Talk:Symphony No. 8 (Mahler)

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First discussion of instrumentation[edit]

On orchestration: I feel that the length the orchestration takes up is OKAY for this symphony, since it boasts of it. If anyone thinks of shrinking it, I may recommend against it. -- A Wang (talk/contrb.) 18:03, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

I think I'm with ILike2BeAnonymous here. Introducing the single-paragraph form as used elsewhere would be really difficult, but the current format is an excellent compromise. We don't need to make the section look typographically huge: people who read it will understand how huge it is anyway. EldKatt (Talk) 07:25, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Could someone who knows it add the the number for each instrument used that adds up to 1000. I think that would add to the article. Asmeurer (talkcontribs) 02:00, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
Pardon me, Asmeurer, for reverting your edits to the article. I don't think addition of links is necessary. Most, if not all, articles do not link to articles that way. Also, the symphony is not always performed with a thousand people. About four hundred is adequate to perform it, so there is not need to add it. — Andy W. (talk/contrb.) 15:20, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
Shouldn't the strings be in a separate section? It seems odd to have them under "miscellaneous". I nearly missed them altogether...--Zeisseng 17:44, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

How precisely does it all add up to 1000? It seems like the numbers listed in the article don't really indicate how many players there actually are. How many singers are there in a "mixed boys chorus"? How many trumpet players are there? Yes, there are 4 parts, but there is no indication of the actual number of players. Some clarification is needed.RSido (talk) 03:42, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

"Symphony of a Thousand" is just a nickname. The piece has very rarely, if ever performed with 1000 players. Some critic called it this can the name stuck. Even in a high count, there usually would be no more than 400 at most. It just looks more impressive on stage and looks like 1000 players. Justin Tokke (talk) 19:43, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
The program notes of the 1910 premiere in Munich (reproduced e.g. in: Kühn/Quander (eds.), Gustav Mahler, Zurich 1982, ISBN 3-280-01377-1, p. 132) shows that there were indeed more than 1000 performers engaged in the first performance, most of them members of the choirs:
Singverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien     250
Riedel-Verein Leipzig                                 250
Children's Choir of the Zentral-Musikschule München   350
Total choirs                                          850
Soloists                                                8
Orchestra                                             170
Organ                                                   1
Conductor                                               1
Total                                               1,030
Nonetheless, Mahler protested against the premiere being marketed as "fatal Barnum and Bailey performance" (Letter to Bruno Walter, March 1910) and against the surname "Symphony of a Thousand". --FordPrefect42 (talk) 20:57, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
About the 4 trumpets, they are usually not doubled at all in this piece, nor are any of the instruments, except the piccolo clarinet, and the piccolo flute. Therefore, the wind and brass instruments always number pretty much the same, so the real size comes in the strings and the harp compliment. In the case of this piece, to perform it with about 1000 players while still not doubling wind and brass parts would require a choir of about 800 - 900 (which has been done). Despite this, I have witnessed performances where they use 12 horns and 8 trumpets in orchestra, doubling some or all the parts, probably for a more massive sound24.161.53.152 (talk) 13:32, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Brazil premiere and citations and references[edit]

I think this article needs citations and references. I am saying this because of a change on August 5 (2006) by an anonymous person. A Wang (talk/contrb.) 18:42, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

I added info about the Brazil Copacabana performance (which has been rescheduled for tonight), but someone else said it's the Brazilian premier. I can't confirm or deny that it's the first performance in Brazil... Mjbaldwin 19:12, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, the primeire was on the 19th, the day before the original beach performance. Went and fixed it back... Mjbaldwin 19:16, 26 August 2006 (UTC)


What about the text to the work? Anyone want to add it? Justin Tokke 16:57, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Good suggestion. I will add it in my spare time. Not sure about how to do the text formatting, though. -- A Wang (talk/contrb.) 18:00, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

See Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven). The text is lined up side by side with translation. I'd do it myself if I had time.Justin Tokke 00:35, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
I am planing on doing the text, Original German with English translation. I have already started but is is a lot! Should be done by the end of next week, time permiting. Justin Tokke 00:19, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

