Symphony No 8 in E flat major, 'Symphony of a Thousand'
The Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major by Gustav Mahler is one of the largest-scale choral works in the classical concert repertoire. Because it requires huge instrumental and vocal forces it is frequently called the "Symphony of a Thousand", although the work is normally presented with far fewer than a thousand performers and the composer did not sanction that name. The work was composed in a single inspired burst, at Maiernigg in southern Austria in the summer of 1906. The last of Mahler's works that was premiered in his lifetime, the symphony was a critical and popular success when he conducted the Munich Philharmonic in its first performance, in Munich, on 12 September 1910.
The fusion of song and symphony had been a characteristic of Mahler's early works. In his "middle" compositional period after 1901, a change of direction led him to produce three purely instrumental symphonies. The Eighth, marking the end of the middle period, returns to a combination of orchestra and voice in a symphonic context. The structure of the work is unconventional; instead of the normal framework of several movements, the piece is in two parts. Part I is based on the Latin text of a 9th-century Christian hymn for Pentecost, Veni creator spiritus ("Come, Creator Spirit"), and Part II is a setting of the words from the closing scene of Goethe's Faust. The two parts are unified by a common idea, that of redemption through the power of love, a unity conveyed through shared musical themes.
Performances & Interviews
- Mahler: Symphony No. 8https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01w4wfg.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01w4wfg.jpg2014-03-24T14:36:00.000ZJulian Johnson considers recordings of Mahler's 8th Symphony, "The Symphony of a Thousand" and recommends his personal favourite.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01w4wfl
Mahler: Symphony No. 8Julian Johnson considers recordings of Mahler's 8th Symphony, "The Symphony of a Thousand" and recommends his personal favourite.