Symphony No. 5
Autograph manuscript of the full score, 1903
The Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection
On 16 October 1904, after the first rehearsal of the Fifth, Mahler wrote to his wife, Alma: "It all went off tolerably well. The Scherzo is the very devil of a movement. I see it is in for a peck of troubles! Conductors for the next fifty years will all take it too fast and make nonsense of it; and the public—Oh, heavens, what are they to make of this chaos of which new worlds are forever being engendered, only to crumble in ruin the moment after? What are they to say to this primeval music, this foaming, roaring, raging sea of sound, to these dancing stars, to these breathtaking, iridescent and flashing breakers? . . . Oh, that I might give my symphonies their first performance fifty years after my death!"