Gustav Mahler - Adagietto (5th Symphony)
for Violin and Piano
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) composed his 5th Symphony in 1901-2, mostly on his summer breaks from conducting at the Vienna State Opera. In 1901, Mahler had experienced a near-death haemorrhage followed by a full recovery, which may have inspired the symphony's journey as a whole, from tragedy to triumph. The fourth movement Adagietto is scored for strings and harp only and has become one of Mahler's most well-known and popular works. During the composition of the symphony, Mahler met Alma Schindler, who after a short courtship became his wife. The Adagietto may have been composed as a declaration of love for Alma, although the evidence for this has been debated. It has regularly been performed and recorded separately, and achieved notably widespread renown for its use in the 1971 film Death in Venice. This arrangement for violin and piano faithfully translates the original work into a genuine piece of chamber music, with its highly charged emotion.
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