Revel in the spellbinding melodies of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 as the South Bend Symphony Orchestra presents the third Jack M. Champaigne Masterworks Concert, “Discover Mahler’s Symphony No. 5,” featuring the award-winning composer Michael Schelle, winner of the 2022-23 season Crossroads of America competition. 


Michael SchelleThe Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse

Mahler – Symphony No. 5, details and excerpts

– Intermission –

Mahler – Symphony No. 5

Part I. Trauermarsch Stürmisch bewegt, mit größter Vehemenz
Part II. Stürmisch bewegt, mit größter Vehemenz
Part III. Adagietto, sehr langsam
Rondo – Finale: Allegro

Pre-Concert Talk

Your concert ticket includes the pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m. Come early to learn more about the music with Music Director Alastair Willis.

Program Notes

The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse

Michael Schelle
Born January 22, 1950, Philadelphia, PA
Composed: 2022
Premiered: South Bend, Indiana

Michael Schelle’s The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse is inspired and rooted in historical and mythological significances of local legend and Biblical prophecy. The composition premieres precisely a century after the legendary 1924 Notre Dame football season under the helm of the incomparable coach Knute Rockne. During this momentous year, the renowned backfield players were christened the “Four Horsemen of Notre Dame.” 

Inspired by the Bible’s books of Ezekiel and Revelation and the apocalyptic imagery it holds, this musical composition pays homage to the concept of the Four Horsemen. Embedded in this composition’s fabric is a profound reflection of the human condition, encapsulated by the quote, “The fifth horseman is us,” attributed to Charles Sutherland Elton (1900-1991), an eminent English zoologist and animal ecologist. 

The composition bursts with dynamic energy and vigor, incorporating evocative allusions to five iconic No. 5 Symphonies: Mahler 5, Tchaikovsky 5, Shostakovich 5, Bruckner 5, and Sibelius 5. Notably, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 is intentionally excluded from these references, adding a distinctive touch to the composition.

-– Michael Schelle

Symphony No. 5
Gustav Mahler

Born: July 7, 1860, Kalischt, Bohemia (now Kaliste, Czech Republic)
Died: May 18, 1911, Vienna, Austria
Composed: 1901-1902
Premiered: October 18, 1904, Cologne, Germany
Duration: 75 minutes 

Born in Kalischt, Bohemia, in 1860, Gustav Mahler stands as a monumental figure bridging the Romantic and Modern periods of music. As a renowned conductor in his own time, Mahler’s compositions reflect a profound understanding of orchestration and structure, as well as an ability to explore deep emotional landscapes.

Comprised of five movements, the symphony takes listeners on a journey through sorrow, despair, joy, and ultimately, triumphant love.

Throughout the Symphony No. 5, listeners should pay attention to the complex thematic development and transformations. Notice how Mahler uses each section of the orchestra to create a vast soundscape, from the heartfelt strings of the adagietto to the powerful drive of the Finale. Also, be aware of the dramatic contrasts, both within and between movements, reflecting the breadth of human experience.

In essence, Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 is a journey that encapsulates the complexities and depths of life’s emotions. From the somber opening funeral march to the triumphant finale, Mahler invites us to engage with the music on a personal level, resonating with the symphony’s universal themes.


Meet the musicians here!

Series Sponsor

Thank you to our generous series sponsor; Jack M. Champaigne Masterworks Series.

Jordan Lexus of Mishawaka is a proud 2023-24 Season Artistic Sponsor.


Program subject to change.