
and I fly up.
Die shall I in order to live.
Rise again, yes, rise again,
Will you, my heart, in an instant!
That for which you suffered,
To God will it lead you!


Tonality


The symphony's first movement is in C minor, and the finale concludes in E major, the relative major
Relative key
In music, relative keys are the major and minor scales that have the same key signatures. A major and minor scale sharing the same key signature are said to be in a relative relationship...

 of C minor. Thus, the work exhibits progressive tonality
Progressive tonality
Progressive tonality is the name given to the compositional practice whereby a piece of music does not finish in the key in which it began, but instead 'progresses' to an ending in a different key...

; as a result, a titular description in terms of a single key is not realistic, and is not found in serious works of reference.

The symphony is sometimes described as being in the key of C minor; the 'New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians', however, represents the progressive tonal scheme by labelling the work's tonality as 'c--E'

Premieres

  • World premiere (first three movements only): March 4, 1895, Berlin
    Berlin
    Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

    , with the composer conducting the Berlin Philharmonic.
  • World premiere (complete): December 13, 1895, Berlin, conducted by the composer.
  • Dutch premiere: October 26, 1904, Amsterdam
    Amsterdam
    Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

    , with the composer conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra
    Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is a symphony orchestra of the Netherlands, based at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In 1988, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands conferred the "Royal" title upon the orchestra...

    .
  • American premiere: December 8, 1908, New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

    , conducted by the composer with the New York Symphony Orchestra
    New York Symphony Orchestra
    The New York Symphony Orchestra was founded as the New York Symphony Society in New York City by Leopold Damrosch in 1878. For many years it was a fierce rival to the older Philharmonic Symphony Society of New York. It was supported by Andrew Carnegie who built Carnegie Hall expressly for the...

    .
  • Recording premiere: 1924, Oskar Fried
    Oskar Fried
    Oskar Fried was a German conductor and composer. An admirer of Gustav Mahler, Fried was the first conductor to record a Mahler symphony...

     conducting the Berlin State Opera Orchestra
    Staatskapelle Berlin
    The Staatskapelle Berlin is a German orchestra, the orchestra of the Berlin State Opera .The orchestra traces its roots to 1570, when Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg established an orchestra at his court...

    .
  • British premiere: April 16, 1931, London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

    , conducted by Bruno Walter
    Bruno Walter
    Bruno Walter was a German-born conductor. He is considered one of the best known conductors of the 20th century. Walter was born in Berlin, but is known to have lived in several countries between 1933 and 1939, before finally settling in the United States in 1939...

    .

External links


Sources

  • Steinberg, Michael
    Michael Steinberg (music critic)
    Michael Steinberg was an American music critic, musicologist, and writer. Born in Breslau, Germany , Steinberg left Germany as one of the Kindertransport child refugees...

    , The Symphony (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995). ISBN 0-19-506177-2.