The MGM logo: a hand-drawn cartoon of Mahler at the podium, glaring at the audience

Main heading: The Music of Gustav Mahler: A Catalogue of Manuscript and Printed Sources [rule] Paul Banks





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[Unidentified work (a source for the Third Symphony), 1869–78]
















Printed Editions






No information about this work is available, except the fact that it shared some material with the fourth movement of the Third Symphony. When discussing that work with Natalie Bauer-Lechner in the summer of 1899, Mahler talked about the meaning of the third movement, and then continued (NBL 118; NBL2 136, NBLE, 129–30):

Wie aus dem wirren Traum das Erwachen – oder vielmehr ein leises Sich-seiner-selbst-bewußt-werden – folgt das Adagio darauf. Ich habe mich immer besonnen, woher ich das Thema kenne; heute fällt mir ein, daß es aus einer Komposition meiner Gymnasialzeit ist. Da standen die ersten Takte ganz so da wie in dem '0 Mensch'; aber darnach wurde es gleich trivial.

Like the moment of awakening after a confused dream – or rather a gentle return to consciousness of one's own reality – there now follows the Adagio. I've always wondered how I came to know the theme; today it came to me that it is from a composition from my time at the Gymnasium. The initial bars were there exactly as in 'O Mensch'; but thereafter it was just trivial.

This suggests that the incorporation of the previously-composed material was the result of an unconscious creative process. However it remains unclear what type of work the source was, and it is worth noting that Isabelle Werck (IWGM, 165) has drawn attention to the similarities between the opening of the fourth movement of the Third Symphony and Das klagende Lied (Part II in the 1880 version; Part I in the published version).

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