City of Music: Synagogue

In the City of Music

Mahler’s Jewish heritage gave him both specific musical sources and an ear for the outsider’s voice.
“Always an intruder, never welcomed....”
  • Mahler’s Jewish identity was a subject of much discussion among his contemporaries. The melodic shapes and intensity of expression were often cited as evidence.

  • Intensity could border on the histrionic, as in the first movement of the Fifth Symphony, when the tinny sound of a small band suddenly interrupts the solemn cortege.

Mahler's Methods

An Interval Distorted
  • In the second movement of the Fifth Symphony, the heart-felt leap of a ninth in the slow sad march becomes a circus-like“whoop-dee-do” in the quick one.

Related Examples