The three hammer blows in the finale of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 6 seem prophetic: Mahler lost his position at the Wiener Staatsoper one year after this work premiered in 1906, his daughter died, and the composer was diagnosed with a cardiac anomaly. A pervading dark atmosphere is not unfamiliar in Mahler's Symphonies, but to not have a glorious finale or peaceful acceptance was an absolute first for Mahler. The playful Mahler who referred to Austrian ländlers, birds, and cow bells, is nowhere to be found. In this light, it is no surprise that this work is known as ‘Tragic’, although Mahler himself retracted this title before publication.