Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age. Jupiter's vibrant tunes degenerate to pale plodding. When a "tune" does surface, it is a dirge urging the creaking aged towards the gates of Hades. Following the awful climax, this depressing image becomes transfigured, to portray the other side of the coin of old age: autumnal serenity.
Unlike the previous movements, which are static in the sense that each depicts various aspects of a single trait, this one moves through a series of 'events' that bring the music to conclusions not envisioned at the beginning. Repeated melodies, chords and rhythm patterns are a feature of this movement. There is a profound hollowness and sense of defeat in the harmony of the two opening alternating chords on flutes and harp set the gentle mood for this entire movement
At the climax of the piece the alternating chords swell in volume and colour to suggest the tolling of giant bells. A motive of despair is played by the double basses from bar 3:
The work is a series of repetitions which undergo transformation of pitch and rhythm. The instrument playing the theme also changes to include trombones, clarinets, oboes and strings. Lower strings later enter with a descending plucked figure.
Flutes play a new theme at bar 53 over an offbeat accompaniment: