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Mahler Symphony No 2 'Resurrection'

7:45pm Monday 28 July 2014
Worcester Cathedral, WR1 2LA

Tackling broad questions of life after death, Mahler’s much-loved second symphony ranks as one of the most expansive symphonies ever written. The performance of this inspiring work is the first visit to the festival for Juraj Valčuha, chief conductor of the RAI National Symphony Orchestra.

Juraj Valčuha is kindly supported by Richard Arenschieldt

  • Event information

    Gustav Mahler Symphony No 2

    In C minor and titled ‘The Resurrection’  this symphony was written over a 6 year period and is a meditation on the broader, universal matters of life and death.

    Mahler was fascinated by the subjects of metaphysics, existentialism, cosmology, the meaning of life and death and what happens to us after we die and spent his whole life trying to interpret these issues as best he could through his music using these questions as sublime inspiration: “Why have you lived? Why have you suffered? Is all of this just a terrible joke? What is this life and this death? Is there a hereafter for us? Is all of this a wild dream, or has this life and this death a meaning?”

    The symphony has much in common with a Requiem, and brings together numerous quotations from composers of the 19th century, Beethoven included. The first movement derives from an abandoned single-movement composition called Todtenfeier (Funeral Rite). Of its re-conception, Mahler commented: “I have named the first movement ‘Funeral Rite,’ and, if you are curious, it is the hero of my First Symphony that I am burying here and whose life I am gathering up in a clear mirror, from a higher vantage point.”

    Answering these questions required Mahler to compose the largest symphony ever made in terms of forces, length, and harmonic boldness. Earsplitting chords of seven different notes are not uncommon. The fourth movement is a setting of a text from a German folklore collection (adored by Mahler) called Das Knaben Wunderhorn (The Youth’s Magic Horn), where the alto soloist seeks release from the burdens of life. The fifth movement is blessedly brighter and proposes renewal—the “Resurrection” promised by the title.

  • Tickets

  • Tickets for the festival will be available from Thursday the 17th of April 2014