Throughout his life, Gustav Mahler grappled with existential questions which were a source of both torment and inspiration for him. Perhaps the most important of these involved the existence of an afterlife, a theme which informs his first four symphonies to varying degrees, and which helps explain why Mahler considered his Symphony No. 4 from 1900 to be the conclusion of a ‘fully self-contained tetra- logy’. Despite Mahler’s doubts, bouts of writer’s block, changes of course in midstream and his reservations about written programmes, the overarching themes of the works in question are as clear as day. While the First Symphony was about suffering, death and transcendence, the Second about the possibility of resurrection after death and the Third about an order of living beings in nature and the cosmos as created by God, the Fourth focuses on the opposition between earthly life and paradise.