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Gergiev and Mariinsky's Mahler: The Second Symphony

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.


Excerpt 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

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