City of Music: Countryside

In the City of Music

Throughout his life, Mahler returned to the natural environment for inspiration.
“My music is always the voice of nature sounding in tone…”
VIDEO:MTT on Mahler as health enthusiast
  • Mahler was a great health enthusiast, including physical activity in many forms. His love of outdoor exercise is reflected musically in the fifth movement of his Fifth Symphony. The rhythmic and melodic contours evoke the rolling contours of the countryside.

  • Sometimes exercise was a direct source of inspiration. “I made up my mind to finish the Seventh, both Andantes of which were then on my table. I plagued myself for two weeks until I sank into gloom … then I tore off to the Dolomites… I got into the boat to be rowed across. At the first stroke of the oars the theme (or rather the rhythm and character) of the introduction to the first movement came into my head — and in four weeks, the first, third, and fifth movements were done.