I still vividly remember the night in 2014 when I listened to Mahler’s 2nd Symphony for the first time. Daniel Harding conducting an absolutely spectacular performance. So it was time to listen to this monumental piece again…With the passing of Jiri Belohlavek the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus lost a very important mentor and therefore this particular performance was dedicated to him. I remember reading about his death in May. He was due to conduct a concert during the Dresdner Musikfestspiele on the Saturday which he had to cancel and on the Tuesday he sadly passed away. I had seen him a few years ago and he certainly was a great and inspiring character so this dedication was more than fitting!
Sakari Oramo also said a few words before the start and you could tell that it was going to be a special night for the orchestra.
There is smoething special and quite profound in Mahler’s music. Certain pieces of his I haven’t warmed to but his symphonies are on my playing list. Number 2 is one of those that just goes into your ear… I remembered every single bar of the piece and had to stop myself from humming along.
The soloist were magnificent. Elisabeth Kulman’s mezzo was heart warming and her Urlich brought on the goosebumps! Elizabeth Watts then joined in with her delightful soprano… mesmerizing! Considering she sang this concert at 7 months pregnant (with twins) – what a feat!
With the full forces of The Bach Choir and BBC Symphony Chorus the 5th movement was guaranteed to be emotional… Klopstocks text with additions by Mahler himself is so poignant! Oramo was so passionate with this particular movement of the symphony that it really did go under your skin…. I had watery eyes at the end of it, almost too much to take…