Notes & Reviews:
The partnership of Sir Simon and the BPO in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 portends a ground-breaking new recording. Recorded in concert at Berlin’s Philharmonie in late October 2010, the Symphony, scored for orchestra, soloists and chorus, tackles the great mysteries of life and death and was already among the most successful and popular of Mahler’s symphonies during his lifetime. Not only was the work premiered by the Berliner Philharmonike (in 1895) but it is an important work in Sir Simon Rattle’s musical trajectory.
The symphonies of Gustav Mahler have been a central theme in Sir Simon Rattle’s career. “[Mahler’s Symphony No 2] was the piece that made me take up conducting in the first place when I heard it in a live performance when I was 12. Mahler aimed to put the entire world into a symphony and this world goes from the death rights of some unnamed hero through a memory of what life was in both its beauty and its horror and final resurrection and redemption. It’s on a vast canvas with many, many performers and, for me, it is one of the most moving of all orchestral works.”
"The opening bars certainly make you sit bolt upright. Upper strings tremble; lower strings thrust: Rattle starts the symphony's journey in a flourish of power and mystery...In the nostalgic second movement Rattle remains winningly light-footed. We also enjoy the benefits of deeper feelings. Listen to the sweetly lyrical strings once the opening hurly-burly is done" The Times, 4th February 2011
"Rattle represents its quasi-Expressionist leanings, its wilfulness and Weltschmerz: Mahler as modernist...Rattle's micromanagement underlines Mahler's glaring colours and edginess...Magdalena Kozena (Rattle's wife) handles the Urlicht movement with chaste refinement, and the Berlin Philharmonic plays with phenomenal commitment and finesse." Financial Times, 5th February 2011 ****
"Koená brings her customary depth of feeling to the still maternal voice of "Urlicht"...Rattle's famous piano-pianissimos are deployed to breathtaking effect, the choral passages (radiantly illuminated at the top by Kate Royal) sound pure, mysterious and very Bachian, and the returning resurrection hymn is tremendous" Gramophone Magazine, March 2011
"Countless surface details and fleeting shades emerge as Rattle's vision unfolds, delivered not as wilful impostors but according to the score's letter. Beyond breathtaking playing, peerless choral singing and the supernatural beauty of Magdalena Koená's Urlicht solo, this performance spans Mahler's infinitely complex universe with compelling intellectual insight and expressive force" Classic FM Magazine, March 2011 ****
"Rattle places considerable weight on this audacious conflation of tone-poem...and sonata-form...his is undoubtedly a reading of as well as for the present." International Record Review, March 2011
"the post-holocaust enchantments are magically coloured. For anyone who cares about this symphony Rattle's new recording is essential listening, if not necessarily a first port of call...[he] sets new standards with the light, shade and shock of his Berlin funeral rites which open the symphony." BBC Music Magazine, March 2011 ****
"the sound is almost miraculously analytical, and the combination of Rattle's attention to detail and the superlative playing of his great orchestra ensures that every morsel of Mahler's scoring makes its point." The Guardian, 24th February 2011 ****
"Of course there's much to admire. The BPO are on fantastic form, the recorded sound is sumptuous but clear and Rattle brings some new thoughts to the piece. The first movement is striking for its deliberate, almost stealthy beginning, and there's a slow, almost dreamlike delicacy about the music." The Telegraph, 25th February 2011 ***
Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice - March 2011
Throughout [the opening], Rattle marshals his players enough to let the schizophrenic terror of the movement have its effect...Exultantly we are drawn onward, though, toward the inevitable choral closing section, which is positively heaven-sent when it finally arrives... in Rattle's hands it is supremely thrilling.
Recording information: Philharmonie, Berlin (10/28/2010-10/30/2010).
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Works DetailsMahler, Gustav : Symphony no 2 in C minor "Resurrection"
- Conductor: Simon Rattle
- Notes: Philharmonie, Berlin (10/28/2010-10/30/2010)
- Running Time: 51 min. 17 sec.
- Period Time: Post Romantic
- Form: Orchestral
- Written: 1888-1894