Friday and Saturday the NC Master Chorale performed with the NC Symphony in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “The Resurrection.” This is a strong complex work with three fully symphonic movements, a fourth movement featuring a contralto soloist, and a fifth movement featuring soprano and contralto soloists and a full chorus.
We’ve worked and worked on this piece — and I’ve worked particularly hard because it’s the first time I’ve done anything in German before. Those German vowel sounds bear no relation whatsoever to vowels as I’ve known them all my life! “Hor” is pronounced like “Her” and there’s this “u” that fits somewhere in the palate between “You” and “yih” and “Yeah!”
Working with Grant Llewellen and the NC Symphony was a huge charge of energy. He’s a wonderful conductor, and unlike most instrumental conductors (band or symphony) he understands and appreciates vocalists (he’s formerly from the Handel and Hayden Society). His directions were sensible, coherent, and do-able.
Meymandi Hall in Raleigh was quite full for both performances, even the Friday night one. And both nights, almost before Grant could lower his baton after the final, great, thunderous chord, the crowd was on its feet, cheering. Four calls back to the stage each night — thunderous applause that only swelled louder when the Master Chorale was acknowledged…
It’s hard to return to the real world after something like that.
You can hear this performance in October, when the Symphony Concert series aired on WCPE is broadcast. It’s scheduled for October 2. You can stream WCPE through your computer, so I hope you’ll tune in.
UPDATE: 5:00 p.m., 5/15 — and here’s a review you might enjoy reading.