Among the most popular of Mahler's symphonic works, the 7th Symphony has neither a "program" nor a folk-song theme. It is a purely instrumental composition, both hopeful and romantic in feeling. The restrained mood and thematic economy of the symphony make it one of the least extravagant of the composer's works; it is also one of the most enjoyable.
Despite the lack of a "program" for the 7th, some critics profess to find that "a good case can be made out for the symphony as a whole having been consciously built round the poetic idea of nocturnal nature, progressing through various shades of darkness" (New Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians). Now musicians and music lovers can make their own determination by studying this inexpensive edition of the complete score, reprinted from the authoritative German edition of 1909.