The text is enormous. (just like the symphony itself) I have taken the first step to put in the text, and it seems too long. First, I will put it all in small text. Any other suggestions? -- A Wang (talk/contrb.) 21:08, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Excuse me. I did not read that you were planning to do the text. I will revert my edit(s) because I would like to see what you (Mr. Tokke) will be doing. Anyway, my version does not look good. -- A Wang (talk/contrb.) 21:15, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

I've started the text (finally), should be done by end of week. Justin Tokke 01:13, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

It is true that the text is enormous. The page would have to be so long. Even though this is not an extremely long work (by Mahler's standards), it is continuously vocal, which adds a bunch of bulk to the text. My suggestion is to create a separate page with the text and link it to the main page.-- 17:14, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Please don't! Rather put the text in Wikisource and link to that. --FordPrefect42 01:05, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Spoiler warning?![edit]

Is the spoiler warning a joke? I'm having a hard time seeing how that is a spoiler in any meaningful sense of the word. I mean, what is it spoiling? The first several notes? Derobert 04:54, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

The spoiler is there for the people that just want to enjoy it fully for a first time without any expectations of the piece. Such a spoiler is useful to me because I want to hear a piece in its entirety without hearing stuff before. Anyway, I am removing the spoiler. -- A. Wang (talk/contrb.) 20:47, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Instrumentation reformatting[edit]

I noticed that Mr. Tokke has reemerged, reformatting the instrumentation section, which I am completely agreeing to. Debates similar to this have been voiced. Defending Mr. Tokke, I should say that the edits are acceptable to this article and symphonies related to this. — Andy W. (talk/contrb.) 01:33, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the support. All of the Mahler Symphonies are like this and continutity was the ultimate goal. Justin Tokke 15:04, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I've undone this, again. It's simply wrong, for reasons that have been amply explained and discussed to death all over the place here on various "talk" pages. You're just wrong, Mr. Tokke, but what's happened is that other people have grown tired of fighting with you, the sole instigator of all this controversy, over this matter. +ILike2BeAnonymous 15:21, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Reply, I suddenly have another suggestion: why not put the text around a "blockquote"?. Adding the text: <blockquote> </blockquote> around text makes it smaller. I know I did not bring this up during the large discussion on the WikiProject page; it just occurred to me now that this may work for large instrumentations, especially for this page, if a list is used. Opinions? — Andy W. (talk/contrb.) 20:50, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Can you put a little demo here in this discussion? Don't know what you're talking about would look like; would like to see it before trying. +ILike2BeAnonymous 01:19, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
I did the "blockquote" on the page. I am thinking about bringing this up on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Classical Music although instrumentation was discussed already. — Andy W. (talk/contrb.) 11:13, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
Don't like it. I'm reverting to the standard form. If it's good enough for the vast majority of scholarly writing on music, then we should use the standard, recognized formats here, not some made-up idiosyncratic style that some young eager writer thinks is better. +ILike2BeAnonymous 16:11, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
The vast majority of scholarly writing on music?! Cite at lease five sources that look just like this one. In fact, no page on Wikipedia looks like this with the ugly bullet point squares. You are just mad that you don't get your way every single edit you make. I can tell from your editing history that you HAVE to have your way no matter the cost to others. It's really a disgrace. Justin Tokke 17:38, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
Andy, in therms of the block quote style, I think it's a good idea. However, it ultimately doesn't save space. Just because Mr. Anonymous here doesn't like it doesn't mean it's not worth something. I think it would work but the spaces between the lines of text don't change. So ultimately you're just straining your eyes to look at what's on the screen. Anyways, my $0.02.Justin Tokke 17:41, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
(To Andy, mainly.) This is how I see it. This is essentially the same kind of list that we've already established consensus against (and I'm sure you know where I stand), only smaller. The main thing, as I see it, is if it ain't broke, don't fix it. We already have a consensus-backed format that works, and I'm not convinced that there's really any problem with it. EldKatt (Talk) 20:25, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

Re. Tokke's edit summary (in reverting ILike2BeAnonymous' revert) "Why do you revert but not reply on the talk page?" Because consensus at the moment is against the format you're trying to insert. The proper thing for you to do if you want it, is through discussion to try to establish a new consensus. I don't see what it is about this that is so difficult to understand. EldKatt (Talk) 11:45, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Article reconstruction[edit]

