What The Universe Tells Me: Unraveling The Mysteries of Mahler's Third Symphony is a documentary about the monumental "Symphony No. 3" by Gustav Mahler and its larger meanings. The piece itself has delighted and astounded audiences and critics for more than 100 years, and one of the most compelling and successful aspects of this DVD -- not just the documentary, but the "mini-documentaries" among the bonus materials -- is that it delves into the radically different reactions to the many aspects of the symphony across the decades but most specifically in Mahler's own time. The basic documentary is thorough in its own terms, covering each of the symphony's six movements and its essential meanings. The 57-minute documentary gets seven chapters corresponding to the movements, and it's serious but also very entertaining viewing in the beautiful transfer that captures color tones of the relevant art and images of the performance by the Manhattan School of Music orchestra. The intercutting between discussions by musicologists, musical historians, general historians, scientists, and theologians and the relevant musical passages is some of the most skillful that's been seen in a film of this sort, and it is pitched to the beginner as well as the serious longtime fan; even someone who knows little or nothing of Mahler's music will come away understanding a vast amount about not only the music but the artistic, philosophical, aesthetic, and political world in which Mahler lived. The bonus materials are even more impressive, featuring a series of 11 mini-documentaries about Mahler and the symphony, featuring an array of speakers (including filmmaker Stan Brakhage) discussing particular aspects of the piece and the composer. Their discussions are erudite without really being pitched so high so that, say, someone not conversant with the works of Schopenhauer or Nitzsche wouldn't still understand exactly the points being made. The biggest bonus of all, however, is the second disc, which is comprised of a complete performance of the work by the Manhattan School of Music Symphony Orchestra under conductor Glen Cortese, videotaped and recorded at Riverside Church in Manhattan in 2003. This event was covered the way the Monterey Pop Festival was covered. The camera movements are well rehearsed and fluid (it looks as though there were about seven cameras), capturing the relevant parts of the orchestra and also showing the rather awesome interior space of the church itself, one of the largest (and most beautiful) in the city. The sound is also state-of-the-art digital, picking up the softest passages clearly and covering a range that will challenge any decent speaker system. The second disc is chaptered to match the six sections of the symphony, and each of the other bonus mini-documentaries on the first disc gets its own chapter marker, and those bonus features nearly double the official 57-minute running time on the documentary. The total is closer to 215 minutes of material than to the 165 minutes promised on the box. All of the material is mastered in full-frame (1.33:1), and both discs open automatically onto straightforward menus offering easy access to all of the features.