So Mahler turned the proposed but rejected seventh movement of his third symphony – a Wunderhorn setting (Das himmlische Leben/ Heavenly Life) – into the final movement of his fourth, and built much of that fourth symphony around it. The work’s ‘narrative’ is simple: moving from earthly joys through a dance with ‘friend death’ playing the fiddle (scherzo), to a slow movement which mixes, in equal measure peace and grief; arriving, finally, at the Wunderhorn song and a child’s vision of heaven (good food first and then music – close to my idea of heaven, too!).
This week we’ll concentrate mainly on the peaceful/grief ridden slow movement and how Mahler makes the transition from death-dance to heavenly joy.
Below (some things never change!) is some general stuff – useful for intervals, key signatures, etc.
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