Fourth Symphony

CreArtBox EnsembleLe Train Bleu EnsembleRanson Wilson, conductor

The Symphony No. 4 in G major by Gustav Mahler was composed from 1899 to 1900, though it incorporates a song originally written in 1892. That song, “Das himmlische Leben”, presents a child’s vision of heaven and is sung by a soprano in the symphony’s Finale. Both smaller in orchestration and shorter in length than Mahler’s earlier symphonies, the Fourth Symphony was initially planned to be in six movements, alternating between three instrumental and three vocal movements. The symphony’s final form—begun in July 1899 at Bad Aussee and completed in August 1900 at Maiernigg—retains only one vocal movement (the Finale) and is in four movements: Bedächtig, nicht eilen (sonata form); In gemächlicher Bewegung, ohne Hast (scherzo and trio); Ruhevoll, poco adagio (double theme and variations); and Sehr behaglich (strophic variations).

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