Mahler’s Second

Mariss Jansons conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 2

Like many musicians and music lovers, I recall very clearly when I first heard Mahler’s Symphony #2: I was on vacation in London; my wife was tired and preferred to rest, so I got myself a ticket, and I heard the London Philharmonic perform this amazing music. My sense is that the year was about 1980.

I was thrilled by the sounds and the emotion, and the passion in the music, and I have been nuts about the music of Mahler ever since.

Here are a few samples of this music form my Spotify file titled “Hank’s Mahler2”


On this DVD we get to hear the following:


  • Symphony No. 2 in C minor ‘Resurrection’

Performed by Anja Harteros (soprano) and Bernarda Fink (alto), with the
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra)

  • Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (Rückert-Lieder), for 16 Voices arranged by Clytus Gottwald

Performed by the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra), Mariss Jansons conductor.

I have always admired Mr. Jansons conducting, mainly because of the terrific musical results that he achieves. He has excellent eye contact with the orchestra musicians, his entrance cues are clear, and he insists on clarity and total commitment to the composer’s intentions.

Gustav Mahler’s huge Symphony No. 2 in C minor is usually featured as the only piece at a concert because of its gigantic size and time duration. But in this recording, the work is introduced by an interesting choral work:

A contemporary (1982) 16-voice arrangement of a song by Mahler, “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen”, based on a poem by Friedrich Rückert and originally composed for voice and orchestra in 1901 – performed here by the superb Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Bavarian Radio Choir).

The nickname “Resurrection” for Mahler’s Second Symphony is derived from the closing chorus of the last movement, in which Mahler set to music verses from Klopstock’s “Messias”. Although the symphony is a challenge to perform, due to the length of the work as well as the exceptionally large musical scoring, it has become part of the standard musical repertoire.

Here is conductor Mariss Jansons with an extract from this recording:



And next, for comparison, here is the final section (last eight minutes) of this symphony, with Leonard Bernstein conducting:



Tags: Gustav Mahler, Symphony #2, Mariss Jansons, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

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