Of all his symphonies, Mahler gave the Fourth, his favorite and problem child, his most particular attention. “The Heavenly Life,” a humoresque composed in 1892 for soprano and piano, which he already wanted to use in the final movement of the Third Symphony under the title “What the Child Tells Me,” ultimately became the nucleus and final movement of the Fourth.
Even after publication in 1901, Mahler kept repeatedly refining the orchestration. His maxim “not without my retouching” led to a whole series of revised reprints. It is probably no coincidence that Mahler performed especially the Fourth Symphony in his last two New York concerts in February 1911, using this opportunity to review once again the score and parts.
This performance material with his “retouching” served as the main source for the new edition. Furthermore, included for the first time were corrections and annotations in conjunction with performances of the Fourth, which Mahler entered into the scores of conductors such as Mengelberg and Wickenhauser.
Instrumentation: 4(2picc).3(cor ang).3(Eb-clar.Bb-clar).3(dble bsn)–22.214.171.124–hp.timp.perc(4).–strings
Duration: 54 min.