Mahler 1 – Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Riccardo Chailly

Most classical music guides write that Gustav Mahler’s symphonies all originate from and are inspired by the impressive backdrop of the Alps. All except one: the First. Mahler wrote his first symphony in the springtime of 1888 in Leipzig, close to the Rosental, where the then 28 year-old had moved into an apartment.

The first version of the symphony had not only four but five movements. Since 1880, Mahler had been working as both a conductor as well as a composer at the city theater of Leipzig and therefore was widely perceived as a “composing conductor” by the general public rather than a true composer. He used every free minute to work on the piece and for a long while wasn’t sure if it was more a symphonic poem than a symphony in itself. He prepared a full program for the premiere of his finished work in 1893 in Hamburg to make it easier for the audience to understand it. After a few performances , though, he dropped the program and later also the work’s subtitle “The Titan”, taken from a poem by Jean Paul, was dropped in the printed score of 1899. This printed version also only contained four movements.

Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhausorchester bring the first symphony, the (former) “Titan” to life in a riveting performance, paying hommage to the composer and to “their” city, in which this wonderful symphony was written.

Gustav Mahler
Symphony No. 1 in D major

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Riccardo Chailly, conductor

Year of production:2015
Duration:ca. 55 minutes
Recording Date:February 2015
Co-Production Company:MDR
Associated Production Company:Arte
Executive Producer:Paul Smaczny
Distribution TV:C Major Entertainment
Director:Ute Feudel