In his most extensive orchestral movement, Mahler presents a conflict between life affirming and life negating forces in the symbolic guise of the awakening of pan symbol of animate nature, engulfed in inanimate being the music that represents inanimate nature, which follows the stentorian, though somewhat stilted opening horn theme has an aggressive, threatening character indicative of negative power, this inanimate nature appears in the first section has more than merely the opposite of animate nature, but its antagonist presented as a funeral march infused with hellish musical figures seething with animosity, life-negating forces emerged from the depths of lifelessness in a virtual witches Sabbath of demonic fury, by contrast, the exuberant pan March that constitutes the second section is full of spirit, reveling in its affirmation of life.
Both sections are set in opposition, with the dark life-negating first section, intruding upon and trying to nullify the life-affirming music of the second.
Both sections consist of marches, the first a dark, desolate, and demonic funeral march, the second a light-hearted and carefree parade. So different in character and contrast are these sections, so rich and musical material and vast in scope, taking over 30 minutes, that they might well have been separated into two movements. In fact, Mahler originally conceived of these sections as independent movements. Ultimately, he not only combined them into a single movement but set the movement apart from the rest of the symphony, as the first of two designated parts into which the entire Symphony is formally divided. Mahler implicitly understood the dichotomy these two marches represent in the context of the entire work. It is not merely the transition from inanimate nature to animate nature that Mahler conveys here, but the triumph of the life force over anti-life forces achieved by the end of the movement.
Yet Mahler intends to go beyond this victory, even if it was achieved not merely by defeating the fall, but transforming and incorporating it into the music that represents the life force. For Mahler, the defeat of the life negating forces does not mean they’re complete annihilation, for these negative forces will return in various guises until they finally and irrevocably fuse with the life affirming forces by the power of universal love. Only by this fusion of opposing forces can the negative aspect of being be made to serve life’s ultimate purposes, and thus be truly defeated.
In a more plebeian approach, Ricard Strauss considered the Pan March as proletarian music, and envisioned its climactic section as a mayday parade, marching down the Prater in Vienna. Although Mahler famously suggested that the first Movement represents the reawakening of regenerative nature, from its stagnant winter hibernation, nature is not presented here as tame and idyllic, Mahler made it clear that he did not consider nature as innocuous as an idealized purveyor of godly gifts, all sweetness and light, but as a more complex, sometimes terrifying force, represented by the God Pan, a deity akin to the wild, earthy Dionysus. Nowhere else does Mahler describe the forces of nature in such dark tones that evoke terrifying demonic visions, after writing this huge first part in only a few months, during his summer vacation, in 1895, Mahler subtitled the first section, What The Mountains Tell Me, intending to evoke the normal enormity and ominous presence of the most monumental of nature’s creations. Later he replaced this title with Pan Awakes, focusing more on the process of overcoming lifeless inertia than distilling its essence. Pans awakening is akin to the emergence of the life force from a stagnant, inert and thereby uncreated state of being, is the impulse to life that urges the creative potential to exert itself. Is also reflects a belief that Mahler shared with nature. The true and ultimate value of life is not the promise of eternal bliss in another world, but the Joy of Creation in this one.
In more naturalistic terms, the first movement presents a host of dualities light over darkness, duty over ugliness, joy or sorrow, creativity over destructiveness even summer over winter, as indicated by the subtitle for the second section, Summer Marches In. Certain aspects of Mahler symphonic style in this woman are as progressive as others are traditional. While the first section is essentially a funeral march, it is very different from the funeral marches included in molars previous symphonies. In the first Symphony, the funeral march of the third movement is rhythmically sustained by a continuous regularize tread while in the second, the steady pulse of the first movements funeral procession is often interrupted by outbursts of cataclysmic force. In the third, Mahler borrows verities, death motive, and uses it not as a steady March beat, but as an independent figure in combination with others, to create an atmosphere that is not only dark and tragic, but sometimes frenzied with fiendish fury. Here’s an example of varities use of this motive from his opera, Love Traviata, and here is Mahler’s use of the motive in the first movement.
Notice Mahler adds an arching figure that fuses an AMA pest with a dactyl and trills the central long note, forming a variant of what I call the devil’s dance motive.
