is the most remarkably spiritual song of the set. Recycled a year after its composition as the fourth movement of the second symphony, it is deceptive in its simplicity. The extraordinary serenity of the chorale-like section, for instance, is the product of a constantly changing time signature that punctuates the phrases and allows pauses for reflection. Both earthly sorrow and heavenly bliss are sketched in with vivid economy, the singer’s ‘broad path’ signalled by birdsong in the manner of Ich ging mit Lust
—a vision of heaven as a paradise of nature, while the impassioned tremolandi and yearning intervals of the climax expand a mere five minutes of music into an entire treatise on the human condition. Nothing could better illustrate the crucial importance of the Wunderhorn
world to Mahler’s vision—musical, emotional and spiritual.
from notes by Roger Vignoles © 2008