For me, Gustav Mahler is the ultimate in classical music. As a director and composer, he found ways to get all he could from each instrument in the orchestra. No one does loud like Mahler. And for a heart-wrenching adagio, Mahler is unparalleled. Here is my list of the top ten Mahler pieces.
10. Symphony 2, Movement 5. Resurrection Symphony
Mahler’s take on Judgment Day
9.Symphony 4, Movement 3.
One of his elegant slow movements–solemn, peaceful.
8. Symphony 6, “Tragic,” Movement 2. Andante moderato
Another slow and poignant piece
7. Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth): Von der Jugend (On Youth)
Mahler was superstitious. Beethoven died after writing his 9th symphony. So Mahler named his ninth orchestra work, Das Lied von der Erde, a cycle of songs with orchestra. He was later to write a 9th Symphony, after which he did in fact die.
6. Symphony 1, “The Titan” Movement 1
Opens like the break of dawn
5. Symphony 4, Movement 1
A symphony that begins with sleigh bells!!
4. Ruckert Song, Liebst du um Schonheit (If You Love Beauty)
A song to be sung at a wedding.
If you love for beauty, do not love me!
Love the sun with its golden hair!
If you love for youth, do not love me!
Love spring – spring is new every year!
If you love for riches, do not love me!
Love the mermaid, she has many luminous pearls.
If you love for loves sake, then love me!
Love me forever, I love you always, forever!
3. Symphony 2, Movement 2 Andante Moderato
I simply love the strings in this waltz like movement
2. Symphony 8, Movement 1 Veni, Creator (Come, Creator!) The so-called Symphony of a Thousand because of the incredible number of players and singers).
1. Symphony 5, Movement 4 Adagietto.
Mahler’s expression of love to his wife Alma.
In 1996, Russia skater Ekaterina (Katia) Gordiva lost her husband and pairs partner Sergei Grinkov (twice Olympic gold, and four times World Champions). She skated this movement in honor of him.