Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony on Symphony @ 7

Gustav Mahler in 1907(Photo: Wikipedia)
Gustav Mahler in 1907(Photo: Wikipedia)

Our Monday with Mahler series continues with Symphony No. 2 in c minor, the Resurrection.  After the poignant farewell to life in the Ninth Symphony we heard last week, this one has one of the most uplifting (no pun intended) and inspiring conclusions of any symphony.

Mahler wrote his Second Symphony between 1888 and 1894, and it’s scored for a large orchestra, soprano, mezzo-soprano and chorus.  As the title suggests, the subject is no less than death, afterlife and resurrection.  It can be seen as expressing the search for meaning in life and death and is ultimately an affirmation–after undergoing the trials of Judgment Day itself, expressed through powerful and earth-shattering music.

There are clues, however, that  Mahler’s vision of the Resurrection goes beyond the traditional Christian interpretation.  We are all to be ultimately redeemed for undergoing the trials and tribulations of this earthly existence.  His setting of the Resurrection Ode from Klopstock’s poem suggests a compassionate vision of what’s to come after this life.  Musically, we can certainly hear that after a fiery purification, all doubts and anxieties are swept away as this symphony moves majestically toward its inspired conclusion.

Join me for this transforming musical experience on Symphony @ 7.  The power of this music to affect audiences around the world can be seen and heard in this excerpt from the last movement:

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