Gustav Mahler (1860 — 1911) — the Austrian composer, conductor, opera producer. His creative activity took place in many places. From 1880 he conducted different opera theatres in Austro-Hungary, including the Viennese Court Opera during the period of 1897 — 1907, from 1907 — in the USA, from 1897 he held performances in Russia.
Mahler is considered to be one of the most eminent and genuine symphonists of the world music history. His creation became the link between the romanticism of be 19th century and the 20th century's expressionism (first of all the New-Viennese school). Such distinguished composers of the 20th century аs D. Shostakovich, В. Britten, А. Schnitke were influenced by various aspects of his aesthetic method.
The Fourth Symphony was composed by Mahler during the period of 1899–1901, when he staid in Meyernig and Vienna. The idea was conceived right simultaneously with the author' s work at the Third Symphony (1895–1896). The sketches of both symphonies give evidence of thosetwo projects to be akin. In particular, the composer interchanged the movements' titles during the work at those symphonies. Е. g., the movement «Morning Chimes» in the Third Symphony was originally intended for the Fourth one; the Third's finale was planned as the song «Dwelling in Paradise» to the German traditional poems from the collection «Magic Horn of а Воу». It was composed by Mahler in 1892, becoming the Fourth's finale.
The Fourth Symphony was conceived in song «. It consists of four movements, being much more concised, than Mahler's usual symphonies. The elements of humour and irony dominate herc from light smile to phantasmagoria. Mahler remembered: «Frankly speaking, there was а symphonic humoresque to appear, but it occurred to be the symphony of normal sizes». The word «humoresque» points herc but not to diminished sizes. See the irony concealed in the finale. This is Paradise, where St Lucas is going to have supper оf beef chops, St Martha makes hustle and bustle in the kitchen, angels bake bread, while 11 thousands of innocent maidens dance accompanied by the divine music). Besides, this delibirate simplicity of the thematical exposition penetrates the whole composition. Неге one is stuck to the main theme of the first movement, stylized as the kind of melody peculiar to Mozart and Haydn.
The second movement is the grotesque scherzo with the solo violin tuned one tone higher (direction «Wie cine Fidel» — «Like Fidel» — reveals the author willing to imitate the folk fiddle). This movement is known to have been initially called «Freud Hein spielt auf» — «Death is Playing». Freud Hein is the traditional death' s name.
The рremiere took place in Frankfurt on November 25, 1901. The author himself performed it.