Symphony No 3
Christa Ludwig, mezzo-soprano
Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor
The Symphony No. 3 by Gustav Mahler was written between 1893 and 1896. It is his longest piece and is the longest symphony in the standard repertoire, with a typical performance lasting around 90 to 105 minutes.
In its final form, the work has six movements, grouped into two Parts:
1. Kräftig. Entschieden (Strong and decisive) [D minor to F major]
2. Tempo di Menuetto (In the tempo of a minuet) [A major]
3. Comodo (Scherzando) (Comfortably, like a scherzo) [C minor to C major]
4. Sehr langsam—Misterioso (Very slowly, mysteriously) [A minor]
5. Lustig im Tempo und keck im Ausdruck (Cheerful in tempo and cheeky in expression) [F major]
6. Langsam—Ruhevoll—Empfunden (Slowly, tranquil, deeply felt) [D major]
The first movement alone, with a normal duration of a little more than thirty minutes, sometimes forty, forms Part One of the symphony. Part Two consists of the other five movements and has a duration of about sixty to seventy minutes.
As with each of his first four symphonies, Mahler originally provided a programme of sorts to explain the narrative of the piece. He did not reveal the structure and content to the public. But, at different times, he shared evolving versions of a program for the third symphony with various friends, including: Max Marschalk, a music critic; violist Natalie Bauer-Lechner, a close friend and confidante; and Anna von Mildenburg, the dramatic soprano and Mahler's lover during the summer of 1896 when he was completing the symphony. Bauer-Lechner wrote in her private journal that Mahler said, "You can't imagine how it will sound!"
In its simplest form, the program consists of a title for each of the six movements:
1. "Pan Awakes, Summer Marches In"
2. "What the Flowers in the Meadow Tell Me"
3. "What the Animals in the Forest Tell Me"
4. "What Man Tells Me"
5. "What the Angels Tell Me"
6. "What Love Tells Me"