Gustav Mahler

Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor

    Description by Roger Dettmer

    Mahler kept revising the orchestration of this work until his death. He conducted the first performance with the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne on October 18, 1904. It is scored for quadruple winds, six horns, four trumpets, three trombones, tuba, tympani, three other drums, metal and wood percussion, harp, and string choir.

    He'd begun the Fifth Symphony at Maiernegg in 1901 -- writing the third, first and second movements in that order, after a death-obsessed song, "Der Tamboursg'sell," and the Kindertotenlieder cycle ("on the death of children"). After nearly bleeding to death the previous winter (from an intestinal hemorrhage), Mahler's symphonic orientation underwent a profound change. During his recovery he immersed himself in the complete works of Bach.

    A new appreciation of counterpoint was born, but not yet a mastery of orchestral balances or effects -- as subsequent events were to prove. Beginning with No. 5, he applied this new passion (which he called "intensive counterpoint") to five purely instrumental symphonies without Wunderhorn associations. Like the Resurrection Second and the first version of No. 1 (with the Blumine slow movement later abandoned) Mahler cast his Fifth Symphony in five movements that fall naturally into three parts.

    The first begins in C sharp minor with a funeral march, of measured tread and austere (Movement I). A sonata-form movement follows, marked "Stormily, with greatest vehemence" (Movement II), which shares themes as well as mood with the opening.

    The second part (which Mahler composed first) is a scherzo: "Vigorously, not too fast" (Movement III) -- the symphony's shortest large section, but its longest single movement. This emphatically joyous, albeit manic movement puts forward D major as the work's focal key. Although its form has remained a topic of debate since 1904, rondo and sonata-form elements are both present.

    Part Three begins with a seraphic Adagietto: "Very slowly" (Movement IV). This is indubitably related to the Rückert song Mahler composed in August 1901, "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen" (I have become lost to the world...I live alone in my heaven, in my loving, in my song). A Rondo-Finale: "Allegro giocoso, lively" (Movement V) concludes the symphony, although Mahler devised a form far removed from classic models. While sectional, in truth episodic, this too has elements of sonata form. To weld its diverse components into a unity he wrote four "fugal episodes," with a D major chorale just before the final Allegro molto.

