Stürmisch bewegt, mit größter Vehemenz

Good Music Speaks

The further the music develops, the more complex the apparatus used by the composer to express his thoughts becomes.”

  • Gustav Mahler

The second movement of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony is marked “Stürmisch bewegt, mit größter Vehemenz” (Turbulently Rough, With Greatest Vehemence).  Where the first movement Funeral March expressed mourning, despair and anguish, this second movement gives us overwhelming rage and anger.  The fury of this sonata form movement is the next step in the psychological grieving process that Mahler is traversing in his Fifth.  The size and scope of this second movement also shows us the real function of the first movement.  Many large sonata forms of the late 19th century had sizable introductions, usually in slower tempo than the rest of the movement.  Mahler’s “introduction” section grew, evolved, and broke off into a movement of its own as what is now the Trauermarsch.  With that in…

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