The tragic, even nihilistic, ending of No. 6 has been seen as unexpected, given that the symphony was composed at what was apparently an exceptionally happy time in Mahler's life: he had married Alma Schindler in 1902, and during the course of the work's composition his second daughter was born.
The symphony is far from the most popular of Mahler's works. Statistics compiled by League of American Orchestras show that over the seven seasons in the U.S. and Canada ending with 2008-2009, the symphony was programmed considerably less often than Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5. However, both Alban Berg and Anton Webern praised it when they first heard it: for Berg it was "the only sixth, despite the Pastoral"; while Webern actually conducted it on more than one occasion.
Mahler 6 Reviews & Ratings
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