“The first performance of the work took place at Munich on September 12, 1910, Mahler himself conducting. Its reception, which was overwhelming, was the first unqualified success that he had ever enjoyed. Eight months later he was dead.” – Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
Mahler’s massive complex “Symphony of a Thousand” has been called a crowning achievement of his career, a work that integrates on a truly grand scale the musical ideas, forms, and media that dominated his creative life. The symphony is in two parts. The first is a setting of words from the medieval Latin hymn “Veni, Creator Spiritus.” The words of the second part are taken from the final scene of Goethe’s Faust. The theme of this amalgam is the redemptive power of love, and its form is a powerful synthesis of motet, dramatic cantata, oratorio, song cycle, and symphony.
Mahler scored the work for orchestra, eight solo voices, double chorus, boys’ choir, and organ, eliciting from this mighty consortium the most subtle of musical nuances one moment and majestic torrents of sound the next. This authoritative full-score edition makes the Symphony No. 8 available at a reasonable price to all students and performers of Mahler, and all music lovers who wish to immerse themselves in the glories of this monumental masterpiece.