Although constructed in sonata form, the second subject the Pan March is more prominent than the first, reversing the usual order of emphasis, Mahler even forces the opening horn call to march in step with pan another example of dramatic transformation that occurs frequently in Mahler’s music. The absence of a lyrical theme as such is also a significant deviation from classical form, clipped dotted rhythms that are so prominent in the first movement of the Second Symphony, where they serve to reinforce the funeral march rhythms return to add thrust and vitality to the Pan March, yet they are virtually absent from the first subject. trumpet calls and bird song recall the Wunderhorn leader.
Mahler uses the principle of dramatic transformation more extensively here than he had in the first two symphonies, changing the powerful but dour opening horn call into a rollicking March theme, the joins with a Pan March.
This device serves conceptual as well as purely musical ends. Its transformative nature, implying the overcoming and reformation of the Spirit as a means by which to make what is originally a negative or at least neutral element function positively.
In Mahler’s Use of Military band music, he was undoubtedly influenced by barrios although Mahler already used offstage, military wind bands in the first and second symphonies and Indus club in the lead, they play a less significant role there than they do here, where they operate within the orchestra itself rather than offstage.
Mahler also further refines the device of telescoping in the first movement, the technique of connecting one section or subject with another by overlapping them, sometimes, to heighten the impact of the reprise of a prior section, or the advent of a new one. Mahler knew instinctively that this movement, if not the entire Symphony, would exasperate the critics because of its extraordinary length, its diversity of content and style, and its unusual structural design. Nothing of its size and complexity had ever been written before without a text.
Written after the movements that followed it, the first movement seems to grow larger and larger, as if it had a life of its own. Even as late as the close of the 19th century, with its increasingly liberal view of symphonic structure and content, the public still considered it inappropriate and degrading to give pride of place in a symphony, to music likely to be heard on the street or in a ballroom, such music was considered too cheap and vulgar for inclusion in the symphony, a forum held in the highest esteem, especially by Austrians and Germans, who considered it their greatest musical achievement, Mahler would have none of this. His symphonic world contains representations of ordinary everyday life, as well as the sophisticated world of the Cosmopolitan, it includes music and is tawdry and rebelde as well as refined and sublime.
Yet even Mahler wondered whether some of the music presented here, particularly in the first section was music at all, or merely sounds of nature gradually emerging from the silence of inertia, or senseless prattle that represents complete abandon to stagnant nihilism. In defiance of convention, Mahler tried desperately to incorporate the wealth of his musical ideas into classical forms, necessitating their expansion and reluctantly but necessarily causing him to play havoc with tradition.
The symphony begins with a brief introduction on a powerful theme stated by all eight horns, punctuated toward the end by powerful orchestral strokes until shattered by a cymbal crash. Then the horn theme takes a long descent into the depths, sounding like a call to battle. his horn theme was originally referred to by Mahler as an awakening call their vocal booth to summon forth nature out of lifelessness or in different imagery, from the long inactivity of desolate winter.
Many suggestions have been made as to the source of this introductory theme, to summit sounds like a distorted version of the main theme from the finale of Brahms’s First Symphony, let’s hear that.
William McGrath claims that this theme is an old German folk to you’re talking about Hein Scottishness house, or we had built a stately house that was sung by members of the reading Society of German students of Vienna, while protesting a government decree that closed down the society in December 1878 because of its political radicalism. As a member of a local chapter of this group, which was comprised of students from Eagle models hometown model probably heard about the event, if he did not actually participate in it. Ernst Krenek believes the opening horn theme to be an Austrian marching song familiar to schoolchildren on Mahler’s Day. Whatever its origins, this stately theme immediately establishes the monumental nature of the symphony it introduces, it functions both as an introduction to the first subject, and as a ritornello that not only returns to fulfill its initial function but is transfigured to become a willing participant in the Pan March. After the horn theme is finally dashed by a simple stroke and falls stepwise as if into an abyss, cadence switches from minor to major, suggesting a positive outcome to the conflict yet to come.
A mysterious the undulating rhythmic figure softly swaying and low horns and bassoons follow foreshadowing not only the gloomy depths into which the music will be drawn but also the darkly mysterious atmosphere that will open the Fourth Movement.
