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Symphony No. 4, in G Major

Gustav Mahler

1. Bedächtig.

2. In gemächtlicher Bewegung.

3. Ruhevoll.

4. Sehr behäglich.

Mahler's Fourth Symphony was written in 1900 and performed for the first time in Munich in 1904. It is scored for a very full orchestra, including in addition to the usual instruments, bass drum, triangle, gong, glockenspiel, and has besides a soprano part in the last movement. In the opening movement the theme is given out in the first violins, following which is a subject in the other strings. The oboe and first violins take it up, leading to new material. After a return of the first theme, a new melody appears in the flutes with pizzicato accompaniment in the double basses. Further development leads to a climax and recapitulation. The second theme is heard in the second violins, violas and oboes, and the movement closes with hints of the opening theme.

The second movement opens with a theme for the horn, followed by another for solo violin. The muted strings take up a lively melody, followed by the horn motive in horns and double bassoon. A subject for clarinets is followed by development leading to a theme in the clarinets, with harp and string accompaniment. The movement closes with development of the thematic portions.

The third movement begins with a theme in the lower strings which is also treated in the double basses. A new subject now appears in the oboe and violins, followed by a theme in the cellos with counter theme in the clarinets. All this material is worked up, the movement ending pianissimo.

The Finale is principally noticeable for the introduction of the soprano voice in a setting of an old Bavarian folk song, "Der Himmel hängt voll Geigen" ("The Sky hangs full of Fiddles"), orchestral interludes and fragments of themes following each stanza.

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See also:
Middle Ages Music
Renaissance Music
Baroque Era Music
Classical Era Music
Romantic Era Music
Nationalist Era Music
Turn of Century Music

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