Gustav-Mahler.eu

Composed

Pre premiere

Performances by Gustav Mahler

Versions

Publications

1906. Score by Universal Edition (UE) music publishers.

Orchestration

Woodwinds

  • 4 Flutes (all 4 doubling Piccolos)
  • 4 Oboes (Ob. 4 doubling Cor anglais)
  • 3 Clarinets in B-flat, A (Cl. 3 doubling Bass Clarinet)
  • 2 E-flat clarinets (E-flat Cl. 2 doubling B-flat Cl. 4) (E-flat Cl. 1 reinforced in fifth movement when possible)
  • 4 Bassoons (Bsn. 4 doubling Contrabassoon)

Brass

  • 8 Horns in F
  • 4 Trumpets in F, B-flat (if possible 2 extra high trumpets for reinforcement)
  • 4 Trombones
  • Tuba

Percussion

  • Timpani (2 players)
  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Cymbals
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-tam
  • Triangle
  • Rute or "Switch"
  • 2 Glockenspiels (The 2 Glockenspiel parts may be played by two percussionists on one instrument. Today's mallet technique allows the part to be performed by one player holding two mallets in each hand.)

Voices 

On stage

"In the distance"

"In a high gallery"

Strings

"Very large complements of all strings"

  • 2 harps
  • Violins I, II
  • Violas
  • Violoncellos
  • Double basses (Some with low C extensions)

Recordings

The piece is performed in concert less frequently than Mahler's other symphonies, due in part to its great length and the huge forces required. Despite this, it is a popular work and has been recorded by most major orchestras and conductors.

When it is performed, a short interval is sometimes taken between the first movement (which alone lasts around half an hour) and the rest of the piece. This is in agreement with the manuscript copy of the full score (held in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York), where the end of the first movement carries the inscription Folgt eine lange Pause! ("there follows a long pause").The inscription is not found in the score as published.

The final movement was used as background music in one episode of the 1984 television series Call to Glory and on an episode of the BBC's Coast programme, during a description of the history of HMS Temeraire. It also served as background music (in full length) during the "Allegory" segment of the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics opening ceremony cultural show.

A section from the Fourth Movement "Midnight Song" features in Luchino Visconti's 1971 film Death in Venice, where it is presented as the music that Gustav von Aschenbach composes before he dies.

The second movement was arranged by Benjamin Britten in 1941 for a smaller orchestra. This version was published by Boosey & Hawkes as What the Wild Flowers Tell Me in 1950.

The Adagio movement was arranged by Yoon Jae Lee in 2011 for a smaller orchestra. This version was premiered by Ensemble 212 with Lee as conductor in New York on the eve of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Subsequently, Lee arranged the five remaining movements for smaller orchestra as part of his Mahler Chamber Project. The orchestral reduction of the entire symphony was premiered in October 2015 by Ensemble 212, mezzo-soprano Hyona Kim, and the Young New Yorkers' Chorus Women's Ensemble.

NYPO, Lipton, Choir of the Transfiguration, Leonard Bernstein, 06-1989:

      

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990).