This undulating rhythm gives way to sustain chords that seemed to imitate the minor two major chordal sequences that followed the vec roof theme. These somber chords gradually die away, leaving only a few faint beats on the bass drum. They lead us into the beginning of the exposition, a funeral march that begins with the Verity and motive of death. As mentioned earlier, the first subject contains no theme as such, but only fragmentary phrases presented in a retrospective-like statement of antagonism, based upon material from the vekl theme and fashion as if in an attempt to demolish its apparent affirmation and nobility. Marked heavy and muffled, the first subject begins as if in the nether regions were all as dark cold, and lifeless, violins are virtually absent, and low strings only provide intermittent harmonic support and add unnerving Tremeloes that create a cavernous atmosphere.
The first section is a theme group that consists of five short figures, no more than a measure or two in length, they interact much in the same way as the antagonists in Strauss’s I’m helden labor, weaving a web of intrigue against the hero who may vainly attempt to defeat.
Mahler presents these figures in sequence as if parts have a dramatic persona, each one keynoting a negative aspect of lifeless is they appear in the following order. First, the Verity and death motive played by trombones, tuba, and timpani. It serves as the basic funeral trip, symbolizing a lifeless being.
The second, a demonic phrase consisting of an anapest, overlapping with a dactyl joined together by a long trill tome, played at first by bassoons and contrabassoon. It is a variation of the motive I call the devil’s dance, which symbolizes the demonic anti-life forces of the nether world.
The third figure is a variant of the cry of despair from both the first and second symphonies. It consists of an upward leap of an octave, in dotted rhythm into a sustained chord, and is first played forcefully by woodwinds, suggesting more a sense of frustration, and of pain, because it lacks the dissonance that tortured itself in earlier versions, it is first heard over the devil’s dance motive played by bassoons.
The fourth figure is a satanic trumpet call consisting of a rapid diatonic 16th note triplet that rises into a dissonant seventh, which is sustained at length until it finally resolves to the octave. It sounds somewhat like a battle cry from hell. Again, we hear the devil’s dance and death modes underneath.
And the fifth figure is a rapid-fire yet strongly accented ascending scale of 32nd notes marked wild and containing as few as seven and as many as 11 notes, leading to a sustained tone, from which in its initial form, emerges a descending sequence of long tones, always heavily accented, and powerfully played, usually buy cellos and bass strings with the support of bassoons and controversy. This last motive connotes violence in its initial upward thrust and stubborn immutability in its falling sequence. Notice that it relates to the third sequence of ascending sixteenths, with which the second Symphony began.
In the midst of this stark and hard-edged into play of multivac figures, appears the rising phrase that had brought the wreck roof theme to its climax, it is played by the same eight horns that first introduced that theme. Here this phrase seems bent upon stopping the motive of violence in low strings from continuing its savage onslaught, only to be fought off by the trumpet-stinging battle cry.
With another thrust of the violence motive, a new attack begins. The first trumpet plays a variant of the resurrection theme from the Second Symphony, which not only connotes the interjection of religious or spiritual suasion into the argument but also foreshadows its recurrence in the nature movement. Blood curdling super octave dives seem intent on burying the trumpet theme.
We’ll fall into find the converted resurrection theme finds itself surrounded by antagonistic forces that bombard the rising fragment from the vacuum of theme with merciless attacks of violence, urged on by the trumpets battle cry.
Both these motives conclude with terrifying leaps into the abyss on low winds and cellos, the last of which concludes with a strongly accented falling phrase, pounding the life-affirming forces into submission.
A renewed effort by the vec roof theme and horns, again comes under attack by the violence and the battle cry motives, until the music sinks once again into the base on a long chromatic descent in low winds.
Out of the depths what is left of the veck roof, bear octaves and fifths falls further as into utter oblivion.
After the initial encounter between the life-affirming and life negating forces, the bass drum returns with the same rhythms with which it initially introduced the dark first subject, this time a new dawn seems to emerge from the darkness. Without a change in temple, a soft glimmer shines through as piccolos and flutes play a brief corral in soft pastels, set a glow by shimmering string Tremeloes.
Though asleep pan begins to stir as an oboe softly pipes one of his more rollicking tunes, accompanied by the flute and Piccolo chorale in clarinets.
