Gustav Mahler's Second Symphony is also known as his Resurrection symphony. But after attending last nights concert with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall, one could also aptly retile it his symphony of Resilience and Perseverance.
Mahler's music ebbs and flows like the peaks and valleys of life itself. Each high is ephemeral and lingers only to be tarnished by sorrow and/or disappointment. His score mirrors life so perfectly, one cannot help but cherish the glorious moments all the more when we are subjected to a few minutes of "dreck." Dreck, of course, referring to the life portion, not the actual notes played.
Alan Gilbert lead his orchestra with fierce control and very fancy footwork. His style may be slightly theatrical, yet it only enhanced the audiences experience. Seeing a man so passionate about this music makes one listen with rapt attention. The mezzo soloist was Finish singer Lili Paasikivi. When she first took the stage, she seemed to possess a certain melancholy which I am assuming to be a character choice. One that fit the bill perfectly with her opening lines of, "O little red rose! Humankind lies in greatest need! Humankind lies in greatest pain!" Ms. Paasikivi sang with a robust, rich, and fluid musicality, and with a tone something akin to liquid platinum. Making her New York Philharmonic debut was the soprano soloist Miah Persson. She had a voice well suited for Mahler by way of the passionate content (her interpretation was flawless) though, at times, had a youthful, unpolished quality. The New York Choral Artists acted as a splendid vocal backdrop in the grand scheme of the magnificent, awesome piece.
Mahler's Second Symphony in C minor leaves one feeling refreshed and confident to "prepare to live" ones own life because in the end all will be right, and "you will rise again!"
For more information about this and other concerts with the New York Philharmonic, click here.