Valentine's Day—Alma's Theme from Mahler's 6th

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Alma Mahler related how during the composition of his 6th symphony, Gustav brought her to his composing hut one day to play the theme she had inspired, saying: I've tried to capture you in a theme – as for whether I've succeeded, I don't know. You will have to tolerate it.' 

Each repetition of the theme is increasingly passionate and harmonically complex, until it bursts through to a quiet Arcadian pastorale over a drone of F and C. This moment in Mahler's 6th seems to actually reference Beethoven's 6th "Pastoral" symphony, also in F major with an F-C drone. But the glorious hyper-romantic theme itself, with its wide range, chromaticism, rich 9th and 11th and 13th chord harmonies—that is all Richard Strauss, isn't it?