Symphony No. 7 In B Minor/E Minor – Introduction

Listening Guide


The Work

Occasionally, the subtitle The Song of the Night has been appended to the Seventh Symphony, presumably relating to the two movements (the second and fourth) that Mahler entitled Nachtmusik. However, Mahler did not append a subtitle to the symphony. Regarding the symphony’s principal key, some have referred to it as B minor, the key in which the symphony begins. However, the first movement is clearly in E minor which relates more directly than B minor to both the keys of the second movement and the finale (C minor/major and C major respectively), although more remotely to those of the other movements.

Date(s) of composition: 1904-5; published by Bote & Bock, Berlin (1909)
Place(s) of composition: Maiernigg
Premiere:Prague, 19 September 1909, Mahler conducting
Orchestration: Piccolo, 4 flutes (4th doubling as 2d piccolo), 4 oboes, English horn, clarinet in E-flat, 3 clarinets in A and B-flat, 3 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, tenor horn in B-flat (referred to in English as a >baritone=), 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (bass drum, snare drum, tambourine, tam-tam, triangle, cymbals, rute (sticks), cowbells and glockenspiel), 2 harps, guitar, mandolin and strings.
Performers: Vienna Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein
Movements: 5 movements with second and fourth movements each entitled Nachtmusik and third Scherzo.
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