As part of a general pro-Mahler drive this year (150th anniversary of his birth) and next (100th anniversary of his death) I am working on several of the more important Mahler articles. The Eighth Symphony is doubly important because it has its own centenary this year (September 12). The chief areas of revision proposed for this article are:

  • Adoption of an article structure closer in character to that of featured works such as Symphony No. 3 (Górecki), and drafting of new sections.
  • Removal of the full texts and replacement with external links to online editions. It is not necessary or desirable to have such lengthy texts within the article; their retention creates potential copyright issues, and the space can be far better used to develop the article.
  • Other sections, e.g. "Duration" and "Premieres", will be absorbed into larger sections dealing with reception and performance history
  • Increase number of images
  • Expand lead to conform with the requirements of WP:LEAD.

I expect to post some of the changes later today, and will continue with the development during the next week or more. Brianboulton (talk) 19:08, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Why The Symphony No. 8?[edit]

Why the prefix "The..." in the first line of the article? So far as style is concerned, Wikipedia gives mixed signals; the Beethoven symphony articles tend to start with "The" while the Mozart ones don't. Neither does the Górecki No. 3, the only symphony article with featured status. Some (e.g. the Bruckners) evade the issue by adopting a different beginning. This is not a major issue for me, but I feel there needs to be a reason for puutting "The" there. My instincts are to go for the less assertive opening: "Symphony No. 8...", but I am open to persuasion. Brianboulton (talk) 10:03, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Brian, definitely not. It doesn't sound right, and articles should never begin with "symphony", nor should the piece be referenced as "Symphony No. n", but rather "nth symphony". I hope that has also been established as a style guide at WikiProject Classical Music. I suggest this style be changed in the Górecki symphony, if possible. Another way to look at it: "The Eighth Symphony". It's not "Eighth Symphony". "Symphony No. 8" does not serve as a title for the piece. It refers to the eighth composition in the form of a symphony that Mahler wrote. I hope this claifies the issue. Other ways to introduce the article: see Symphony No. 2 (Tchaikovsky), Symphony No. 1 (Bernstein), Symphony No. 28 (Mozart), and String Quartet No. 3 (Carter). — Andy W. (talk/contrb.) 15:07, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Text of the Symphony[edit]

I do fully agree that the article is much much better after Brianboulton edited it. It's the best out of all the Mahler symphony articles. However, in the process the text of the symphony was removed. There are no equivalents given in the links; it's either the fully German text or the fully English translation. Is there a way to restore the previous arrangement of the text, i.e. a side by side comparison of the German and English translation, without affecting the quality of the article? Because previously I could find no other site than Wikipedia to follow the text in that way when listening to Mahler 8. Now there are none. All the other Mahler Symphony articles have such English-German running comparisons. I think for such an extensive article on the Symphony it would not be uncalled for to have the text included. Perhaps in a separate article, if possible? Dga471 (talk) 18:19, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

I apologise for not responding to this earlier. There are two reasons why I removed the text:-
  1. Possible copyvio. There was no indication as to whose English translation this was, or on what date it was originally published. It could not safely be considered free of copyright. The same applies to most other translations that are currently in use. The best solution, to avoid this problem, would be to find a website with the English-Latin and English-German comparisons side by side, and to create a link in External links. At present the external links offer a side-by-side comparison for "Veni Creator Spiritus", and separated English and German versions of the Goethe text.
  2. The text is very long, and adds many KB to an already fairly long article. It's almost the length of a short opera libretto, and we don't include libretti within opera articles. We link to them when we can. Brianboulton (talk) 00:24, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
  1. Regarding copyvio: the original texts are public domain of course. Veni Creator Spiritus is from the 9th century, Faust II by Goethe (d. 1832) was published in 1832. It should be no big deal to find older English translations, that are in the public domain themselves.
  2. Ack, the complete lyrics would certainly get the article out of proportion. Would it be possible to have the lyrics on wikisource and then link to them? In the meantime link to something like [1] or [2]. --FordPrefect42 (talk) 11:47, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

