Mahler once claimed that "the symphony should contain the
world." His Fifth seems to contain a bit more of everything than the rest of
his symphonies: austere funeral marches, bad-tempered jokes, over-the-top
waltzes, a breathtakingly delicate love song, and a finale that exudes manic
energy and contrapuntal wizardry.
In a long-ago "Young People's Concert" on TV, Leonard
Bernstein took as his theme the idea of "Bach Transmogrified." To his audience
of captive tykes, he presented numerous examples of the sturdy old baroque
master's sturdy old music re-arranged not only for symphony orchestras, but
also for such then-up-to-date phenomena as a rock band and a Moog synthesizer
(I told you it was long ago).