The both first movements are in the tragic and gloomy keys of c-sharp minor resp. a minor; The only programmatic indication, Trauermarsch (funeral march), is found in the first movement. The silence is broken by the solitary fanfare of a trumpet which is one of the three main themes of ...
- Moving stormily, with the greatest vehemence.
- a minor.
The second movement starts tumultuously and pushing forward in the key of a minor before gliding in a beautiful calm and cantabile theme in the key of f minor "in the rhythm of the funeral march" accompanied by lamentations of ...
- D major.
- Horn solo.
As second part of the symphony follows the above mentioned third movement, the Scherzo. Totally unexpected, the character of the symphony seems to change: A joyful and exuberant, nearly burlesque atmosphere, caused by the typical Mahlerian rural valses, seems to spread, but it does ...
- F major.
- Willem Mengelberg (1871-1951) wrote notes on "Spitzentechnik" on the front cover of the score of symphony no. 5, a technique for the strings, writes Mengelberg, which must be used in all symphonys of Gustav Mahler, and of which it is important that all strings do this. His notes ...
- D major.
Finally, the fifth movement is amazing; a long and continued tone of the F horn gives the signal to return to reality and cheerfulness. The gloomy atmosphere of the first two movements is blown away, the tender romance of the fourth movement is left behind. Serene ...
- 1 Bass clarinet Bb.
- 3 Bassoon.
- 3 Clarinet Bb.
- 1 Contra bassoon. Solo in Movement 2: Stürmisch bewegt, mit größter Vehemenz.
- 1 Cor Anglais (English horn).
- 4 Flute.
- 3 Oboe.
- 2 Piccolo.