The Essence of Sin
Avoiding Controversy for Advent

Mahler’s 2nd

Question: is there anything more wonderful?

Answer: No, not really. As wonderful, yes: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Sibelius all have their works equal to this. But more wonderful? I don’t think so.

I last heard this work some years ago, perhaps eight or ten, at Brevard, North Carolina, where there is a well-known summer music camp. My son Will was in the orchestra. It was a great experience, but I don’t think I really got the last movement as I did this afternoon (I’ve had a day off work).

Also, the contralto may be my favorite voice—or the lower female voices in general.

All Nordic symphonic-metal music aspires to the condition of the first few minutes of this symphony.

Of course I am writing not only under the influence of Mahler but also of Old Crow. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

Jay Nordlinger has an interview with Marilyn Horne in the Dec. 1 issue of National Review:

Our conversation turns to Gustav Mahler, who loved the mezzo voice, and wrote immortal music for it. Horne sang it all, including the solo part in the Second Symphony, known as the “Resurrection.”.... She relates something extremely personal, and perfectly understandable, to me: Her brother was killed in a plane crash. And “I could not get over it, it was such a blow. I just walked the floor at night with the headphones on, listening to the ‘Resurrection,’ trying to find some peace.”

I can’t think of any music except some of Bach more likely to provide that peace.



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