Symphony No. 2 (Mahler)

The Symphony No. 2 in C minor is a Symphony with soprano and mixed choir and Altsolistinnen of Gustav Mahler. The nickname Resurrection Symphony commonly used is not from Mahler.


The genesis of the entire symphony extends, due to Mahler's workload as a conductor, over several years. The work was written in the period 1888-1894. In September 1888 was the instrumentation of the first movement, the title of " funeral " was at that time already been completed. Apparently, Mahler did not come through the start of the site of the opera director in Budapest and its subsequent move to Hamburg for further work on the symphony. Thus, the second and third movements emerged only in 1893 and the entire symphony was completed in 1894. The idea for the final movement, which dubbed the resurrection, Mahler came to his own statement in 1894 on the funeral of Hans von Bülow in Hamburg St. Michaelis Church. At the same time Mahler set to music the songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, which he the song " Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt " only instrumental, vocal also used the song " Primal Light " in the symphony.

About the Music


Soprano and alto solo, mixed choir, 4 flutes (all also piccolos ), 4 oboes (3rd and 4th also English horn ), 4 clarinets, bass clarinet, 4 bassoons (4th also contrabassoon ), 6 horns, 6 trumpets, 4 trombones, tuba, organ, timpani, percussion, 2 harps and strings. For this purpose, a remote isolated placed orchestra with 4 horns, 4 trumpets, timpani, bass drum, cymbals and triangle.

1st movement: Allegro maestoso. With quite serious and solemn expression

The first set occupies a prominent position in the symphony. The so-called " funeral " is the first of the two monumental frame rates. Its counterpart is the final set of " resurrection." The sentence was initially overwritten after the completion of the first version with " Symphony in C minor ". Later Mahler changed the title to " Todtenfeier " and leads the pack alone, independent of the entire symphony, under this name on. The funeral is loosely modeled on the sonata form. The exposition begins with a chord in the lower strings, followed by a restless figure, and finally, a prominent motif in the lower strings developed. The final movement takes this string figure again. The fan then intone the main theme of the first movement in this tapestry of sound:

The development of the subject assumes march-like features, which is derived from the second part of the topic. A then emerging lyrical idea can certainly be described as a second theme, which ends in a dramatic climax in C minor. Then the repeat of the exposition, in a choral similar idea appears in the march ductus follows. Below is dominated by a strained and undefined mood, further threatening acts by the lower strings. Only the intonation of the lyrical counter- theme in piano can resolve this tension a little. Nevertheless, the musical events loses its tense wait not perfect. A The vocal woodwind motif reminiscent of Dvorak, adds the second theme. The returning after some time moving figures of the low strings in the accompaniment trigger a forward-pressing dynamics which slowly builds to a climax. Some trumpet chords lead back in a lyrical mood, the tension has somewhat resolved further. However, a few moments later, she returns to the beginning of the implementation with a vengeance. The string figure leads to a short rebellion of the orchestra forte. Likewise, suddenly this mood triggers but then again, leads to a short resting point. From this evolved a forward-pressing dynamics. A process that is often repeated and carried forward to the culmination of the main theme exultant, before it comes to stress build-up in high drama and orchestral tutti. The march character consists in this moment more and more by what the music can act partly militant. The peak point of the block is reached in a multiple repeated dissonant chord in the orchestra tutti and means the collapse of the action. Now, a reprise of similar part with the motif of the low strings begin. A descending, threatening motif in the strings heralds the coda, followed by the march idea in the winds exposed. The well-known forward-pressing pulse reappears, but finds no real valve and faints into itself. Some chords of the wind instruments to finish the sentence, accompanied by the restless figures of the low strings and subdued drum beats before a descending chromatic scale of the orchestra brings a final crash of the action.

Mahler requires at the end of the first set, a minimum of 5 minutes before the other sentences sound to.

2nd movement: Andante comodo. Very leisurely. Never rush

The second sentence provides a simple dance movement Represents the theme is traditional, almost classical. The peaceful and idyllic waltz theme is simple:

The first trio is introduced by a moving string figure, after which exposes a Spartan melody in the woodwinds. The trio is reminiscent in part to Beethoven. Equally eerie, as it has been used, it disappears and the waltz returns. The second trio is a dramatic repeat of the first trio dar. is now intoned by brass and timpani and undergoes a dynamic increase. The recurring waltz theme is initially exclusively in pizzicato strings, supported by the harp played. This leads to an unusual and interesting sound.

