Where We’ve Been: Movement I – a mix of atmosphere and chirpy songs with a bit of drama at the end.
And now, in the second movement, which is the scherzo of the symphony, Mahler pays homage to that very famous Austrian dance style, the ländler. This movement is probably the most straightforward of all Mahler movement in any of his symphonies. (At least if you’re trying to write about it.) It doesn’t necessarily carry any double meanings, it’s not tricky to follow – it’s just a Scherzo theme with a Trio theme in the middle and both of them are about the joy of dance.
So here we go.
(0:00) The Scherzo is a slightly clod-hopping but enthusiastic country dance. But don’t be fooled. Even though the dance itself might be simple, the orchestral colours are amazing. Muted trumpets, big bursts of timpani playing, swirling strings, pizzicato (plucked strings). Crank it loud, people. Your neighbours could do with the happiness anyway.
(2:52) The Trio is a much smoother, more Viennese affair. I could see Andre Rieu programming this bit into one of his concerts.
(5:43) Then back to the Scherzo, this time in a shorter version.
See, how much fun was that?