The Carnegie Hall and US premiere of Mahler's Second Symphony took
place on December 8, 1908, with Laura Combs, soprano; Gertrude
Stein-Bailey, contralto; the New York Symphony Orchestra; and the
Oratorio Society of New York conducted by the composer.
Its powerful opening movement, a funeral march, gives way to a gentle
andante moderato that recalls the graceful 18th-century minuets of
Haydn's Austria. Bringing us forward in time with a thump, however, is a
phantasmagorical scherzo—an expansion of Mahler's satirical song on St.
Anthony's ineffective sermon to the fish with moments of almost
grotesque humor. A single voice enters in the fourth movement,
"Urlicht," one of Mahler's most sublime and serene songs. At the climax
of the finale, vocal soloists, the entire orchestra, and a full chorus
bring the work to its ecstatic conclusion.
from Mahler Symphony No. 2 in C minor: "Resurrection" ( IV. "Urlicht": Sehr feierlich, aber schlicht)San Francisco Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas | San Francisco Symphony Label