The concert will take place at the National Opera of Ukraine. It is Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock’s sacral song “Die Auferstehung” (“The Resurrection”) that inspired Gustav Mahler to compose Symphony No. 2, also known as “Resurrection Symphony,” in 1887-94. This text can be heard in the symphony’s finale. The composer initially planned to publish the first movement under the title “Totenfeier” (“Funeral Feast”) as an independent symphonic poem, and it was only in 1893-94 that the ultimate idea for a five-movement symphony developed. “I have named the first movement ‘Totenfeier’; in it I bury the hero of my First Symphony (‘Titan’). At the same time, this movement asks: Why did you live? Why did you suffer?” Mahler wrote about this work.
Musicologists emphasize that the outstanding maestro’s oeuvre became sort of a bridge between the 19th-century late Austro-German romanticism and the early-20th-century modernism and had a strong impact on many composers, including such different ones as representatives of the “new Viennese school,” on the one hand, and Dmitry Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten, on the other. In this work, Mahler revealed, for the first time in his music, the tragic collision of the inevitability of death, which casts doubt on the very sense of human existence.
Symphony No. 2 will be performed by the symphony orchestra and chorus of the National Opera of Ukraine, with Anzhelina Shvachka (mezzo soprano) and Ksenia Bakhritdinova (soprano) as soloists, Mykola Diadiura as conductor, and Bohdan Plish as choirmaster. “We dedicate our soiree to heroes of the Revolution of Dignity, who died during the Maidan in the bloody February days of 2014,” National Opera of Ukraine chief conductor Mykola DIADIURA told The Day. “Symphony No. 2 – ‘Resurrection’ – is a masterpiece of world music. It is a majestic work, the finale of which has the following words: ‘I will die in order to live!’ This idea in fact makes the symphony the best opus to be performed on the occasion of this sorrowful date. We first presented this piece at the theater in September last year, with Ksenia Bakhritdinova and Zoriana Kushpler as soloists, but now our superb singer Anzhelina Shvachka is to substitute Zoriana.
“It is difficult to perform Symphony No. 2 because it raises a crucial topic of life and death. It is a big opus (more than 80 minutes in five parts) with a very complicated score. In this opus, the composer makes use of all the capacities of a symphony orchestra that were available at the time, as well as of the chorus and soloists. The orchestration is very multifaceted, and there are some technical difficulties for musicians and singers. As a matter of fact, not every orchestra can perform this symphony, but our theater has a strong artistic potential. We are setting and trying to achieve high goals.”