Saint Malo, Bretagne, at sunset
Having just performed Mahler 2 at the Barbican recently (an unforgettable experience), I thought I’d share this as my first piece. Also called the “Resurrection” symphony, it took me multiple ‘listens’ before I fully appreciated its beauty as it is quite a colossal work of art. Even listening to the first 5 minutes, the opening of the first movement expresses such power and emotional complexity, it’s difficult not to be moved by it.
Like his other symphonies, a hero experiences a progression of the soul, following the traditional Romantic idiom. This one deals with the various compromises the composer had to make with death throughout his life.
During its composition (in the 1890s) this fear was said to stem from his creative struggle, the act of creating seen by him as life itself. “Only when I experience do I compose; only when I compose do I experience!” But this fear of death later developed after his daughter’s death and himself being diagnosed with a fatal heart condition, both in 1907.
This recording is particularly lovely, and the camera angles offer nice shots of the harps so the Munchner Philharmoniker have sold it to me!
And with that, happy (or rather intense) listening!