    Mahler's search for a new vocabulary caused him no end of orchestration problems. Before his death in 1911 he had made several versions, the original of which was published in 1904. C.F. Peters failed, however, to emend either mistakes or revisions in the first pocket score, although they re-engraved orchestral parts (at Mahler's expense) to include his first set of corrections. Not even Erwin Ratz's "first critical edition" of 1964 was the last word. Revisions Mahler made just before his terminal illness didn't come to light until the "second critical edition," by Karl Heinz Füssl, published just around 1989.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Trauermarsch. In gemessenem Schritt. Streng. Wie ein Kondukt
    2. Stürmisch bewegt. Mit größter Vehemenz
    3. Scherzo. Kräftig, nicht zu schnell
    4. Adagietto. Sehr langsam
    5. Rondo-Finale. Allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 SWR Music SWR 19517CD
    2019 MDG Gold MDG 9302070
    2018 Deutsche Grammophon
    2018 Harmonia Mundi HMM 902366
    2018 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon 4798418
    2018 BR Klassik BRK 900714
    2018 Warner Classics 573597
    2018 CAvi-music AVI 8553395
    2017 Harmonia Mundi HMM 905285
    2017 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 17004
    2017 BIS BIS 2226
    2017 Berlin Classics 0300922 BC
    2017 BR Klassik 900150
    2017 Warner Classics 9029586917
    2017 SWR Music SWR 19042
    2016 ABC Classics ABC 4812520
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 002894822952
    2016 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 14000
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795807
    2016 Exton 81
    2016 Oehms Classics OC 029
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795553
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon
    2015 Farao Classics A 108087
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4811540
    2015 Profil / Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 13058
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon
    2014 Signum Classics SIGCD 355
    2014 Signum Classics SIGCD 361
    2014 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 14045
    2014 Yarlung Records YAR 41014
    2014 EMI Classics
    2014 Warner Classics 2564627828
    2013 Warner Classics & Jazz 469846
    2013 Farao Classics 108052
    2013 Warner Classics
    2013 Querstand VKJK 0413
    2013 EMI Classics 5099943329021
    2013 ICA Classics ICAC 5091
    2013 Channel Classics CCSSA 34213
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon 4791046
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 Erato / Teldec 2564663163
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 001931702
    2012 OPMC Classics OPM 6
    2012 LSO Live LSO 0730
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 The Entertainment Group 107365
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 4783620
    2012 Exton OVCL 00460
    2012 Concerto / Zebralution
    2011 RCO Live RCO 11004
    2011 Tahra TAH716718
    2011 RCA Red Seal 88697727232
    2011 Royal Philharmonic Masterworks / RPO RPM 28750
    2011 Red Bus Classical RCLAS 038
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099908519
    2011 Solo Musica SM 160
    2011 LSO Live 0664
    2011 Archipel ARPCD0519
    2011 Musical Concepts MC182
    2010 Sony Classical 8869768365
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4778825
    2010 Decca
    2010 RCA Red Seal 8869768609
    2010 Decca
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Decca
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Decca
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Decca / Universal
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca / Universal
    2010 Sony Classical 88697757862
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Brilliant Classics 93719
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca / Universal
    2010 DA Records / Zebralution
    2010 EMI Classics 965935
    2010 Naxos 8501502
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099960898
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 477 926-0
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4779260
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 477 866-8
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4778668
    2010 Decca
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    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon 4778167
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 Berlin Classics 0149572
    2009 Delta / Zebralution
    2009 Delta / Zebralution
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Audite 10020
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 RCA Red Seal 731450
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 EMI Classics
    2009 Brilliant Classics 93278
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Sony Classical Essential Classics 745369
    2008 Landscape Classics
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 447023
    2008 London Philharmonic Orchestra / LPO 33
    2008 Urania 348
    2008 Berlin Classics 0017202BC
    2008 Everest EVERCD 011
    2008 Berlin Classics 0014332BC
    2008 RCO Live 08007
    2008 EMI Classics
    2008 Arte Nova Classics 340230
    2008 ZYX Music 100562
    2007 K-Tel 1033
    2007 EMI Music Distribution
    2007 Warner Classics 361788
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 4776545
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 000983702
    2007 Forlane 16779
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099950072
    2007 Rhino
    2007 Exton 294
    2007 PentaTone Classics 5186183
    2007 Decca 4759153
    2007 Decca
    2007 Union Square Music 54