3rd sentence: In the quiet flowing motion

The third movement of the symphony is associated with the song " Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt " from the Wunderhorn songs, the context of the purely instrumental but not leaves. The sentence came after the piano song that served as the template, but before the orchestral version of the piano song. He is like a scherzo, as its shape conforms to the principles of the scherzo in the form of ABA. The A- parts have been very closely based on the song, while the B - part version was composed. The set starts with a Tutti impact of the orchestra, after which sets the distinctive, flowing movement of the sentence, starting from the bass drum, in transition. Always held in triple time, the strings and woodwind develop short motifs on the accompaniment of pizzicato strings and distinctive missions of percussion instruments, such as the tail. This is done on diverse and sonically sophisticated way. This sound demonstrates both the flowing water and the approaching floating fish from all directions, on the other hand, the grotesque, mindless of the situation. A sermon is delivered, yet nothing changes. The text says: "The sermon has g'fallen, stay as all ". This humor is to be regarded as a satire on people. The trio uses a simple, vaguely reminiscent of a chorale melody, which is more in a clear articulate sound, a sound as a concrete melody. The return of the scherzo first runs as the first part. Towards the end of the hasty brass figure rushed to a small musical breakdown, which can be understood as the end of the sermon. Then remove and solve the motives slowly. After a short halt the old movement returns unchanged, and the movement ends in the characteristic style with some piano fading away wind chords.

4th movement: original light - very solemn but simple. Do not drag

The fourth movement is also based on a poem of the collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Here Mahler used the poem " primordial light " and adds for the first time in his symphonic human voice to the performing forces added. This orchestra song is designed for alto solo. The song " Primal Light " in Mahler's song cycle Des Knaben Wunderhorn hardly differs from this symphonic movement. According to Mahler's friend Natalie Bauer- Lechner, Mahler said about this sentence: "The ' primal light ' is the questions and struggle of the soul to God and to one's own divine existence beyond this life. " This short sentence occupies a key position in the conception of the work one. He answered loud Constantin Floros " the questions of the preceding scherzo " and forward the final, the symphony cantata, a. The three-part form of the sentence opens with a motto, in which the first verse of the song set to music. The song acts as a solemn, but simple chorale. At the tender piano accompaniment chords in the strings of the Old intones the first verse, which is answered by a brass choir in a solemn tone. The important verses "Man lies in greatest need, man is in the greatest agony ," let the sound briefly slide Minor. Mahler used very many time changes in this part of the song.

The second part is designed a little moving and alive. In this part of the contrasts of the song are clearly side by side. Folk elements such as the violin solo with clarinet accompaniment are not equal more sensitive parts, which are mainly embodied by the old soloist juxtaposed. The moving middle part is characterized further by numerous key changes. The angel vision described Mahler set to music clearly through the explicit use of harp and glockenspiel. The content of important final part deals with the last two verses, which represent the transition to the final. The music reached its simple and solemn form of the first part again. The now pushing their motives are derived from the first part of the song. The text reads at this point: "God will give me a little light, will light me into the eternal ' blessed ' life." The idea of eternal life represents the connection of the Dead celebration and resurrection and leads directly into the final.

5th movement: In tempo of the Scherzo. Wild out driving

The text of the final movement is based on the poem " The Resurrection " by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock. Mahler set to music the first two verses of Klopstock between the text, which he supplemented by adding own seal and modified to enhance the individual expression. The text is sung by the soprano and alto solo, and the mixed choir. However, the two-part finale begins with a full-grown purely orchestral part. This begins with the " wild out -propelled " figure in the lower strings from the first set. It culminates immediately in a dissonant tutti chord. Only then will have a sound carpet deployed by the strings, is on the main theme ( topic resurrection ), which will later learn a great apotheosis, behavioral intones. A general pause follows this first presentation of the topic and is replaced by a Hornfanfare. It is now developing very slowly and extremely subdued in several attempts, a forward-pressing dynamics, which absorbs by an initiating new motif in the woodwinds and the resurrection theme. This piano wanders through the various sections of the orchestra. Some tremolos in the strings eventually bring about a cautious increase, which leads to a choral-like intonation of the resurrection theme that soars to solemn size. A roll of drums heralds a very moving and expressive passage in which, in the brass several motifs appear and fade away quickly. A rhythmic base of the strings leads to a modified return of the main theme. The consistently running forte passage ends with some dissonant chords, which they can sink into the depth and lead to a rebuild. This is done by a march-like part, which ends in a tutti climax of the whole orchestra. All these attempts have come at a target, which is why Mahler now reaches for the resources of the human voice that comes in the beginning of this second part of the sentence used. Mahler builds this in a lengthy process to an extremely tense atmosphere in the course of Fanfares sound of a separately placed remote orchestra. The entire remaining course of the movement resembles a large up -enhancing tension, which is aimed at a final apotheosis. The choir begins now extremely cautious pianissimo on to intone the first verses of the text on the resurrection theme: " resurrection resurrected, yes you will, my dust, after a short rest immortal life, which called thee, give thee. " The soloists and brass occur in the course added almost imperceptibly. In an orchestral interlude Mahler boosts dynamics slow. The choir enters his singing in the volume continues slightly. Again, are in addition to the end of the stanza and trumpet soloists. The Old recites the following longer section soloist and is occasionally supported by a solo violin. The choir enters with a sudden dynamic increase again, with the words: " What has been created that must elapse What passed rise again ." In the following passages of song often leads to sudden dynamic changes. Now assume alto and soprano together the following excerpt. Mahler increases increasingly apparent speed and momentum and comes to a climax with the words: " I'll die to live resurrection, resurrected yes 'll du " The apotheosis of the resurrection theme is reached and tutti is ausgesungen of orchestra, choir and organ. With a last great increase in the text reached its final and most central statement: "What do you beaten to God will carry you ." A magnificent orchestral postlude, under the full sound of all participants, completed the enormous set with a powerful chord.


