History Symphony No. 5


Performances by Gustav Mahler



  • The score appeared first in print in 1904 at Peters, Leipzig. A second “New edition”, incorporating revisions that Mahler made in 1904, appeared in 1905. Final revisions made by Mahler in 1911 did not appear until 1964 (ed. Ratz), when the score was re-published in the Complete Edition of Mahler’s works. In 2001, Edition Peters published a further revised edition (ed. Kubik) as part of the New Complete Critical Edition Series. This edition is the most accurate edition available so far. Previous editions have now gone out of print.
  • 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 to Movement 4: Adagietto. Sehr langsam are the key to a good understanding of the music.

Historical recordings

  1. 09-11-1905 LeipzigYear 1905Gustav Mahler. Symphony No. 5 – Movement 1: Trauermarsch (Funeral March). In gemessenem Schritt. Streng. Wie ein Kondukt (14:14). Welte-Mignon.


  • Herbert von Karajan once said that when you hear Mahler’s Fifth, “you forget that time has passed. A great performance of the Fifth is a transforming experience. The fantastic finale almost forces you to hold your breath.”

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