Showcase Sep-Nov 2014 - page 35

across the scene of destruction. Silence. From that silence
there emerges again the sound of human voices in a
Hymn of Resurrection. A few instruments enter to support
the singers and, magically, at the word “rief” (called), a
single soprano begins to float free.
The problem of finding the right text had baffled Mahler
for a long time. Once again the remarkable figure of Hans
von Bülow enters the scene—Bülow, the pianist who gave
the first performance of Tchaikovsky’s most famous piano
concerto, who conducted the premieres of
, and who was one of the most influential
supporters of Brahms. When Mahler went to the Hamburg
Opera in 1891, the other important conductor in town
was Hans von Bülow, who was in charge of the symphony
concerts, and who was impressed by Mahler. As Bülow’s
health declined, Mahler began to substitute for him, and
he was much affected by Bülow’s death early in 1894.
At the memorial service, the choir sang a setting of the
Resurrection Hymn by the 18th-century Saxon poet
Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock.
“It struck me like lightning, this thing,” Mahler wrote
to Arthur Seidl, “and everything was revealed to my
soul clear and plain.” He took the first two stanzas of
Klopstock’s hymn and added to them verses of his own
that deal still more explicitly with the issue of redemption
and resurrection.
The lines about the vanquishing of pain and death
are given to the two soloists in passionate duet. The
verses beginning “Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen”
(With wings I won for myself) form the upbeat to the
triumphant reappearance of the chorale: “Sterben werd’
ich, um zu leben!” (I shall die so as to live!), and the
symphony comes to its close in a din of fanfares and
pealing bells.
solo soprano, solo mezzo and
four-part mixed chorus, with orchestra comprising 4 flutes
(all doubling piccolo), 4 oboes (2 doubling English horn),
5 clarinets (1 doubling bass clarinet, 2 doubling E-flat
clarinet) 4 bassoons (2 doubling contrabassoon),
10 horns (4 offstage), 6 trumpets, 4 trombones, tuba,
2 timpani (1 offstage), 2 harps, organ, bass drum, chimes,
snare drum, suspended cymbal, 2 tam-tams,
bells, cymbals, triangle and strings
Program note excerpted from the late
Michael Steinberg
The Symphony: A Listener’s Guide
(Oxford University Press,
1995), used with permission.
Mahler’s Second Symphony
Text and Translation
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 einen breiten Weg,
Da kam ein Engelein und wollt’
mich Abweisen.
Ach nein! Ich ließ mich nicht
Ich bin von Gott and will wieder
zu Gott!
Der liebe Gott wird mir ein
Lichtchen geben,
Wird leuchten mir bis in das ewig
selig leben.
Anonymous, from
Des Knaben Wunderhorn
O little red rose!
Humankind lies in greatest need!
Humankind lies in greatest pain!
Much rather would I be in Heaven!
Then I came onto a broad path,
And an angel came and wanted to
turn me away.
But no, I would not be turned
I am from God and would return
to God!
Dear God will give me a little
Will light me to eternal, blissful
Aufersteh’n, ja aufersteh’n wirst du,
Mein Staub, nach kurzer Ruh!
Unsterblich Leben! Unsterblich
Wird der dich rief geben!
Wieder aufzublüh’n wirst du gesät!
Der Herr der Ernte geht
Und sammelt Garben
Uns ein, die Starben!
O glaube, mein Herz, o glaube:
Es geht dir nichts verloren!
Dein ist, Dein, ja Dein, was du
Dein, was du geliebt,
Was du gestritten!
O glaube:
Du warst nicht umsonst geboren!
Hast nicht umsonst gelitten!
Was entstanden ist, das muß
Was vergangen, auferstehen!
Hör auf zu beben!
Bereite dich zu leben!
O Schmerz! Du Alldurchdringer!
Dir bin ich entrungen!
O Tod! Du Allbezwinger!
Nun bist du bezwungen!
Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen,
In heißem Liebesstreben
Werd’ ich entschweben
Zum Licht, zu dem kein Aug’
Sterben werd’ ich, um zu leben!
Aufersteh’n, ja aufersteh’n wirst du,
Mein Herz, in einem Nu!
Was du geschlagen,
Zu Gott wird es dich tragen!
—Gustav Mahler
Rise again, yes, you will rise again,
My dust, after brief rest!
Immortal life! Immortal life
Will he who called you grant you!
To bloom again you were sown!
The Lord of the Harvest goes
And gathers sheaves,
Us, who died!
O believe, my heart, but believe:
Nothing will be lost to you!
Yours is what you longed for,
Yours what you loved,
What you fought for!
O believe:
You were not born in vain!
You have not suffered in vain!
All that has come into being must
All that has perished must rise again!
Cease from trembling!
Prepare to live!
O Pain, piercer of all things,
From you I have been wrested!
O Death, conqueror of all things,
Now you are conquered!
With wings I won for myself
In love’s ardent struggle,
I shall fly upwards
To that light which no eye has
I shall die so as to live!
Rise again, yes, you will rise again,
My heart, in the twinkling of an eye!
What you have conquered
Will bear you to God!
Translations: Michael Steinberg
26, 27, 28
Program Notes / Text and Translation
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