1 Langsam. Schleppend. Wie Ein Naturlaut
The first movement, Langsam Schleppend (Slow and Dragging), opens with an invocation of nature, followed by cuckoo calls and distant fanfares. It introduces the principal theme, which is taken from the song “Ging heut’ morgens übers Feld” (I Went Out This Morning Through the Fields), in the standard sonata form.
2 Kräftig Bewegt, Doch Nicht Zu Schnell – Trio. Recht Gemächlich
The second movement, Kräftig bewegt (Strongly Moving), is a lusty and hearty Austrian Ländler with yodels and foot-stomping. The slower and wistful trio conjures feelings of nostalgia and longing.
3 Feierlich Und Gemessen, Ohne Zu Schleppen
The third movement, the funeral march Feierlich und gemessen (Solemnly and Measured), is deeply ironic. Based on a woodcut-depicting animal carrying a hunter to his grave, a muted double bass solo plays the folk song “Frère Jacques” in a lugubrious minor, with the central trio evoking the tawdry Viennese cabaret music.
4 Stürmisch Bewegt
After a long, violent beginning in the finale that invokes the torments of hell, including a vehement march derived from the first movement, the music subsides into a yearning theme. A march then interrupts the mood with a transformative fanfare that eventually leads to a triumphant conclusion.