Music A level Mahler's 4th symphony

a brief summary of all the important and less obvious things about mahler's 4th

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  • Created by: Ella Shaw
  • Created on: 11-06-12 14:18

1st movement

Structure- exposition bar 1-71 (short intro bar 1-3), shortened repeat bar 72-90, codetta bar 91-101, development Fig 8-Fig 18, recapitulation Fig 18- bar 232, codetta Bar 233-339, coda Bar 340-end

Melody- Theme I (eg bar 3-6 in the violin Is) very Mozartian and Classical, Theme IIeg (bar 7-9 in lower strings), Theme III (eg bar 14 in oboes) triplet figures which reoccur throughout the movement, Theme IV (eg Fig 3-bar 40 cellos) featuring portamentos, Theme V (eg bar 47-51 i cellos) legato and diatonic like theme IV, Theme VI (eg Fig 4-bar 59 in oboes), Theme VII (eg Fig 7-bar 95 in cellos) glissandi give a sense of yearning, paradise theme (eg bar 126 in flutes) 3 note motif that appears throughout this symphony and others

Other things to remember- Bell like motif (bar 1-3, flutes) open 5ths, represents austrian cattle bells that Mahler heard in his childhood; appoggiaturas (eg bar 22 cellos and basses) gives austrian flavour; fast changing harmonic rhythm and chromaticism (eg bar 34, violins, oboes and horns); Looking back at theme one falling 6ths (bar 99 in cellos); B minor melodic scale in violins bar 103; E minor melodic horn bar 106; settle in E minor (relative minor) bar 109; Elements of Neopolitan harmony in clarinets and bassoons Bar 117; climax Fig 17

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2nd movement

Structure- scherzo and trio (A and B respectively)

Scherzo features- scordatura violin (tuned a tone higher), low registers (e.g. flutes bar 11), muted to give a feathery sound, based around the keys of C major/minor, in C major passage- high piercing harp notes keep the macabre feel, shrill sounds from use of piccolo (e.g. bar 200)

Trio features- based around the pastoral keys of F/D major, Landler dance (german folk dance), open 5th drones in the horns (e.g. bar 72), ornamentation diatonic clarinet melody (e.g. bar 71), arpeggio shaped melody (e.g. bar 84 violins), Quartet Intimacy bar 242-243

Coda- thinner texture, extremes of pitch (eg bar 344in flutes and horns), juxtaposition of scherzo and trio

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3rd movement (part 1)

Stucture- Bar Form AAB where A is Abgesang (before song) and B is Aufegesang (after song) inside an A1 B1 A2 B2 A3 structure. 

A1/A2- "ruhevoll"-peaceful, G major, melody line in upper cellos, static inner notes create dissonance, gentle active pizza bass line, countermelody in violin (bar 17) and then oboe (Fig 1), high tessitura (bar 37), Abgesang melody largely descends and is fairly conjunct (bar 40 violins), Glissando in cellos (e.g. bar 47) creates a sense of yearning, strings to the fore

B1/B2- "klagend"- lamenting, plaintive oboe melody, no string (eg Fig 2), reply to oboe tune (violins bar 66) gives a sense of yearning and agitation, german sixth (bar 67), climbing melody (e.g. bar 84 violins), descending chromatic figure (bar 89-90 oboes and trumpets), fragments of bel motif works its way through the orchestra (bar 93-97), tonally unstable Fig 6, tonally unstable horns (bar 183), oboe melody tonally unstable and self indulgent (bar 195)

A3, main theme treated in variations in which the changes in metre, tempo and overall length quicken to produce an increasing sense of urgency- melody reminiscent of beginning (Fig 9), E major Fig 10, boisterous (continued next card)

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3rd movement (part 2)

A3 (continued)- horn lead in slows everything down (bar 282)

Coda part 1- major, virtuosic 12 part writing that represents heaven, parade theme in trumpets, brass fanfare

Coda part 2- C major bar 332, rhythmic augmentation in the harp from bar 332-342, pppp, tessitura, falling scale in second violin, morrendo gives ghostly feel, ends on D major- not resolved to chord I

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4th movement (part 1)

Structure- Prelude, Verse 1, Interlude, Verse 2, interlude, Verse 3, interlude, verse 4, postlude

Prelude- setting the scene of heaven, diatonic, paradise theme in opening clarinet melody, gentle harp pattern , soft dominant pedal in horns, slow harmonic rhythm

Verse 1- "we enjoy heavenly life and therefore avoid earthly ones", same melodic idea as beginning in clarinet, soprano  melody representative of original clarinet melody, triadic, childlike without parody, move to A minor from G major bar 16, chorale passage bar 36- "saint peter in heaven looks on" more reverential

Interlude- Bell motif from beginning of symphony, repetition, loud dynamics

Verse 2- "St luke slaughters the ox without any thought or concern", plaintive oboe motif represents forlorn lamb (bar 58), bass clarinet, horn and bass represent ox (bar 67) 

Interlude- B minor, again lively

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4th movement (part 2)

Verse 3 longest verse of movement as it is 2 verses from original poem- "good greens of every sort grow in the garden of heaven, good asparagus, string beans", accompaniment- soft strings with decorated tonic pedal, countermelody parade theme in oboe, chorale passage (fig 10) first time soft horns and trumpets, second time flutes, clarinets and double bass, modal D minor

Interlude- Starts B minor goes to E major Fig 12, first 7 bars same as before, Fig 12 graceful flute melody, diatonic and conjunct, E major gives a sense of homecoming

Verse 4- "there is truly no music on earth with which ours can be compared", E major, pedal in bass, starts triadic, legato, diatonic, conduct, light accompaniment, small texture, st. ursula laughing is represented in the music bar 151, Cacilia the patron saint of music mentioned bar 158, descending E major scale voice bar 169, sense of high to low

Postlude- E major, last bars, slows down, dies away to nothing, low register, ppp ends on an E

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