The second of these two links is to the text from the 2005 Naxos recording under Antoni Wit. I think it does the job, and have included it in external links in place of the piecemeal translations. Brianboulton (talk) 17:11, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Yes, thank you, the link solves the problem wonderfully, without having to put the whole text in the article. Dga471 (talk) 12:50, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Recent Reversion[edit]

I'm a little puzzled why my edit was reverted, or how I 'deleted' material. Section by section, let me go through the changes Brianboulton reverted:

  • Section 3: Material was moved to another paragraph, so that the section in question concerned the piece's position in Mahler's career. Paragraphs need to address distinct issues, after all.
  • This section also makes talk of Mahler's middle period far more concise and readable. The original was... putting it bluntly, a little clumsy and redundant. In fact, my shorter revision takes pains to pose the Eighth not just apart from the 'Middle period', but also as separate to the 'Late era' - and it's still shorter.
  • Section 4 becomes completely concerned with the work's thematic content, 5 completely with performance history.

I'm not so bothered about people disagreeing with me, but I do think it would be productive to discuss the style of this section. I believe mine is the better version. But, I would!


Bosola (talk) 19:58, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

  • The revert that I made, here, was of your attempt, without discussion, to restructure the article's lead significantly. As is clear, this involved both rearrangement and removal of material. For what it's worth, I don't share the view that the changes make talk of Mahler's middle period "far more concise and readable", or that the original wording was clumsy and/or redundant. These are your untested personal opinions and are by no means indisputable. If you believe that a discussion on the style of this section would be useful, you should have instigated it here before making your unilateral edits. Since you have belatedly done so now, we can have the discussion, but you will have to excuse me if I don't address the matter for a few days, as I am occupied with other things at the moment. Brianboulton (talk) 22:22, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
    • Take stock a moment. I was only being bold. And it's pretty clear I mark the above as my own opinion. I didn't want to offend, and I didn't want acrimony. I think I'm just going to walk away from this page. Bosola (talk) 22:44, 12 September 2010 (UTC)


Wow! Great article, easily vastly superior to all the other Mahler symphony articles. I just have 2 thoughts to throw into the mix: 1. Shouldn't the instrumentation mention the string section (and the need for a large one)? Currently everything else (winds, brass, percent, voices, etc.) is perfectly laid out and described, but the string section gets no mention. 2. Not really a question, I guess, but that huge Stokowski performance photo right in the lead is really throwing me off. I can't think of any article that features two photos in the introduction, let alone one that's so darn big. It is a great photo, though, so maybe it can be included in another section. Thanks ExplorerPlus (talk) 07:36, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

I agree with you, but the main editor should check this, not me OboeCrack (talk) 14:25, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Dead link ref 22 and 26[edit]

There is a dead link of reference 22: Mahler's Symphonic Premieres". British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Retrieved 8 May 2010. I would rather repair it myself as I found the new link, but it has two parts and I'm not sure if its the right one:

  1. Mahler's Symphonic Premieres - 8th Symphony: Part One from BBC
  2. Mahler's Symphonic Premieres - 8th Symphony: Part Two from BBC

Could somebody check this, and, in case is the right one, place the two separate links in two separate cite webs when appropriate? Thanks, OboeCrack (talk) 18:30, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Happened the same with: Gibbs, Christopher H. (2010). "Gustav Mahler: The Symphonies in Sequence". The Weill Music Institute, Carnegie Hall. Retrieved 7 May 2010. I found this one but again I'm not sure:

OboeCrack (talk) 18:30, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Links repaired with the correct ones as cited here, OboeCrack (talk) 18:30, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

"Subsequent performances"[edit]

There is a tendency by some editors to add details of recent performances of the symphony even when such performances do not have any great notability. The fact that a particular city has a "Mahler festival" is not of itself notable; there are dozens of such events every year. Additions to this section should be confined to performances that have a real historical significance, and of course must be cited to a reliable source. Since this is a featured article, it is necessary to maintain the standards required by the FA criteria. I have therefore removed uncited content, and also details of a performance that does not appear to have more than local notability. Brianboulton (talk) 19:35, 11 August 2012 (UTC)