Mahler's 5th Symphony
July 4, 2015 7:20 AM   Subscribe

I had never heard of Mahler, thanks for posting this and happy 4th!
posted by clavdivs at 7:30 AM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Another long exhausting day,
Another thousand dollars,
A matinee, a Pinter play,
Perhaps a piece of Mahler's.
I'll drink to that.
And one for Mahler!

-Stephen Sondheim, "The Ladies Who Lunch"
posted by hippybear at 7:45 AM on July 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also, here's a piano roll of Mahler himself playing a transcription of the first movement.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:14 AM on July 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

Ahhhh, Bernstein and Mahler. Surprised it was not mentioned -- Bernstein is buried with the score of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony placed over his heart. (Alternate citation.)

Also, Mahler 5 and the New York Philharmonic have a historic relationship. "Bernstein led the Philharmonic in the Adagietto from Mahler's Symphony No. 5 at Robert Kennedy's funeral in St. Patrick's Cathedral on June 8, 1968, and Pierre Boulez conducted the same movement in recognition of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's death in 1969. "

Speaking of Mahler symphonies, because of some scheduling difficulties, instead of my wife, I had to take my oldest child (then age 11) as my date to a performance of Mahler 2. It was the first symphony concert she attended (that I wasn't playing in). She was enthralled, but that choice may have set up some insurmountable expectations. Every concert we've gone to after that, she's said something along the lines of, "....but I really liked Mahler 2 better."
posted by QuantumMeruit at 8:37 AM on July 4, 2015 [7 favorites]

The best cinematic use of Mahler.

I would submit that this is in fact the best cinematic use of Mahler.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:36 AM on July 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'll submit the best television use of the first 20 seconds or so of Mahler's 5th.
posted by mountmccabe at 9:52 AM on July 4, 2015

Also my favorite performance of Mahler's 5th is a 1988 recording of Bernstein conducting the Vienna Philharmonic. I was not aware that there was video. I'm still not sure if this is the same performance, but it appears to be contemporary. Timings suggest it may not be the same recording, but I look forward to listening and comparing!
posted by mountmccabe at 9:58 AM on July 4, 2015

Ima let you finish, but this is unquestionably the best cinematic use of Mahler of all time.
posted by Slothrup at 1:13 PM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh man, you are so right. A thousand favorites if I could.
posted by vac2003 at 1:43 PM on July 4, 2015

Here's the scene ...
posted by carter at 3:59 PM on July 4, 2015

My fave is Mariss Jansons with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on the 2008 live recording for their house label. Probably because it's the first time I heard it...

Anyway, the end of the fifth movement is amazing and perfect and gives me chills of excitement every time.
posted by clorox at 5:13 PM on July 4, 2015

The 5th is very grand, very impressive. But the First will always have my greatest affection.

(The same's true of Beethoven. Vulnerable tenderness and trueness in early works are very seldom eclipsed by later works.)
posted by Twang at 8:49 PM on July 4, 2015

For someone like me, who's never quite understood what it is that a conductor is doing up there, it's a shame the video is out of sync.
posted by Trochanter at 5:42 AM on July 5, 2015

No list of Mahler 5 recordings is complete without a link to Willem Mengelberg's sublime recording of the Adagietto from 1926.
posted by fremen at 9:28 AM on July 6, 2015

Still available on is a concert with the Mahler 5 as the centerpiece from January 25 in Paris with Dudamel conducting Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar.
posted by mountmccabe at 9:57 AM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

The New York Times: A Dirge? No, It's a Love Song
The idea that Mahler's concept of the Adagietto would have translated into much faster tempos for his own performances is not just theory. In his personal score of the Fifth Symphony, most likely the one he used in 1904 for the work's premiere, a timing of seven and a half minutes is given for the Adagietto. (Performances today may run twice as long.) The timing was apparently written by the conductor Bruno Walter, who attended the premiere; whether it stemmed from Mahler's performance that evening or from one of Walter's own subsequent performances, its appearance in this historic score is significant.

That timing closely matches Mahler's last performance of the Adagietto, in St. Petersburg in 1907. There, a player at the second desk of double basses wrote timings for several movements into his part. The Adagietto ran seven minutes.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:57 AM on July 23, 2015

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