With this recording, Yoel Levi and the ASO bring the Middle Period symphonies of Mahler: Nos. 5, 6, and 7, to completion on Telarc. Most recently, Levi and Atlanta were joined by mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade in performances of the Symphony No. 4 and Songs of a Wayfarer (CD-80499). Upcoming will be a recording of the Rosza Violin and Cello Concertos with Robert McDuffie and Lynn Harrell (in February), and the Mahler Symphony No. 1, including the "Blumine" movement.
Mahler's three Middle Period symphonies were the only ones he composed without the addition of vocal music in the score; the first four symphonies were all imbued with the songs he had written based on the folk poetry of the Des Knaben Wunderhorn collection. Mahler's wife, Alma, wrote in her Memoirs that her husband was continually dissatisfied with the Middle Symphonies and that they were always in a state of revision. But, she continued, he regained his assurance with the Eighth—which marked the return of his use of vocal music in the score.
The Seventh Symphony is popularly called "Song of the Night" (although Mahler himself never used that title) because of the two movements—no. 2 and no. 4—that Mahler termed Nachtmusik ("Night Music"), both evocative of the sounds of the night.