Sunday, March 04, 2007
The slow fourth movement of Mahler's Fifth Symphony is an adagietto for strings and harp. This movement is often played separately and displays a melancholy and soulful sound that is like a haunting reverie.
It is perhaps this quality that led Luchino Visconti to select it as part of the background music for his film version of Death in Venice, based on the novel by Thomas Mann. It is this music that forever linked Mahler with the character of Gustav Aschenbach as he is so-named in Mann's text. This music is among my favorite within the oeuvre of a composer who bridged the turn of the century and looked forward from the Romanticism of the nineteenth into the modernism of the twentieth.