Symphony No. 1 in D, "Titan"
Mahler composed his 1st Symphony before he was 30 years old. This is
the only symphony he wrote that still reminds us of symphonies in Beethoven's
style. The symphony is one of Mahler's dramatic works, and for this reason
it was given the name "Titan", meaning enormous. Originally,
it had an additional movement, the "flowers movement", omitted
from the symphony after a few performances.
||The cuckoo's call opens the first movement, and the other themes will
develop from it. Nature wakens to a new dawn, and in contrast, comes a
chromatic theme in the low pitch strings - the cellos and the contrabasses.
||The scherzo movement, that develops the themes of the first movement
into a kind of a joyful country-dance, and on the other hand - an idyllic
counter subject in trio, after which returns the lively scherzo.
||A kind of a burial march that presents a parade of the mourning, ironically,
whereas the music is built on the melody of a children's song known to
all of us as "Frere Jacques", in fact an ancient French children's
song. Here it is played as a canon and in a sad, minor key, and an optimistic
melody that will enter in its midst, will soon be cast aside, for the sake
of the depressing canon.
||The concluding movement, which, as Mahler usually does, is the central
part of the piece, forms the symphony's peak. This movement is dramatic
and energetic, and it consists of three parts, as the tempestuous march
theme opens, after which is a lyric section, and at the end - the impressive
Mahler destroyed most of his early work, because he considered them not
mature enough for playing. Symphony no. 1 was published after several songs
he released in the "Songs of a Wandering Apprentice" and "A
Boy's Magical Horn" collections, and the atmosphere that dominates
it, is one of youth's memories, love and suffering.