Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) composed ten monumental symphonies in his lifetime which were largely neglected for decades after his death but are now widely performed. His Fifth Symphony was his first attempt at writing from the heart. Many of his previous works called for the voice, which meant that a text was necessary; that helped him find his inspiration. However, at the turn of the 20th century all changed when he met Alma Schindler.
Drawing on a series of letters and meetings which punctuated their courtship and marriage, he composed his great Fifth Symphony. Mahler was fueled with tremendous emotion, especially when writing the fourth movement, the Adagietto – known for its delicacy and its passion and for being one of the most frequently recorded pieces of all time. The fifth and final movement ends the symphony like no other. Mahler does not hold back; it is full, loud and lavish! Like all of his nine finished symphonies, this one puts forth large, grandiose music that, when heard, gives the listener universal emotions of the cycle of life with all the love and loss that comes with it.
About the Instructor: As an American harpist, Lauren Woidela has travelled to three continents performing solo, chamber and orchestral concerts. As an instructor, she has given lectures for the musicology department of the Université de Paris-Sorbonne, focusing on 19th & 20th century music. She produced and hosted her own radio program for the former KXTR, Kansas City’s classical music radio station, captivating her audiences by bringing a fresh new view to classical music.
Photo Credit: Moritz Nahr
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