What is your favorite Mahler movement, and why?

By: | Post date: August 1, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Music

It’s an awful question to pose, to pick just one (or even several). I’m forcing myself to limit myself to five:

  • The 2nd movement of the Ninth: a dialectic of nostalgia and dissolution, of wistfulness and nihilism.
  • The 1st movement of the Ninth: an astonishing accomplishment both formally (everything is in the first two bars) and emotionally: a full symphony in itself, suffused with resignation and struggle.
  • The Andante movement of the Sixth (though they’re all amazing): all that is great and lofty about passion and sorrow.
  • The scherzo of the Fifth: music to create universes by (and watch them perish as quickly as they materialised).
  • The 1st movement of the Fourth: a joyful, lilting, classical-sized whirlygig (and again, a great formal construction).

If I’d allowed myself 10: the 3rd movement of the First; the 3rd and 4th movement of the Second; the 1st movement of the Third; the last movement of the Ninth. (Or of the Third. Or of the Sixth. Not easy….)

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