Vasily Petrenko conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection"

Royal Albert Hall

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Elizabeth Watts — Soprano

Jennifer Johnston — Mezzo-soprano

Philharmonia Chorus

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Vasily Petrenko — Conductor

Program notes

“The whole thing sounds as though it came to us from some other world,” wrote Gustav Mahler ahead of the premiere of his Second Symphony. “I think there is no one who can resist it. One is battered to the ground and then raised on angel’s wings to the highest heights.” Vasily Petrenko leads the Royal Philharmonia Orchestra in this singular masterwork at the Royal Albert Hall with “never less than sublime” mezzo Jennifer Johnson (Bachtrack) and soprano Elizabeth Watts.

Very few works can vie with Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony for sheer emotional power, from the solemn first movement to the delicate alto song “Urlicht” that forms the fourth—and, of course, the spine-tingling final-movement pianissimo arrival of the chorus, followed by a breathless and jubilant apotheosis about which Mahler wrote, “There is no punishment and no reward. An overwhelming love lightens our being. We know, and are.”

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