After being released as an iTunes digital exclusive, Gustav Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection’ with Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Rundfunkchor Berlin and star soloists Kate Royal and Magdalena Kožená is now available in physical form.
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 Philharmoniker (in 1895) but it is an important work in Simon Rattle’s musical trajectory.
The symphonies of Gustav Mahler have been a central theme in 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.”
Whilst still a student at the Royal Academy of Music in the 1970s, Rattle organized and conducted a performance of the Second Symphony. Since then, he has performed all of the Mahler symphonies on many occasions, principally with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Philharmoniker. At his Berlin debut in 1987, Rattle led the Berliner Philharmoniker in the Symphony No. 6, and his inaugural concert as the Orchestra’s Principal Conductor in September 2002 featured the Symphony No. 5.