Even this jolly tune relates to the music of the first section, with its upward swinging couplets in anapestic rhythm, followed by quarter notes. The solo violin quietly takes up and expands upon pan’s theme, Mahler had originally called this segment, Pan Sloughed, Pan sleeps, although in sleep, the mythical God dreams of his own awakening. Suddenly, almost defiantly, the clarinets hailed the advent of the day with a brief cadential phrase, decorated by swirling grace notes to which Mahler gave the title, The Harold.
Mitchell notes that this short phrase is an outline of the main theme of the song Emily Should Label that Mahler had intended at one point to be the symphonies final movement, although he later decided to reserve it for the finale of The Fourth Symphony, cellos follow with a whirling sequence of 16th notes broken up by eighth note trills, imitating the Herald figure. This leads to a distant volley of percussion rhythms that dies away before it can generate enough energy to get the procession going.
We are given only a brief introduction to the second subject, the pan March. For after a long pause, we suddenly find ourselves back in the dark, cold and barren wasteland of the first subject. to its Verity and death motive, and the sinister motive of the devil’s dance. The expansion of the vacuum of theme continues, basically where it left off to the ominous tones of a solo trombone. The transformed vet groove sounds even more like its own antithesis, as reconstituted the vet group’s confident and stalwart character gives way to insecurity and hopelessness, implying that the vet group has played into the hands of the life-negating forces for its former nobility has turned to menacing antagonism, and its thematic thread is broken into fragments.
During the course of the trombone solo, inverted forms of the motives of longing and fate, minor to major suggest further contradictions, longing is transformed into its opposite aversion and fate can be positive as well as negative. With increased agitation bordering on anger, the trombone becomes more willful, as if defying the life-affirming forces in hopes of awakening their representative pan from his slumbers. At this stage in the conflict, however, it should be understood that neither side has the capacity to defeat the other, life-affirming and life-negating forces being positive and negative aspects of being are like two sides of the same coin. While antagonistic they cannot exist one without the other. Soon the solo trombone is joined by three others railing fourth, their invective with mounting fury until the music reaches a cadence accompanied by repetitions of the trumpets battle cry that pierced the air like deadly knife thrusts.
The reprise of the first subject closes, as the music sinks once again into the depths, this time falling to the tonic D major. Undaunted by the resurgence of the anti-life forces of the first subject, the life affirming forces of the second, reappear on the same pastoral woodwind chorale, by which they were first introduced, this time decorated with swirling string trills.
At first, the pan March seems somewhat sheepish, played softly and low strings, and oboe picks up the theme, fragments of which are echoed by cellos and basses clarinets announced The Herald theme, swirling 16th note figuration that followed Harold’s call earlier also returns in an expanded form, generating more liveliness, as it engages in a fascinating interplay of countervailing rhythms. At this point, the pan March becomes increasingly exuberant, new themes and ones reconstructed from earlier thematic material, give this first reprise of the pan theme, the appearance of being an independent theme Group, a repeating rapid three note couplet in anapestic rhythm on a rising triad is taken from a prior embryonic version of the march theme, this little littering figure played by a Piccolo more rapidly than the temple the march seems to be in. Sounds like a Dionysian drunken stupor.
Get the march to remain subdued, as if not yet completely confident in its victory over the dark side. A light tripping theme begins to take shape and violins from a combination of the pan March tune, and a string of dotted rhythms and cross-rhythms.
Before this new theme is fully formed, the original version of the vet groove theme suddenly sounds in the horns, taking on yet another contrast in character, sounding more exuberant, joyful and heroic in keeping with the life affirming music that surrounds it.
As if a natural outgrowth of this newly transformed theme, the Pan March continues to develop. As the music becomes more assertive violins create a marching tune out of the drunken figure, combined with clipped dotted rhythms, to which trumpets respond with heroic trumpet tattoos that appeared in the first and second symphonies. Here they appear as if an answer to the threatening battle cry of the life-negating forces.
As the Pan march continues to take shape, the swirling tones of the Herald motive can be heard in the woodwinds. Then just as the music seems to quiet down, violins rear back and triumphantly assert the march theme. Now in full vigor. The newly transformed vecow theme joins in combining with the Pan march tune so neatly as to give the impression that both were cut from the same cloth, which of course to some degree they were. Thus the VAC roof theme is identified with the life-affirming forces that had had initially sought to awaken with added trills, the little drunken figure begins to take on characteristics of the devil’s dance motive. Even the funeral march tread from the first movement of the second Symphony makes an appearance and cellos and basses transformed to fit the joyous occasion.
