Introduction Symphony No. 1

The Symphony No. 1 in D major by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was mainly composed between late 1887 and 03-1888, though it incorporates music Mahler had composed for previous works. It was composed while Mahler was second conductor at the Leipzig Opera, Germany.

Although in his letters Mahler ...
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Movement 1: Langsam, schleppend; Immer sehr gemachlich

Very restrained throughout, D major. The first movement is in modified sonata form, with a substantially slow introduction. The introduction begins eerily with a seven-octave drone in the strings on A, with the upper octaves being played on harmonics in the violins. A descending two-note motif is then presented ...
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Movement 2: Kraftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell

Moving strongly, but not too quickly, restrained, a trio Ländler. The second movement is a modified minuet and trio. Mahler replaces the minuet with a Ländler, a 3/4 dance-form that was a precursor to the Austrian waltz. This is a popular structure in Mahler's other symphonies, as well as ...
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Movement 3: Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen

Solemnly and measured, without dragging, very simple, like a folk-tune, once again somewhat more agitated, as at the start. A funeral march based on the children's song "Frère Jacques" (or "Bruder Jacob"). The third movement acts as the slow movement in the four-movement plan. The extra-musical idea behind it ...
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Movement 4: Sturmisch bewegt

Energisch, Stormily agitated - Energetic. The fourth movement is by far the most involved, and expansive. It brings back several elements from the first movement, unifying the symphony as a whole. The movement begins with an abrupt cymbal crash, a loud chord in the upper woodwinds, string and brass, ...
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Johann Paul Friedrich Richter (1763-1825), who wrote under the pseudonym Jean Paul (1763-1825), is known to have been Mahler’s favorite author.

It was he who wrote the novel Titan that briefly lent its name to Symphony No. 1 - a name by which it is again known today. 

For the 1893 Hamburg and 1894 ...
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