City of Music: Church

In the City of Music

Music shaped by the sacred tradition reflects Mahler’s ongoing search for spiritual transcendence through art.
“O believe, my heart, O believe”
VIDEO:MTT on Mahler’s Vienna years
  • The end of the second movement of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony evokes the sounds of church chorales. The music reflects a particularly productive period in his life, when his job at the Vienna Court Opera allowed him the resources to build a home in Maiernigg, where he conceived the Fifth Symphony.

  • A dramatic chorale marks the climax one of Mahler’s settings of the poetry of Friedrich Rückert. In “Midnight,” (Um Mitternacht), the narrator suffers isolation and doubt until the final verse: “At midnight I put my strength in your hands: Lord of death and life, you keep the watch at midnight.”