It was probably this passage that cause Strauss to suggest that it sounds like a march up the Prater in Vienna. But just when it would seem that the pan March could go on endlessly rising harp, arpeggios, like gusts of wind wineskin powerful chords in the key of the first subject D minor, trying to blast away the life asserting forces that have had their sway for some time. trumpets warn of the impending return of the life negating forces with cries of despair. As the music rises to an enormous climax.
The blasts of wind reach their peak on a long ascending harp arpeggio, accompanied by ascending scales and the rest of the orchestra, and then the trumpet’s warning is realized in one of the most terrifying moments in the entire Symphony for at the crest of this climactic wave the three note rising phrase from the distorted version of the vec roof theme heard during the first subject roars out with enormous power over the massive orchestral profusion, plunging the music into the dark sinister regions of the first section. It is a shattering climate.
Soon trumpets raised their bells high to pronounce the transformed resurrection theme heard earlier, culminating in enormous plunges in low winds rashly thrust in by the motives of violence and the battle cry.
The distorted vec roof subject becomes increasingly agitated, threatening to run amok, as the tempo wildly accelerates and the music surrounding it becomes more energetic.
Notice that a segment of this demonic version of the vec roof contains a phrase similar to a passage in the finale of the Second Symphony, in which horns call out a sequence of military signals, symbolizing the hero, whose spirit will soon attain lasting peace. This reference seems to have an effect as the music loses control momentarily.
A trombone rises from the murky depths and sings a sorrowful arioso which Mahler directed to be played with sentiment. This lonely song like melody, played by one of the least likely instruments to carry a lyrical tune contains fragments of the vec roof and the cry of despair. It also recalls the mood of the second Symphony oolitic movement, it will appear again in the third movement of the Fourth Symphony.
The contemplative, even bemused expression of this extended trombone solo seems out of keeping with the star character of the rest of the first subject, yet the inclusion of the motive of the wall, the falling minor second, and the super octave leap of death with which the solo concludes. Recall the tragic fate to which all life is destined plaintively, the English horn takes over the back room variant, ending on the motive of the wall. Then something strange happens to the accompanying violin tremeloes they turn into grace noted trills, answered by repeated harp plucks on rising thirds that hints subtly at a change of scene and mood, for that is just what occurs in this brief bridge passage, without the slightest reticence, clarinets sound, the peaceful corral that served earlier as a transition to the second subject, just as unexpectedly, a solo violin softly sings a variant of the pan March theme, to shimmering woodwinds. Suddenly, the progress of the theme is halted by a sequence of sustained trills, beginning in bass strings and moving through cellos and violas, two violins.
Each trill tone decorated by an awkward run of grace notes. It all sounds like a marching band gearing up to begin. A trumpet enters with a variant of the pan March theme on dotted and dactylic rhythms. As the march becomes more energetic and lighthearted, a Piccolo flippantly flips out its whimsical drunken motive sounding giddy when played out of tempo. A feeling of jubilation gradually takes hold, as all these elements come together, throughout an extensive build up into the return of the pan March, the music remains quietly under control, as if not wishing to appear to intrusive. Trumpet softly enters with a segment of the march theme decorated with military signals. As the tonality changes from D flat to G flat, a solo horn takes up the second part of the pan theme, to the accompaniment of a decorative variant of another segment from the same subject. While orchestral forces continued to grow different sections develop the pan march in a splendid array of rhythmic patterns. When a clarinet plays the second part of the march theme, trombone and tuba thrust out with a falling octave, first stated quietly and then repeated by low strings more gruffly, before returning to the brass, and quickly softens. As a clarinet melody provides the themes ending phrase, all this leads into the next section. Cellos and basses in octaves begin with a stalwart march rhythm based upon fragments of the pan theme, without any accompaniment or harmonic underpinning.
In the section that follows in E flat minor, originally titled does gazoo, the mall the entire orchestra takes up the march and all of its associated motives in a rumbustious rebel.
