Gustav Mahler

Symphony No. 3 in D minor

    Description by Steven Coburn

    This is Mahler's longest symphony, in six movements and lasting nearly two hours. Mahler's concept of the symphony as a world unto itself finds its complete exposition here in the highly diverse styles and elements, creating problems of continuity and coherence that he did not completely solve. The primary theme of the Third is Nature and Man's place therein, and its principal literary inspirations are Das Knaben Wunderhorn (as in the previous symphony) and Nietzsche. As in the Second Symphony, Mahler added words and voices to expand his means of expression and used material from one of his earlier Wunderhorn Songs. The original program ran like this: "The Joyful Knowledge: A Summer Morning's Dream." I. Pan Awakes: Summer Marches In; II. What the Meadow Flowers Tell Me; III. What the Creatures of the Forest Tell Me; IV. What Night Tells Me (Mankind); V. What the Morning Bells Tell Me (the Angels); VI. What Love Tells Me; and VII. The Heavenly Life (What the Child Tells Me). Ultimately, Mahler dropped the seventh movement and used it as the core around which he built the Fourth Symphony. The sum of this program represents Mahler's cosmological hierarchy at this point in his life and the Third Symphony as a whole is his most specific example of "world building" in artistic terms.

    Kräftig. Entschieden. (Strongly and Confidently). This is the single longest sonata-form movement ever written. Mahler sets bizarre, primordial, and harsh brass and percussion rumblings depicting Pan's awakening in opposition to pastoral music of bird calls and light fanfares over tremulous strings and woodwind trillings. These elements are transformed into the ultimate example of Mahler's symphonic military marches. The entire movement covers a vast soundscape of imagery, from bold, assertive proclamation to harsh and grotesque fugal passages, to despairing outcries, to a lighthearted and popular sounding march tune.

    Tempo di Menuetto. (Minuet Tempo). This is a light and folk-like dance movement in the style of the comic Wunderhorn Songs. It stands in sharp contrast to the weighty first movement.

    Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast. (Moving, Scherzo-like, Without Haste). This movement quotes extensively from Mahler's song Ablösung im Sommer (Relief in the Summer) about a dead cuckoo. Its comic vein is interrupted twice, once by a sentimental posthorn solo, and later by a dramatic outburst symbolic of the great god Pan's intrusion into the peaceful summer.

    Sehr langsam. Misterioso. Durchaus ppp. (Very Slow, Mysterious, Pianissimo Throughout). Here Mahler moves into a more metaphysical realm by setting Nietzsche's "Midnight Song" in this slow and haunting movement.

    Lustig im Tempo und keck im Ausdruck. (Happy in Tempo, Saucily Bold in Expression). Boys and women's voices are used here to sing this angel's song about the redemption of sin from Das Knaben Wunderhorn. Mahler imitates church bells to delightful effect in this innocent and uplifting movement.

    Langsam. Ruhevoll. Empfunden. (Slow, Peaceful, Deeply Felt). A majestic and awesome Adagio concludes the symphony in a hymn-like paean on love. It rises to a powerful climax as "Nature in its totality rings and resounds."

    Parts/Movements

    1. Kräftig Entschieden (Pan Awakens - Summer Marches In)
    2. Tempo di Menuetto. Sehr mässig (What the Flowers and Meadows Tell Me)
    3. Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast (What the Animals of the Forest Tell Me)
    4. Sehr langsam. Misterioso. Durchaus ppp (What the Night Tells Me)
    5. Lustig im Tempo und keck im Ausdruck (What the Morning Bells Tell Me)
    6. Langsam. Ruhevoll. Empfunden (What Love Tells Me)

