Brno Philharmonic enters the new season with Mahler's Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection"

11 September 2023, 15:00
Brno Philharmonic enters the new season with Mahler's Symphony No. 2

This Thursday, the Brno Philharmonic will open its 68th concert season. The gala evening will traditionally be led by Principal Conductor Dennis Russell Davies, who will begin his sixth year at the helm of the orchestra. The season will open with a monumental full-length work, Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection" . The Philharmonic performed it with great success a month ago at a prestigious concert in Rheingau, Germany, in collaboration with the Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno and soloists Pavla Vykopalová and Jana Hrochová.

Mahler's Resurrection is one of the most important musical monuments of the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, and continues to attract the attention of listeners not only musically but also ideologically. In a letter to his future wife Alma, Mahler described it as a work in which questions come to mind that one does not hear in the hustle and bustle of everyday life: What is this life and death? Do they make any sense?

After the opening dramatic movement, the score calls for "at least a five-minute intermission" to allow time for reflection, concentration and awareness of the issues raised. Through the other movements, in which Mahler expresses the loss of the fixed point provided by love, through despair and hopelessness, he reaches a luminous conclusion in which he sets music to a text by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock. Finally, he answers the questions of the first movement through the musical text, affirming that "thou shalt arise, yea, shalt arise," that "the majesty of God shall be revealed," that "there is no judgement-no sinners, no righteous, no great or small-there is no punishment or retribution," and that "the almighty emotion of love enlightens us with the bliss of consciousness and being."The concert is planned for 14 September at 19:00 at the Janáček Theatre.

"The gravity of the finale is enhanced not only by the colossal sound, but also by the idea of its spatial perception. The orchestra also plays behind the stage, the score prescribing the stereophony of the Last Judgement through four trumpets sounding from opposite ends. The theme of resurrection is first taken up by the choir and then by the orchestra, which leads to a triumphant conclusion," said Vítězslav Mikeš, dramaturge of the Brno Philharmonic.

In the symphony, Mahler appears as a man seeking and finding God. "The last movement is finished. It's the most significant thing I've done so far," he said of it. Visitors will hear the approximately ninety-minute symphony in one piece, and the concert will take place without an intermission.

Photo archive of the Brno Philharmonic

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