Mahler already broke through the previously valid dimensions and conventions in his first symphonic work written in 1888. No one had ever dared to express such an extreme alteration of feelings between apparently naive Romanticism and utter despair in music before. The passages of idyllic transfiguration are repeatedly swept away by sudden demonic outbursts; the Finale, designated as "triumphal" by Mahler himself, cannot erase the memory of the preceding abysses and does not have the effect of a definitive resolution towards positive affirmation of life.
Rafael Kubelik and the Bavarian Radio Symphony succeed in allowing the listener to experience the poetic as well as the dramatic passages with equal intensity and with a fascinating musical sense of suspense. The work appears in a live recording from the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz made on 2 November 1979.