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 BR Klassik BRK 900174
    2019 Harmonia Mundi HMM 90531415
    2018 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon 4798418
    2018 BR Klassik BRK 900714
    2018 CAvi-music AVI 8553399
    2018 Sony Classical 19075861862
    2017 BR Klassik 900149
    2017 Channel Classics 38817
    2017 Warner Classics 9029586917
    2017 SWR Music SWR 19042
    2016 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 14000
    2016 Dallas Symphony Orchestra / DSO Live 007
    2016 Urania / Urania Records WS 121308
    2016 Oehms Classics OC 029
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795553
    2015 Farao Classics A 108087
    2015 CAvi-music AVI 8553325
    2015 Warner Classics 552758
    2014 Urania / Urania Records WS 121193
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4793769
    2014 BYU Music Group YCD 0114MS3
    2014 Warner Classics 2564627828
    2013 Signum Classics SIGCD 360
    2013 Archipel APRCD 0557
    2013 Signum Classics SIGCD 353
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon 4791046
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 001931702
    2012 Oehms Classics OC 648
    2012 LSO Live LSO 0730
    2012 Artek AR 00572
    2011 Music & Arts CD-1249
    2011 Archipel ARPCD0517
    2011 Tudor Records TUDOR 7170
    2011 RCA Red Seal 88697727232
    2011 ICA Classics ICAC 5033
    2011 Exton OVCL 00459
    2011 Warner Classics / Warner Classics International 672887
    2011 RCO / RCO Live RCO10004
    2011 Cascavelle VEL 3160
    2011 ICA Classics ICAC5021
    2011 San Francisco Symphony 82193600452
    2011 Musical Concepts MC182
    2010 Sony Classical 8869768365
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4778825
    2010 Decca
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 RCA Red Seal 8869768609
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Decca
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 London
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca / Universal
    2010 Apex 2564681617
    2010 Decca
    2010 Philips
    2010 Naxos 8501502
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099960898
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4779260
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 477 926-0
    2010 Decca
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4778668
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 477 866-8
    2010 Decca
    2010 Fab Four 233033
    2009 Denon Records 00795041924827
    2009 Antes Edition / Zebralution
    2009 Exton 300
    2009 Sony Classical Essential Classics 745369
    2008 Berlin Classics 149322
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 447023
    2008 LSO 660
    2008 Maestro Music 4697197
    2008 Warner Classics
    2008 Testament 1422
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099950072
    2007 RCA 712918
    2007 CSO-Resound 1006
    2007 Decca
    2006 Haenssler 93140
    2006 Supraphon 38802
    2006 Archipel 0344
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 40238
    2006 Philips 4757564
    2006 Elatus
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 2894775174
    2005 Farao Classics 108047
    2005 Farao / Farao Classics 108046
    2005 Weitblick 29
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Silverline Classics 284224
    2005 Haenssler 93151
    2005 Virgin Classics
    2004 NM Classics 97018
    2004 Decca 000233602
    2004 Decca / Universal
    2004 Decca 000250236
    2004 Haenssler 93130
    2004 Telarc Distribution 60599
    2004 Silverline Records 288256
    2004 Testament 1350
    2004 Virgin 562215
    2003 Deutsche Grammophon 474 298-2GSA2
    2003 Deutsche Grammophon 474038
    2003 Brilliant 92005
    2003 Sony Music Distribution 87874
    2003 Avie 0019
    2003 Artemis Classics 1211
    2003 San Francisco Symphony 60003
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon 471502
    2002 Living Stage 35161
    2002 Classica d'Oro 1052
    2002 Brilliant 99549
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 574296-2
    2001 Sony Classical 89499
    2000 Haenssler 93017
    2000 Teldec 82354
    2000 Stradivarius 10051
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 56657
    1999 Titanic 252
    1999 Chandos 8970
    1999 Chandos 9117
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 447051
    1999 Living Stage 34702
    1999 RCA 634692
    1999 Philips 432162
    1999 BBC Music 4004
    1999 Delos 3248
    1999 Sony Classical SM2K-61831
    1999 Sony Music Distribution 061831
    1999 New York Philharmonic 000
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459080
    1998 Telarc Distribution 80481
    1998 Sony Music Distribution 60250
    1998 Arte Nova 34046
    1998 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 7243572941
    1998 Music & Arts CD-1021
    1998 Music & Arts 1021
    1997 Berlin Classics 0021212
    1997 Chandos 9572
    1996 Capriccio Records 49043
    1995 Naxos 550525
    1995 London 443030
    1995 Philips 434909
    1995 Russian Season 288111
    1994 Supraphon 1860
    1994 Supraphon 111972-2033
    1994 Decca
    1994 Philips 442050
    1993 Denon Records 7828
    1992 Archiphon 26/7
    1992 EMI Music Distribution 64471
    1992 Sony Music Distribution 48198
    1992 Sony Music Distribution 47576
    1992 London 430804
    1990 CBS Records 44553
    1989 Deutsche Grammophon 429042
    1989 Deutsche Grammophon 427328
    1988 Unicorn-Kanchana 2006
    1987 Sony Music Distribution 42403
    1984 Deutsche Grammophon 410715
    1984 London 414 268-2DH2
    1980 Tahra 209
    1980 Tahra 147
    CBS Records 42196
    Deutsche Grammophon 459081
    Audite 23403
    Arkadia 557
    Deutsche Grammophon 471 451-2GB15
    Deutsche Grammophon 435162
    Hunt Productions 719
    EMI Music Distribution 7475688
    Arkadia 593
    Capriccio Records 49048
    Osterfestspiele
    Telarc Distribution 80599
    Vanguard Classics 4005
    Vanguard 22
    EMI Music Distribution 747405
    Brilliant 99549/3
    Tahra 101
    FED 024
    CBS Records Masterworks 44553
    Sony Music Distribution 52579
    FNAC Music 592329
    Canyon Classics 256
    Enterprise 1000
    Supraphon 111972
    Arkadia 28
    Vanguard 2030
    Decca 4756686
    Artists 24