Mahler Symphony No. 3 & Kindertotenlieder

San Francisco Symphony Mahler No. 3 Cover Image

Complete 44kHz PCM (WAV - 1.32GB):

$15.00 USD

Complete 96kHz PCM (FLAC - 2.90GB):

$30.00 USD

Complete 96kHz PCM (WAV - 4.31GB):

$30.00 USD

Complete 2.8MHz DSD (DSF - 5.28GB):

$40.00 USD

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Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano
Vance George chorus director
Women of the SFS Chorus
Pacific Boychoir
San Francisco Symphony Chorus

Recorded live at
Davies Symphony Hall
San Francisco,
September 25 - 29, 2001
September 19 - 23, 2001

This recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 3 and Kindertotenlieder was made possible by the encouragement and generous leadership funding of
Mr. Gordon Getty.

Special thanks to David Kawakami and Colin Cigarran of the Sony Super Audio CD project.

Producer: Andreas Neubronner
Balance Engineer: Peter Laenger
Tape Operator: Rita Hermeyer
Editing, Remixing, and Mastering: Andreas Neubronner
Technical Assistance: Jack Vad
DSD Recording: Dawn Frank
Art Direction and Design: Alan Trugman
Cover Photo: Susan Schelling
Inside Cover Photo: Kristen Loken
Mahler Photo: The Kaplan Foundation Collection, New York
Editorial: Larry Rothe

Mahler Symphony No. 3 in D minor

When Mahler visited Sibelius in 1907, the two composers talked about “the essence of symphony.” Mahler rejected his colleague’s creed of severity, style, and logic, saying that “a symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything.” Twelve years earlier, at work on the Third, he had remarked that to “call it a symphony is really incorrect as it does not follow the usual form. The term ‘symphony’—to me, this means creating a world with all the technical means available.”

In his opening melody, Mahler invites association with the slow movement of Beethoven’s last quartet, Opus 135. Soon, though, the music is caught in “motion, change, flux,” and before the final triumph it encounters again the catastrophe that interrupted the first movement. The adagio’s original title, What Love Tells Me, refers to Christian love, to agape, and the performance directions speak to the issue of spirituality, for Mahler enjoins that the immense final bars with their thundering kettledrum be played “not with brute strength, [but] with rich, noble tone,” and that the last measure “not be cut off sharply”—so that there is some softness to the edge between sound and silence at the end of this most riskily and gloriously comprehensive of Mahler’s worlds.

—edited excerpt from booklet


Mahler was an expert on the deaths of children. Seven of his thirteen siblings died in infancy, and his favorite brother, Ernst, died at thirteen. We do not know when Mahler first read the Kindertotenlieder by Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866), but he was ready for them. In 1901, when he composed the first, second, and fifth songs of the cycle, Mahler had no children of his own and was not yet married. In 1904, when he completed the cycle, he was the father of two daughters, Maria, going on two, and Anna, just born. Alma Mahler was appalled that the father of two healthy children should write Kindertotenlieder; when Maria died of diphtheria in the summer of 1907, Alma was convinced that her husband had tempted fate. Rückert’s own children, Ernst and Luise, died in 1836. The 423 Kindertotenlieder were the poet’s response to this catastrophe.

—excerpt from booklet