I'm a Mahler music lover, but beside Mahler, the other composer I like is Shostakovich.
For me, the first symphony of Shostakovich I listen is his 5th. But I like the 8th most.
Shostakovich somethings very similar with Mahler. But, I think, Shostakovich's work are more darker than Mahler. Mahler's work give me a feeling like "the last hope of the world". But most of Shostakovich's works are something hight pressure with the party. Also, it's full of hollow.
For example, the first mvt of his 6th, I think it maybe a requiem. The first section are very sad with a tragic feel (but different with mahler's 6th),something sigh, a tire feel.
The second section, I'm quiet sure it's a funneral march. Beside this 2 section, a flute solo are appear after the gong sound at the end of the funneral march. I think this is the most touching part of the whole mvt.
In my mind, Shostakovich's works are the truly description of the world, not just the past, even now. This is a contrast of Mahler. Mahler's music is a description of our dream land, even some (or most) of his works are howllow, hoprless.
I hope some one can discuss here of these 2 great composer.
Finally, I must say sorry to anyone make a trable for my "rubbish" english.