The premiere of the entire symphony took place on 13 December 1895 in Berlin under the direction of Gustav Mahler. The first three sentences have already been listed on March 4, 1895 by Mahler. The premiere of the Symphony No. 2 was thus chronologically place after that of the 3rd Symphony. The reviews after the show were mostly behave, sometimes even mocking. The General music newspaper spoke in harsh terms of a " hollow Nothing " and " brutal tastelessness ". The Resumé of " noise, scandal, mischief, subversion " shows the demand of the audience of Mahler radically new work. Mahler describes in this context, the reaction of Hans von Bülow to the first sentence: " When I played him my funeral, he fell into a nervous horror and stated that Tristan is against my piece like a Haydn symphony, and behaved like a madman. " However, some more open -minded contemporaries such as Anton Webern expressed their admiration for Mahler's Symphony. He described Mahler for this work as " deep inner composer ." The conservative Johannes Brahms counted due to Mahler Symphony No. 2 as " King of the revolutionaries." Given the further development of music history and later mahler symphonies shear Symphony No. 2 aurally acts today hardly revolutionary. Their dimensions are, however, still considered unusually large. The work is one of the most popular symphonies of Mahler and is often heard in the programs of the major orchestras.


The Symphony No. 2 is in many ways the revolutionary beginning of Mahler's development of the genre to its limits dar. was the first symphony in four movements still held and not extensive cast as the symphonies of Bruckner, Symphony No. 2 in this regard is a new beginning represents the five-movement structure of the work already shows that the classical four-movement scheme no longer apply here. Mahler expanded the set number in many of his other symphonies, what has been done only sporadically in the history of music. The major occupation of the Symphony also represents a step change represents a similarly large orchestra Mahler writes only in the 3rd and 8th Symphony ago. The performance period of 90 minutes is a radical innovation, which was isolated previously achieved only in Bruckner. Together with the ensuing 3rd Symphony Mahler umfänglichstes work and it provides one of the greatest symphonies of music history Represents the work follows, as most symphonies of Mahler, a substantive concept. As in the 3rd and 8th Symphony, the motto is Per aspera ad astra ( Through darkness to light ). Based on an extensive funeral the symphony ends in a triumphant resurrection sentence. Here Mahler set to music the poem "Resurrection " by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock. The set is equipped with a playing time of 38 minutes, the longest sentence Mahler symphony. On the basis of the third and fourth sentence, the second as the 3rd and 4th Symphony is one of the Wunderhorn symphonies. It sets poems from the collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn by Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim. The presentation of the instrumental held the third sentence is the poem " Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt ". The sung by an alto fourth set represents the song " Primal Light " from the collection with your listening overall concept of the second symphony mixed thoughts and tradition strands of different origins, which is why it is sometimes referred to as " syncretic Symphony". So, for example, mixes the classic-romantic symphony with the achievements of Wagner's music. Even Mahler adopted not entirely the pathos of the late Romantic symphonies, as he does so radically in his 4th Symphony later. Rather, the Symphony No. 2 takes all the prevailing musical traditions into itself, without wishing to unite with each other, which often leads to a juxtaposition of contrasting elements. This typical train mahler shear Music, which is even more evident in the 3rd Symphony is here already clearly developed. The to-find already in Wagner slope of a cross- border merger of the arts into a universal work of art in this work to the program. And so is the use of the human voice no "imitation of Beethoven " is ( an accusation that Mahler feared ), but is the consequence of a fusion of musical materials and the weakening of traditional generic terms.