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Peter Franklin describes Gustav Mahler’s Third Symphony as “the summit and watershed
between heroic Romanticism and truth-scarred Modernism” (Franklin 1997). This statement perfectly
encapsulates the gravity and scope of the Third Symphony, in which Mahler aims to expand the
meaning of the Second Symphony with an approach to life centered on the connection of man to
other humans, as well as his relationship to both human and eternal nature. Mahler’s ideas about
true nature are clearly influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), whose book Die
Fröhliche Wissenschaft was originally the title of Mahler’s Third Symphony. By comparing the
central ideas in Nietzsche’s philosophy to the musical ideologies portrayed through the program,
text, and music of Mahler’s Third Symphony, we will gain a clear understanding of how Mahler
modified his world-view since his answer given in the Second Symphony.