A Classic

Mahler's Origins: A "Sonic Goulash"

Music shaped by the sacred tradition reflects Mahler’s ongoing search for spiritual transcendence through art.
“O believe, my heart, O believe”
VIDEO:MTT on the climax of Mahler’s First Symphony
  • And he shall reign forever and ever!

    At the moment of greatest jubilation at the end of his First Symphony, Mahler gives a nod of recognition to a famous passage in Handel’s Hallelujah chorus.

VIDEO:MTT on Mahler’s experience with church music
  • Mahler might have been drawing on his experiences singing in the choir at St. Jacob’s church in Iglau.

Mahler's Methods

  • Mahler alters a pre-existing melody in Finale of the First Symphony in order to make its shape correspond to the unifying interval of the entire work. As he did with the cuckoo’s call, Mahler adapts a famous phrase from Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, changing the falling sixths to fourths.

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