    2007 London/Decca / Decca / Universal Distribution 4758525
    2007 London/Decca / Decca B0009721
    2007 Berlin Classics 0186002
    2007 Brilliant 93178
    2006 Document 223511
    2006 Supraphon 38802
    2006 Edel Classics 2202
    2006 Gramola 98800
    2006 Berlin Classics 0185502BC
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 40238
    2006 Naxos 8557990
    2006 San Francisco Symphony 60012
    2006 Teldec 3893232
    2006 Haenssler 93165
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    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 000532102
    2005 EBS 6144
    2005 Naïve V 5026
    2005 Tudor Records 7126
    2005 Water Lily Acoustics 76
    2005 EMI Classics
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    2005 Apex 4620802
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    2005 Water Lily Acoustics 76
    2005 Virgin Classics 62495
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    2004 Sony Music Distribution 92460
    2004 Haenssler 93101
    2004 Warner Fonit 4671204
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    2004 Haenssler 93130
    2004 Philips 475445
    2004 Deutsche Grammophon 000289236
    2004 Relief CR 991070D
    2004 Silverline Records 284215
    2004 Brilliant 92205
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    2003 Brilliant 92005
    2003 Sony Music Distribution 87874
    2003 Artemis Classics 1220
    2003 Classical Collection 99847
    2003 EMI Music Distribution 585622
    2003 PentaTone Classics 5186004
    2003 EMI Classics
    2002 Sony Classical 89850
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 57385
    2002 Westminster 471268
    2002 Tahra 422
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 74979
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 74849
    2002 Brilliant 99549
    2001 Teldec 28170
    2001 Telarc Distribution 80569
    2001 Telarc Distribution 60569
    2001 Sony Classical 89499
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    2001 History 205241
    2000 Platinum Disc / Platinum Entertainment 8882
    2000 Deutsche Grammophon 469460
    2000 Audite 95465
    2000 Berlin Classics 0020742
    2000 Decca / Eloquence 4674292
    2000 Hugo 782
    2000 Sony Music Distribution 89289
    2000 Virgin Classics 61130
    2000 Harmonia Mundi 1955179
    1999 Virgin 561507-2
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    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 459472
    1999 Intersound 2875
    1999 Chandos 8829
    1999 EMI Classics 66962
    1999 Priory Records 649
    1999 Penguin Classics 460625
    1999 Harmonia Mundi 1905179
    1999 New York Philharmonic 000
    1998 Grammofono 2000 78838
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459080
    1998 London 458860
    1998 Conifer 75605-51318-2
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    1998 Arte Nova 34023
    1998 Carlton Classics 02102
    1998 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 7243572941
    1998 Music & Arts CD-1021
    1998 Music & Arts 1021
    1997 Chandos 9572
    1997 Point Classics 267023
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453 416-2GH
    1997 Sony Classical SMK-63084
    1997 Russian Season 288134
    1996 Gemini Collection 610
    1996 Capriccio Records 49043
    1996 Deutsche Grammophon 447450
    1995 RCA 68365
    1995 ZYX Music 4109
    1995 Curb 78005
    1995 Sony Music Distribution 47580
    1995 Telarc Distribution 80394
    1995 Forlane 16609
    1995 Sony Music Distribution 64451
    1995 ZYX Music 1001
    1994 Emergo EC3972-2
    1994 Supraphon 1860
    1994 Naxos 550528
    1994 Supraphon 111976
    1994 Parlophone / Virgin Classics
    1994 Decca 4501352
    1994 Philips 442050
    1994 Decca
    1993 Dorian 90193
    1993 Denon Records 1088
    1993 Deutsche Grammophon 437789
    1993 EMI Classics 64749
    1992 Sony Music Distribution 48198
    1992 EMI Music Distribution 64481
    1992 London 430804
    1991 RCA 60482
    1991 Decca 430443
    1991 London 433329
    1991 Teldec 46152
    1990 CBS Records 44782
    1990 EMI Music Distribution 63781
    1989 Deutsche Grammophon 429042
    1989 Philips 422355
    1989 EMI Music Distribution 49888
    1988 Deutsche Grammophon 423608
    1980 Tahra 242
    1970 Decca / London
    GKS 1001
    Deutsche Grammophon 459088
    Centurion Classics 10005
    Oehms Classics 650
    RPO 33
    Philips 432141
    Carlton 91432
    Deutsche Grammophon 471 451-2GB15
    Deutsche Grammophon 435162
    Hunt Productions 718
    Arkadia 754
    Philharmonia of the Nations 26
    Deutsche Grammophon 002894776334
    Deutsche Grammophon 431037
    EMI Music Distribution 54179
    Nuova Era 2326
    Deutsche Grammophon 415476
    London 425438
    CPI 329407
    Koch Discover International 920220
    Brilliant 92005/7
    Virgin 91445
    Brilliant 93178/24
    Everest 9032
    HMV Classics 72145
    Brilliant 99549/5
    Brilliant Classics 8635/74
    Philips Classics 416469
    Corona Classic Collection 0000152CCC
    Berlin Classics 0093422
    Palladio 4121
    Deutsche Grammophon 427254
    Russian Revelation 10049
    RCA 5453
    Bescol 513
    Deutsche Grammophon 439743
    Masters of the Millennium 2031
    Enterprise 4121
    BBC Music Magazine 109
    Capriccio Records 49052
    Black Pearl Records 2015
    Deutsche Grammophon 415096
    Musical Heritage Society 5171764
    Vanguard 25
    IMP Classics 1033
    Andromeda 5216
    Canyon Classics 3616
    RPO 7011
    Pilz 160182
    CBS Records 42198
    London 430443
    Musique d'Or 1037
    Arkadia 28
    Vanguard 2030
    Decca 4756686
    All Russia
    Deutsche Grammophon 469154
    Fidelio 5003
    K-Tel / K-Tel Distribution 3807002
    Pickwick 11011
    History 205246