The first three performances of Mahler’s first symphony were presented as a work of Programme music. Programme music was first introduced by the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, describing music that aims to tell a story, illustrate literary ideas, or evoke pictorial scenes. Mahler described the work as a Symphonic Poem for the premiere performance, "Titan" a Tone Poem in Symphonic Form for the second, and more simply as a Symphony with the additional title of "Titan" for the third performance. From the fourth performance onwards, Mahler dropped all program notes, describing the work as simply: Symphony in D major.
Premiere Performance Titles:
Mahler first titled the work as "A Symphonic Poem in Two Parts" for the Budapest premiere (1989), providing no further programmatic explanation in the movement titles or concert program. The work was titled as follows:
|Title:||A Symphonic Poem in Two Parts|
Second Performance Titles:
In addition to revising the music for the works second performance in Hamburg 1893, Mahler also inserted "Titan" into the title, along with the following extensive program notes:
|Title:||"Titan," a Tone Poem in Symphonic Form|
Third Performance Titles:
For the third performance in Weimer (1894), Mahler further modified to the program notes:
|Subtitle:||Aus den Tagen der Jugend, Blumen-, Frucht- und Dornenstücke
(From the Days of Youth, Music of Flowers, Fruit, and Thorns);
Final Four Movement Structure
Mahler removed the program notes, changed the titles once again and settled on the four movement structure we are familiar with today.