Mahler for funerals
August 3, 2015 11:26 AM   Subscribe

A good friend of mine recently passed away, and his mother asked me to pick two musical selections to play at his service. He was a big classical music buff, but I am not. I know Mahler was his favorite, but frankly, I have no idea where to even begin. Please help me identify Mahler compositions that are appropriate (in terms of mood and length) for a memorial service.
posted by palindromic to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Not Mahler suggestion but Debussy's Reverie is brief and beautiful.
posted by Oyéah at 11:30 AM on August 3, 2015

Perhaps one of the Kindertotenlieder, for example No. 4: Oft denk’ ich, sie sind nur ausgegangen (‘I often think: they have only just gone out’).
posted by misteraitch at 11:37 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Second Symphony, fourth movement. See about 49:15 here.
posted by resurrexit at 11:38 AM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

Lyrics to the song are here.
posted by resurrexit at 11:39 AM on August 3, 2015

The Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony is one of the most beautiful symphonic works out there.
posted by crookedneighbor at 11:54 AM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

Do you have access to his itunes? It can be sorted by number of plays.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:58 AM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Third symphony, fourth movement
posted by Dashy at 12:19 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm seconding either the Second Symphony, fourth movement (which has a strong resurrection theme) or the Adagietto from the Fifth (which will be the most recognizable to anybody who isn't a big Mahler fan). The Adagietto is at or beyond the duration I think would work, and most other symphonic movements would be even longer.
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 1:03 PM on August 3, 2015

Agreed with Jasper Fnorde's comment. The one other Mahler selection that comes to my mind is Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen.
posted by in278s at 1:08 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

The finale from Symphony No. 2, also known as the Ressurection Symphony.
posted by frantumaglia at 2:03 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

At my father's memorial, I played the movement "Denn alles Fleisch, est ist wie Gras" (All flesh is like grass) from Mahler's German Requiem. My father was an agnostic and had little time for religion, so it seemed an appropriate selection.
posted by brianogilvie at 4:05 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Came here to suggest Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen also.

"I have become lost to the world
with which I wasted so much time.
It has heard nothing from me for so long,
it may well believe me dead.

It matters nothing to me
if the world thinks me dead,
I can say nothing to contradict it,
for truly I am dead, dead to the world.

I am dead to this world's tumult
and rest in a silent realm.
I live alone in my heaven,
in my loves,
in my song."
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:28 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

These are probably too long (20-30 mins), but as a Mahler buff myself, they're what I would want:
3rd movement, 4th symphony
6th movement, 3rd symphony
Der Abschied (The Farewell) from Das Lied von der Erde

The slow movement from the 6th symphony (sometimes it's movement 2, sometimes 3) is also really good, and only about 15 minutes.
posted by knuspermanatee at 11:47 AM on August 4, 2015

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