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16/10/2014

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Mahler Symphony 1 - First Movement Analysis

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Frhling und kein Ende (Spring and No End)


The first movement is in modified sonata form in 4/4 time throughout. It begins with
a slow introduction representing the gradual "awakening of nature from a long
winter's sleep" (from the Hamburg program).
Introduction:

Symphony 4

Symphony 6

Bar:
1-9

Langsam. Schleppend
(Slowly. Dragging)
Wie ein Naturlaut

Theme of fourths (Nature Theme)

Symphony 7

9-15

Pi mosso

Clarinet fanfare (Awakening call)

Symphony 8

16-21

Tempo I

Theme of fourths

Symphony 9

22-27

Pi mosso

Trumpet fanfare (Awakening call)

Symphony 10
(Unfinished)

28-29

Tempo I

Theme of fourths

30-31

Pi mosso

Cuckoo calls

32-35

Tempo I

Slow mellow horn melody

36-39

Pi mosso

Trumpet fanfare

40-43

Tempo I

Slow Mellow horn melody

44-46

Pi mosso

Trumpet fanfare and cuckoo calls

47-58

Tempo I

Chromatic bass motif and theme of fourths

Symphony 5

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First Movement Analysis

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The tempo of the introduction section alternates between:


Langsam. Schleppend (Slowly. Dragging) - Depicts nature's slumber.
Pi mosso (more movement). - Awakening calls of fanfares on clarinet and
trumpet.
The strings hold the note A, spread over a range of seven octaves, the violins using
harmonics for the highest registers. A two-note motif is gradually developed in the
woodwinds establishing the following repeated pattern of descending fourths,
reminiscent of the first movement of Beethovens 9th Symphony in d minor:

(MP3 Format)
This nature theme is interrupted by a fanfare awakening call played by the
clarinets, and later by muted offstage trumpets, indicated in the score: "In sehr
weiter Entfernung aufgestellt" ("At a very far distance"):

(MP3 Format)
A slow and mellow melody is later introduced in the horns with directions to be "sung
very softly":

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Mahler Symphony 1 - First Movement Analysis

(MP3 Format)
After more interruptions by the trumpets playing the fanfare theme, a rising
chromatic motif is played by the double bass and cellos, with the nature theme
layered on top by the trumpets.

(MP3 Format)
The ending of the introduction leads seamlessly into the exposition through the
gradual build up of the descending two-note cuckoo motif which transforms itself into
the main theme of the first movement, marking the beginning of the exposition.

(MP3 Format)
Exposition:
62-74

Song theme

75-108

Music from third verse of 2nd song from: Lieder eines fahrendon Gesellen

109-135 Music from first verse of 2nd song from: Lieder eines fahrendon Gesellen
136-162 Final group (taken from Tirili motif)
The exposition breaks free from the tense atmosphere established in the introduction
section, becoming carefree and light. The main theme takes its melody from the
second song from Mahlers Lieder eines fahrendon Gesellen, titled: "Ging heut'
Morgen bers Feld". The songs lyrics: "Isn't it becoming a fine world?; Chirp! Chirp!
Fair and sharp!; How the world delights me!" translate beautifully both musically and
semantically.

(MP3 Format)
This melody first appears in the cellos and gradually builds in dynamic as it makes its
way through the different sections of the orchestra, eventually being played by the
entire brass section. A new bird call is introduced towards the end of the exposition:
the Tirilli motif. It begins in the woodwinds and is later shared with the strings:

(MP3 Format)
The exposition is repeated.
Development:
163-206

Part I: New form of introduction (now with gradual retard) without use of
clarinet and trumpet fanfares, with the inclusion of the Tirili motif;
preparation of cello theme

207-304

Part II:

209-220

Fanfare theme of the horns

221-229

Cantabile cello theme (functioning as a secondary theme)

225-304

Renewed statement and development of the song motif in changing


colors, including the cantabile cello theme

305-357

Part III: A foreshadowing of the inferno in anticipation of a section from


the Finale (bars 574-628)

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Mahler Symphony 1 - First Movement Analysis

352-357

"Breakthrough": Trumpet fanfares and woodwind and horn signals

358-442

Recapitulation

443-450

Coda

The development section begins as a new form of the introduction, keeping the drone A
and cuckoo calls, the clarinet and trumpet fanfare motif is however, suppressed until
later in the section. The opening also incorporates the newly introduced Tirilli motif. A
cantabile cello theme is introduced which functions as a secondary theme:

(MP3 Format)
The song motif is developed through variations in colour, dynamic and orchestration.
The inferno section from the Finale is also hinted upon in this section creating a
terrifying darkness which directly contrasts against the joyous Breakthrough climax
which immediately follows.
Overview: Mahler Symphony 1
Context Of Mahler's First Symphony
Creation & Origin

When Symphony Written


Incorporating Previous Works
Premiere
Negative Reception

Mahlers Symphonic Debut, Reaction & Pursuing Revisions

Hamburg Revised Ed, 2nd Performance & Divided Reception


3rd Weimar Performance & Divided Reception
4th Berlin Performance 'Absolute Music'
Origin & Description

Blumine Movement

Reasons For Removal


Blumine's Discovery In 1966
Blumine's 20th Century Premiere
Symphonys Beginnings As Program Music
Different Versions Of Program Notes

The Symphonys Beginnings As Programme Music

Analysis Of Title: 'Titan'


Analysis Of Funeral March Title
Reasons For Removal Of Program Notes

Musical Structure

Final 4 Movement Structure


Previous Structures
1st Movement - Themes, Motifs With Audio Examples

Musical Analysis

2nd Movement - Themes, Motifs With Audio Examples


3rd Movement - Themes, Motifs With Audio Examples
4th Movement - Themes, Motifs With Audio Examples
Instrumentation
List Of Premieres

Other

List Of Publications
MIDI File Downloads
Sheet Music Download (External Site)
Bibliography & Further Reading List

184
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