Mahler's Adagietto from Symphony No. 5 - Death in Venice (Film)

Classical Music / Movement from a Symphony 

The fourth movement of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5 in C# minor, Adagietto, which lasts about 10 minutes, is often considered his most famous composition and is frequently performed of his works. Its orchestration scored only for strings and harp. It is said to represent Mahler's love song to his wife Alma.

In the simmering tumult of the Fifth Symphony, the fourth movement, Adagietto ("little Adagio"), is calm, with its gentle sound and restrained mood of sustained string notes and a bit of harp. It has full of longing - beginning quietly with graceful melody before it gradually rises to a soaring climax, then ends peacefully. Likely so, Adagietto is featured in the film Death in Venice, in 1971. In this French-Italian film adaptation of Thomas Mann's novel of the same name directed by Luchino Visconti, Dirk Bogarde stars as avant-garde composer Gustave Aschenbach (loosely based on Gustav Mahler), travels to a Venetian seaside resort in search of repose after a period of artistic and personal stress. Instead of finding peace there, he soon develops a troubling attraction to an adolescent boy, Tadzio (Björn Andrésen), on vacation with his family. The boy embodies an ideal of beauty that Gustave has long sought and he becomes infatuated. However, the onset of a deadly pestilence endangers them both physically and represents the corruption that signifies threats and destruction to all ideals.

Mahler's Symphony No. 5 

One problem for Mahler's early audiences lies in his long symphonies, scored for huge orchestra. Mahler composed his Fifth Symphony during the summers of 1901 and 1902, spent at his new summer-house in central Austria. At its premiere in Cologne in 1904, the symphony was a complete failure with an audience unprepared for its dramatic power and scope. Yet a century later, the Fifth has become one of Mahler's most popular symphonies.

Mahler's "Adagietto" for Choir:

Mahler's "Adagietto" for Choir.  Arranged by Gerard Pesson. Accentus Chamber Choir. Conducted by Laurence Equilbey.  So beautiful!  Accessed May 10, 2018.

Video Credit:

Death in Venice - G Mahler, Adagietto from Symphony No. 5. YouTube, uploaded by Thomai Pavlidou. Accessed July 7, 2017.

Gustave Mahler - Adagietto. Leonard Bernstein. Youtube, uploaded by Adagietto. Accessed July 9, 2017. (Sehr langsam. Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor, 1901-02.  Wiener Philharmoniker, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein)

Luchino Visconti Morte a Venecia 1971. (Death in Venice). YouTube, uploaded by Slava Batareykin. Accessed 7 July 2017.

Gustav Mahler-Film "Mort a Venise"-"Morte a Venezia"-"Death in Venice"-Luchino Visconti-(1971).  Youtube, uploaded by bilitis131313. Accessed 7 July 2017.


Symphony No 5.  Accessed July 7, 2017.

Symphony No. 5 Mahler.  Accessed July 7, 2017.

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