Symphony No. 10

History Symphony No. 10


  • 16-02-1908 New York: Mahler witnesses the funeral of a fireman from his 11th-floor apartment in New York. A single loud drum stroke, which is muffled by the time it reaches Mahler's ears, leaves such an impression on him that 2 years later he will write ...
Introduction Symphony No. 10

Symphony No. 10 was written in the summer of 1910, and was his final composition. At the time of Mahler's death the composition was substantially complete in the form of a continuous draft; but not being fully elaborated at every point, and mostly not orchestrated, it was not performable ...

Movement 1: Adagio

275 bars drafted in orchestral and short score.

The very opening of the symphony (which is in the key of F-sharp major) maintains a connection with the final movement of the Ninth. A long, bleak Andante melody for violas alone leads to the exposition of the slow ...

Movement 2: Scherzo. Schnelle Viertel

522 bars drafted in orchestral and short score.

The second movement, the first of two brilliant Scherzo movements, consists of two main ideas, the first of which is notated in consistently changing metres, which would have proved a challenge to Mahler's conducting technique had he lived to ...

Movement 3: Purgatorio. Allegretto moderato

170 bars drafted in short score, the first 30 bars of which were also drafted in orchestral score.

The Purgatorio movement (originally entitled Purgatorio oder Inferno (Purgatory or Hell)) but the word "Inferno" was struck out, is a brief vignette presenting a struggle between alternately bleak and ...

Movement 4: Scherzo. Allegro pesante. Nicht zu schnell

About 579 bars drafted in short score.

The scene is now set for the peculiarities of the second scherzo, which has a somewhat driven and harried character, and this also has significant connections to Mahler's recent work: the sorrowful first movement of Das Lied von der Erde, ...

Movement 5: Finale. Langsam, schwer

400 bars drafted in short score.

The emotional weight of the symphony is resolved by the long final movement, which incorporates and ties together music from the earlier movements, whereby the opening passage of the symphony, now transferred to the horns, is found to be the answer ...

Orchestration Symphony No. 10


  • 1 Bass clarinet Bb. (Cooke)
  • 4 Bassoon. 
  • 3 Clarinet A. 
  • 3 Clarinet Bb. 
  • 1 Clarinet Eb.
  • 2 Contra bassoon. 
  • 1 Cor Anglais (English horn). (Cooke)
  • 4 Flute. Solo in Movement 5: Finale. Langsam, schwer.
  • 4 Oboe. 
  • 1 Piccolo. 


  • 4 Horn F (French horn). 
  • 4 Trombone. 
  • 4 Trumpet. 
  • ...