Mahler’s 3rd Symphony
When Gustav Mahler first wrote the Symphony #3 around 1890, he provided descriptive titles for each of the movements, and these were taken directly from Nature. It is clear that Mahler was influenced by the great beauty of the area in the vicinity of the Lake Attersee in Austria, where Mahler spent his summers at that time. The titles he chose included:
“What the Flowers on the Meadow Tell Me”, “What the Animals in the Forest Tell Me”, “What the Angels Tell Me”, “What Love Tells Me”, and others.
Later, Mahler decided against providing a “Program”, and substituted other titles for the movements such as:
“Very slowly, mysteriously”, and
“Slowly, tranquil, with deep feeling”
This is one marvelous piece of music. Complete with children’s choir, Alto solo, and a large, diverse orchestra.
This is also a fine recording by one of the great orchestras of the world. The Mahler’s Third requires a performance to be played with a combination of strong energy yet also with great intimacy. Bernard Haitink gives great depth to the performance, bringing out the extraordinary dynamic range of Mahler’s writing. The Chicago Symphony’s strings, winds, and brass sound at their best generating great variety of color and expression.
Listen particularly to the final movement, with its deeply spiritual content.
Here is a brief video of the opening bars of this symphony. There’s a long journey to follow, if you decide to purchase this CD.