This morning I did a number of things. One was to go to a concert agency and buy two tickets for a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 known as the ‘Resurrection Symphony. I got a credit note from Mathias and Sylvana for my last birthday and waited until there was a Mahler concert.
Like Bruckner concerts, they do not appear very often = large orchestra and chorus = very expensive! Marcel has never been to the Philharmonie and never seen/heard a Mahler symphony. For a musical person, and one who plays two instruments, it was time to introduce him to Mahler!
Mahler wrote it from 1888 to 1894, and the complete work was first performed in Berlin on 13 December 1895, conducted by Mahler. He wrote the first movement as a Symphonic Poem called Totenfeier/Funeral Rites. This was performed as such. He wanted a vocal ending to the symphony but the problem was to find the right texts.
Time went by and then he attended the funeral of Hans von Bülow in 1894. He heard a setting of F.G. Klopstock’s (wonderful name!) Die Auferstehung/The Resurrection. He used the first two verses, and others of his own to complete the 4th and 5th movements of the symphony.
The symphony lasts for 90 minutes The 5th movement is the longest at over 30 minutes and introduces the soprano, contralto, chorus/choir and the Resurrection theme. This is one of his easiest symphonies to listen to and understand. If you get the chance, listen to it and/or rush to your local music store and buy a copy! Happy listening!