Mahler’s Third: A Short Post for A Long Symphony

Gustav Mahler in 1898, the year of the publication of his Third Symphony.(Photo: Johann Jaritz)
Gustav Mahler in 1898, the year of the publication of his Third Symphony.(Photo: Johann Jaritz)

Just a reminder that we’re continuing our cycle of all the symphonies of Gustav Mahler Friday evening on Symphony at 7 with the Symphony No. 3 in D minor.

The longest of Mahler’s symphonies in the standard repertoire, it can be quite an undertaking to present this work for mezzo-soprano, choruses and large orchestra in concert, and it takes a commitment for listeners as well in this age of sound-bites and on-the-go lifestyles.

But if you can spare the time, it can be quite a moving experience. Think of it as watching a movie, for it lasts about as long as many, and like a good film epic, will take you on a journey that expands your horizons.

With the titles Mahler originally gave to the movements, you know something is up: “Pan Awakes, Summer Comes Marching In,” “What the Flowers in the Meadow Tell Me,” “What the Animals in the Forest Tell Me,” “What Humanity Tells Me,” “What the Angels Tell Me,” and “What Love Tells Me.”

Watch: the opening section of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3.

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