‘Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor’

Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor – Introduction

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Date(s) of Composition: 1901-02; published by C. F. Peters (1904), revised edition, 1919.
Place of Composition: Maiernigg and Vienna
Premiere: Cologne, 18 October 1904.

Orchestration: 4 flutes (3rd and 4th double with piccolo); 3 oboes (3rd doubles with English horn); 3 clarinets (3rd doubled with bass clarinet); 3 bassoons (3rd doubles with contrabassoon); 6 horns; 4 trumpets; 3 trombones; tuba; 4 timpani; cymbals; bass drum; side drum; triangle; glockenspiel; tam-tam; woodblock; harp and strings.
Performers: Chicago Symphony under Georg Solti
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Movements: 5 movements organized in 3 parts as follows:
Part I
1. Trauermarsch
2. Stürmisch bewegt. Mit grösster Vehemenz
Part II
3. Scherzo: Kräftig, nicht zu schnell
Part III
4. Adagietto: Sehr langsam
5. Rondo-Finale: Allegro

Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor – First Movement

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Trauermarsch. In gemessenem Schritt. Streng. Wie ein Kondukt. (Funeral March. In measured tread, austere, like a funeral cortège.)

Key: C-sharp minor (modulating to A-flat, then to B-flat minor for the first trio, D-flat major and then A minor for the second trio, etc.)

Time Signature: 2/2

Rhythm: funeral march.

Form: ABABA in the manner of a scherzo movement with two trios. [N.B.,  Edward Murphy considers the musical material for the trio sections to be too heavy and too frenetic to be considered trios in the traditional sense, especially since the climax of the movement occurs during one of them. Moreover, application of the term Ascherzo to the calmer, more melodious music of the funeral march is equally inappropriate. However, given Mahler’s retention of traditional formal frameworks within which he makes radical departures for classical principles, the use of such terms as Ascherzo and Atrio for the first movement is not necessarily inappropriate.

Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor – 2nd Movement

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Stürmisch bewegt. Mit grösster Vehemenz. (Stormily agitated, with the greatest vehemence).

Key: A minor, F minor in the second theme, with various major and minor key modulations; E minor for the second theme in the recapitulation and D major for the Grand Chorale.

Time Signature: 2/2

Form: ABABA with introduction and coda; contains elements of sonata form.

Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor – 3rd Movement

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Third Movement: Scherzo

In what strange simplification and falsification man lives! One can never cease wondering once one has acquired eyes for this marvel! How we have made everything around us clear and free and easy and simple! How we have been able to give our senses a passport to everything superficial, our thoughts a divine desire for wanton leaps and wrong inferences! How from the beginning we have contrived to retain our ignorance in order to enjoy an almost inconceivable freedom, lack of scruple and caution, heartiness, and gaiety of life–in order to enjoy life! And only on this now solid, granite foundation of ignorance could knowledge rise so far–the will to knowledge on the foundation of a far more powerful will: the will to ignorance, to the uncertain, to the untrue! Not as its opposite, but–as its refinement!
- Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche

Tempo: Kräftig, nicht zu schnell. (Energetic, not too fast).
Key: D major with numerous minor-key modulations (f, d, a, e, etc.).
Time signature: 3/4
Rhythm: Ländler and waltz.
Form: Scherzo with two trios

Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor – 4th Movement

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Sehr langsam (Very slowly)
Key: F (with modulations in the B section to C minor, G-flat major, E major, D major, etc.).
Time Signature: 4/4
Form: ABA

Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor – 5th Movement

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Listening Guide

The Work

Tempo: Allegro. Allegro giocoso.
Principal Key: D major.
Time Signature: 2/2

Form: Although Mahler used the term Arondo in the title of this movement, its structure is hardly that of a traditional rondo. Some commentators consider the movement to be in sonata-form, but there are several reasons to doubt the efficacy of this viewpoint, one being the first appearance of an important theme in the development section. There have been other attempts to analyze the movement based upon key relationships and sectional organization. The most consistent feature of the movement is its contrast of homophonic and fugal elements. However, the rondo-like return of the opening motto, the special function of the Grand Chorale within the scheme of the movement and the frequent development sections, among other things, make any traditional analysis of this movement necessarily flawed.