“My symphony will be something the world has never heard before. The whole of Nature will be lent a voice in it and will impart such deep secrets as those one might imagine in one’s dreams.” Mahler’s vision of music which reflects the world finds its monumental culmination in his Third Symphony. The god Pan awakes to dull drum beats and rumbling basses. From afar a lied theme feels its way to the fore. The mild season of Spring dawns with song, sounds of nature and the budding of vegetation; then at last Summer marches in, grotesquely distorted in its exuberance, expressing the dualism of the innocence of Nature and its terrifying primeval force. Only in the finale are these contrarieties united in glorious harmony – although an undercurrent of doubt is always present.
Sir Georg Solti and the London Symphony Orchestra are absolutely ideal for performing this mammoth, highly complex, multi-layered work. With fairly brisk tempi, clearly differentiated strings, and the usual excellent brass, Solti gives a gripping performance which no Mahler fan should miss – even if already has other recordings of the work in his collection.