The first of a series of symphony recordings from Bernard Haitink and the Concertgebouw Orchestra. I found the whole batch on Queensday. Some of them I already had, others were totally new to me.
The third symphony is the longest and most ambitious of the Mahler symphonies. It premiered in 1896, and its performance in 1903 in Amsterdam by the composer himself started the Mahler tradition at the Concertgebouw.
Haitink builds on the tradition. The cellar of the building still has the rehearsal materials, with notes by the composer himself. I don’t know if he used those: maybe he wanted to impose his own ideas. As it stands, the recordings of these symphonies are still considered reference for many others.
Interestingly, at one point Mahler wanted to include a seventh movement, with material from des Knaben Wunderhorn. He decided against it, and used it in his fourth symphony: it is the last part of that. Some melodies remained in this symphony however, adding melodic connections.