Mahler - Symphony No. 4 (Bernstein)

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Gustav Mahler
Symphony No 4 in G major

Edith Mathis, soprano

Wiener Philharmoniker
Leonard Bernstein

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The Symphony No. 4 in G major by Gustav Mahler was written in 1899 and 1900, though it incorporates a song originally written in 1892. The song, "Das himmlische Leben", presents a child's vision of Heaven. It is sung by a soprano in the work's fourth and last movement. Although typically described as being in the key of G major, the symphony employs a progressive tonal scheme ('(b)/G--E').

A typical performance of the Fourth lasts about an hour, making it one of Mahler's shorter symphonies. The performing forces are also small by Mahler's usual standard. These features have made it the most frequently performed Mahler symphony, though in recent years the First has gained ground.

The movements of the symphony:
1. Bed├Ąchtig, nicht eilen (Moderately, not rushed) (Sonata Form)
2. In gem├Ąchlicher Bewegung, ohne Hast (Leisurely moving, without haste) (Scherzo & Trio)
3. Ruhevoll, poco adagio (Peacefully, somewhat slowly) (Theme & Variations)
4. Sehr behaglich (Very comfortably) (Strophic)

Flutes and sleigh bells open the unusually restrained first movement (and used later with a melodic theme known commonly as the 'bell theme', which helps define sections throughout the movement) often described as possessing classical poise.

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Category: Classical
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