Mozart Mahler First Symphony

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As a composer, Mahler lived his life in the shadow of his way more famous friend and equal, Richard Strauss (1864-1949). While the audience in Europe acclaimed Strauss’ tone poems and his operas with enthusiasm, Mahler received recognition as an gumptious director/conductor of the Vienna Court Opera, but remained debatable as a composer. Although Mahler failed to win a recognition as a successful composer during his lifetime, Mahler’s symphonies have become a firmly established part of the orchestral repertoire in America, as well as in many countries of Europe and Asia today. According to German statistics, Mahler ranks high in public favor- below Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, but above Haydn, Dvorak and Tchaikovsky. Today, many people identify …show more content…

The First Symphony represents an extreme case in this regard. The foundation for the first movement is the music from the second piece of cycle Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer):”Ging heat morgen über’s Feld” (“Went this morning across the field”)., which Mahler composed in 1884. The text of this song, expressing an affirmation of life and intimacy of nature, frames the poetic idea in this movement. The second movement is a mixture of länder (a dance), and a waltz. Motifs from the song Hans und Grete of 1880 are planted in this movement. The primary characteristic of the funeral-march third movement may be seen in its changes in mood from one extreme to the other. It quotes the melody from the student round Bruder Martin (Brother Martin, Are You Sleeping) in the first part of the movement. In the lyric middle section (mm.83-112), Mahler adopted the last stanza from the last selection of Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen,- “Die zwei blauen Augen von meiner Schatz” (“The Two Blue Eyes of My Beloved”). The song stanza tells about the repose and forgetfulness that the wearied traveler found under the linden tree. For the Finale, Mahler borrowed various motivic symbols from Franz Liszt(1811-1886)’s Dante Symphony of 1886, as well as the Grail theme from Richard Wagner(1813-1883)’s opera, Parsifal of …show more content…

He continued this practice in developing his Fourth Symphony but extended to the limit. Das himmlische Leben (The Heavenly Life), an orchestral song composed in 1892 in Hamburg, functions not only as the Finale of the Symphony, but also serves as the seed from which the first three movements grow. In a letter that Mahler wrote to Georg Göhler, who at the time was writing an introduction to the Fourth: “Each of the three movements is connected thematically with the last one in the most intimate and meaningful way.” “The Heavenly Life” belonged to a series of five Humoresque. The five stanzas of this folk poem describe the heavenly joys, draw the picture of a heavenly land of milk and honey, and end with praise of the heavenly music: “Kein Musik ist ja night auf Erden, die unsrer verglichen kana warden” (“No music in there on earth that could be compared with ours”). Mahler was so fascinated by this poem, as he pointed out that no less than five movements in the Third and the Fourth developed from this orchestra

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