- Symphony Number 4
Gustav Mahler begins his Fourth Symphony with the sounds of cowbells. In other works he used all sorts of different percussion instruments, too.
When this music was first performed in the late 1800’s, all of this new stuff infuriated the conservative Viennese public, many of whom angrily criticized his compositions as “trash” and worse.
I visited the site where Mahler composed this music, and I tell you that waking up in the morning to hear these gentle sounds, as the cows move from place to place in the green Austrian meadows is a wonderful experience!
Bernard Haitink is one of the most sought-after Mahler conductors of our day.
The American soprano Maria Ewing is excellent with her interpretation of the soprano solo featured in the work’s Finale.
Here is the wonderful Mahler Symphony No. 4 – a complete performance — with Bernard Haitink, Maria Ewing, and the Concertgebouw orchestra: