The Symphony No.5 by Gustav Mahler was composed in 1901 and 1902, mostly during the summer months at Mahler’s cottage at Maiernigg. Among its most distinctive features are the funereal trumpet solo that opens the work and the frequently performed Adagietto.
The musical canvas and emotional scope of the work, which lasts over an hour, are huge. After its premiere, Mahler is reported to have said, “Nobody understood it. I wish I could conduct the first performance fifty years after my death.” Conductor Herbert von Karajan said that when one hears Mahler’s Fifth, “you forget that time has passed. A great performance of the Fifth is a transforming experience. The fantastic finale almost forces you to hold your breath.”