From here thematic material from the second subject undergoes extensive development and the complex rhythms that serve as a company man overflow with energy and spirit in an orgy of Dionysian frenzy. Nothing like this has ever been heard in a symphony before. Critics were quick to condemn the vulgarity and raucousness of this passage as an outrageous affront to the dignity of the symphony. Grotesque he Hall figures that will be heard during the animal’s third movement, are prefigured in trombones and tuba to the wild abandon of whirling figuration, the march procession moves into full swing. With increasing power and confidence, It fights off the angry elements of the VAC roof variant from the first section, forcing it to join the lively March. The entire pan theme returns Gailey and boisterously, in the strings, sounding rather preposterous, like a caricature of the hero. Then trumpets softly sound the original vec roof summons, set against swirling trills and strings, and March rhythms and woodwind.
Having risen to full strength, the life asserting forces are now ready to engage the enemy. And thus the section that follows was originally marked, The Battle Begins. In a bright key of C major trombones courageously assert the original vec roof theme, joining with a Pan march theme, as robust March beats drive them into the fray.
The music of this battle section recalls the many military marches of the Wunderhorn leader, trumpet sound the call to victory on the hero motive, pressing forward into battle the back roof and pan March themes are suddenly hurtled into a wild and furious storm in B flat minor, originally marked, The Southern Storm by more striven by waves of rapid string figuration intensified by heavy stress on each beat, these themes become more fragmented, as the fury of the storm continues, even the drunken motive reduced to a mere whimper, scurries for cover as it breaks apart amidst the raging storm.
As the rapid string figuration dissolves, a military drum takes over in an extended series of march rhythms. As the March rhythms begin to recede into the distance, the recapitulation begins, and we hear again the great summons of the vec roof that opened the symphony. This time the rising three node figure used prominently as a thematic fragment during both the exposition and the development is varied slightly, each of its repetitions played a step higher, rising to the high point of the theme as if announcing the victory of life over its adversary.
Extraordinary length of the movement necessitates abbreviation of the expositions extensive and variegated material, but now only reprised as a distant memory the dark music of the first subject appears like a malevolent specter. The trombone arioso also returns as stern and threatening as ever, but it seems to have lost its force.
Sounding now rather lonely and ending with a gentle Wagnerian turn, as if pleading for an end to the hostilities. A feeling of serenity permeates the atmosphere, one senses that the life-negating forces have resigned themselves to their feet. Suddenly, low strings whisper tiny scraps of the Pan march theme, as if they are peeking out from the darkness, uncertain of the antagonist’s defeat.
Gradually, all of the life-affirming forces gathered together for the final victory celebration. The strong marching beat on clip dotted rhythms continues in low strings. For this vital march rhythm, the Herald motive greets a joyful statement of the vet groove theme and the horns. Woodwinds join in with the second part of the march theme. At first, the orchestra plays this joyful music softly, as if still hesitant to declare victory. One may be reminded of how Mahler kept the orchestra very quiet during the first presentation of the happy getting quite Morgan theme from the opening movement of the first Symphony, only to have it reach full bloom gradually. Finally, the violins assert the pan March demonstratively to the echoes of the hero motive on a trumpet fanfare. Soon the woodwinds joined the procession as it grows stronger and more assertive, rarely did Mahler right music have such unmitigated joy and exuberance. Not to be outdone, the little drunken mode of joins in the merrymaking, it seems to make light of the Velcro theme that resounds majestically in winds and strings.
With the Pan march now in full swing, the entire orchestra celebrates life to the grand and proud strains of the vec roof, no longer a call to arise from slumber, but a grand delinquent declaration of the life-affirming forces triumph over their adversary. Unexpectedly, an enormous gust of wind threatens to sweep away the prevailing happiness and bring back the darkness of lifeless inertia, as it did successfully once before, swept in on long, rapidly ascending harp with Sandoz punctuated by jabs of the violence motive in the woodwinds and strings. The negative forces tried to put a stop to the joyous celebration, but the life affirming forces quickly respond, horn calls tried to revive the rollicking martyrdom. Even the little drunken motive gets into the act in the trumpets. The tempo presses forward to start up the pan March yet again, a long sustained trill Oscars in the wild rhythms that had accompanied it before as trumpets ring out pans theme triumphantly. Even the whole figure heard briefly during the development of the second subject, tries to stamp out the aggressors. And finally, the entire orchestra comes together with all the power it can muster, trampling the enemy into the dust. A wave of ascending harp glissandos whisks the movement into a sharp orchestral stroke with which it end.
By Lew Smoley