Mahler mania

September 24, 2010

Tomorrow I will be attending a performance of Mahler’s mighty Symphony No.2, the ‘Resurrection’ symphony.  It will be a repeat of last night’s opening concert in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s 2010-11 season.  This symphony is among my favourite pieces of music, and for years I have wanted to hear it performed live. I can hardly wait.

I have posted excerpts from it before: the beginning and the ending, for instance. Here is a segment from near the middle: the wonderful interlude Urlicht, sung by Janet Baker, with Leonard Bernstein conducting:

O Röschen rot,
Der Mensch liegt in größter Not,
Der Mensch liegt in größter Pein,
Je lieber möcht’ ich im Himmel sein.
Da kam ich auf einem breiten Weg,
Da kam ein Engelein und wollt’ mich abweisen.
Ach nein, ich ließ mich nicht abweisen!
Ich bin von Gott und will wieder zu Gott,
Der liebe Gott wird mir ein Lichtchen geben,
Wird leuchten mir bis in das ewig selig’ Leben!

O little red rose,
Man lies in greatest need,
Man lies in greatest pain.
Ever would I prefer to be in heaven.
Once I came upon a wide road,
There stood an Angel who wanted to turn me away.
But no, I will not be turned away!
I came from God, and will return to God,
The loving God who will give me a little light,
To lighten my way up to eternal, blessed life!

At the concert tomorrow the soprano part will be sung by a local gal who made good: Isabel Bayrakdarian. I haven’t heard her on the stage for many years, since she sang Zerlina in Don Giovanni with the Canadian Opera Company. It must have been ten years ago now. I am looking forward to hearing her again. She grew up in Toronto, and learned to sing in her Armenian church choir. Here is a short video of her singing the Armenian Sanctus:

She has a great voice. This is going to be wonderful.

2 Responses to “Mahler mania”

  1. Christina A. Says:

    N-veee-ious!!! Have fun, tell us all about it afterward!

  2. cburrell Says:

    Well, it was terrific. For me the best thing about hearing it live was that I was able to hear the piannissimo passages more clearly than I have on any recording. The finale was tremendous — overpowering, really. My wife says that it was the best classical concert she had ever been to. Which is true.

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