Our local jug band has announced that they will be opening their 2010-11 season with a performance of Mahler’s mighty Symphony No.2, the “Resurrection” symphony. I have just bought tickets. This is my favourite symphony, and for years I have wanted to hear it played live. The pity is that I have to wait until September for the concert to actually happen.
In the meantime, I have a few recordings of the symphony with which I can content myself, and, for visual stimulation, there are some good performances on YouTube. Here, for example, is the opening section of the massive first movement, played by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Simon Rattle. (This same orchestra and conductor produced my favourite recording of the symphony.) This clip introduces most of the musical raw material that makes up the first movement, especially the ominous and majestic funeral march that we hear at the beginning. At about 6:40 the march yields to a beautiful quiet section in which a set of counter-themes are introduced.