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 Mahler’s use of counterpoint
  • Mahler used counterpoint, or simultaneous competing musical lines, in the Finale of his First Symphony to increase the depth and agitation of the music.

  • Mahler’s academic musical education with Bruckner at the Vienna Conservatory steeped him in the German romantic tradition, including the great baroque masters. He later said: “In Bach, all the seeds of music are found, as the world is contained in God. It‘s the greatest polyphony that ever existed!” Listen to the competing musical lines in Bach’s fourth Brandenburg Concerto and compare the effect to that of Mahler's symphonic counterpoint.