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Mahler: Symphony No. 3

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: what the little kids tell me…

Gustav Mahler’s third symphony is his longest work, usually clocking in over two hours in performance.

Mahler liked to think of his symphony as tracing across its movements a philosophical hierarchy of all creation: from nature, through plants, animals, humans, to the spiritual realm beyond.

This fifth movement, a disarmingly cheerful and simple statement of faith, was subtitled “What the Angels Tell Me.”

Although the rapturous finale, subtitled “What Love Tells Me,” finishes this chain, it is noteworthy that Mahler still placed his plucky angels one movement higher than the great philosopher Friedrich Neitzche, from whose Also Sprach Zarathustra the preceding movement takes its text!

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