Mahler: Symphony No.2 'Resurrection'

Mahler: Symphony No.2 'Resurrection'
Composer Gustav Mahler
Artist Maria Orán soprano
Jard van Nes contralto
The Dutch Theatre Choir
Residentie Orkest The Hague
Hans Vonk conductor
Format 1 CD
Cat. number 97390
EAN code 5028421973906
Release August 2024

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About this release

A valuable CD reissue for a rare and compelling 1986 account of Mahler’s great testament of faith.

A Dutch tradition in Mahler performance extends beyond the boundaries of the Concertgebouw. Orchestras in Rotterdam and The Hague have often performed the songs and symphonies, and been led by directors with a typically Dutch, humanistic sympathy for the complex texture of expressions and idioms in Mahler, his appeal to the great symphonic tradition as well as his liberation from its strictures.

Nowhere is that sense of tradition and innovation more finely balanced in his output than in the Second Symphony, which underwent the longest gestation of all his symphonies. The first movement began life as a standalone tone-poem, portraying a dream-sequence autobiographical rite of death in graphically Lisztian terms. Gradually something much more ambitious took shape, and the dream which the young conductor-composer had experienced, seeing his own death as if from afar, became eventually answered by a triumphant affirmation of faith in creativity, with his setting of the Resurrection-Ode by the poet Klopstock.

Hearing this poem at a funeral finally gave Mahler the inspiration he needed to complete the symphony, and it has remained one of his best-loved works ever since, coming to embody within generations of its listeners a force of death and renewal. Yet the autobiographical, five-movement form of the symphony has its obvious precedents in the Pastoral Symphony of Beethoven and the Symphonie fantastique of Berlioz, and a successful performance such as this one underlines those connections.

The Amsterdam-born Hans Vonk (1942-2004) served as Chief Conductor of the Residentie Orkest in The Hague between 1980 and 1991. Both the playing and the direction in this performance are imbued with confidence and mutual assurance; the tempi are flowing but not hasty, and Mahler’s structure is held together with a compelling force. First issued as a ‘private’ LP set by the orchestra in 1986, this CD reissue makes a significant contribution to the symphony’s extensive discography.

- Gustav Mahler's (1860-1911) Second Symphony, often referred to as the "Resurrection Symphony," was composed between 1888 and 1894, marking a significant progression in Mahler's artistic development. The symphony is expansive, spanning five movements, and delves into themes of life, death, and the afterlife.
- The Second Symphony is renowned for its emotional depth and grandeur. The opening movement sets a somber tone, with brooding melodies that reflect on human mortality. The subsequent movements explore contrasting emotions, from moments of sublime beauty to passages of intense anguish. The symphony reaches its climax in the final movement, where Mahler introduces vocal soloists and a chorus. This dramatic conclusion contemplates the concept of resurrection and ultimate redemption, culminating in a triumphant and awe-inspiring finale.
- This excellent and moving recording from 1985 features the Residentie Orkest The Hague conducted by Hans Vonk, one of the most prominent Dutch conductors of the 20th century. The vocal soloists are Maria Orán Cury (soprano) and Jard van Nes (alto); the featured choir is The Dutch Theatre Choir.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C Minor Resurrection: I. Allegro moderato (Totenfeier)
  2. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C Minor Resurrection: II. Andante moderato
  3. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C Minor Resurrection: III. In ruhig fliessender Bewegung
  4. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C Minor Resurrection: IV. Urlicht. sehr feierlich, aber schlicht
  5. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C Minor Resurrection: V. Finale. in Tempo des Scherzos