Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 1 / Sir Simon Rattle, conductor · Berliner Philharmoniker / Recorded at the Berlin Philharmonie, 5 November 2010

Gustav Mahler (1860 – 1911) was an Austro-Bohemian composer and conductor from the late Romantic period of music. Today’s piece, the Symphony No. 1 in D major was mainly composed between late 1887 and March 1888.

The extract is from the start of the fourth movement.

Things to listen out for:

  • The introduction consisting of an abrupt cymbal crash, a loud chord in the upper woodwinds, string and brass, and a timpani roll, all in succession.
  • Fanfares in the brass section

The symphony is scored for a very large orchestra, consisting of the following:

  • Woodwinds – 4 flutes, 4 oboes, 4 clarinets, 3 bassoons 
  • Brass – 7 horns, 5 trumpets, 4 trombones, 1 tuba
  • Percussion – 6 timpani, 1 bass drum, cymbals, triangle, tam-tam
  • Strings – 1 harp, 1st violins, 2nd violins, violas, cellos, double basses

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