Gustav Mahler Mahler Symphony No.9 This intensely romantic symphony has long been regarded as Mahler's swansong - his farewell to life. He had been told by his doctor that he had a fatal heart condition. The mystery of death had always preoccupied him, but now it was within sight. The music powerfully expresses his torment, but also affirms his unquenched belief in life. The symphony follows the pattern of Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique", ending with an impassioned slow movement.