Mahler – Symphony No. 2 (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons)

Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, known as the Resurrection Symphony. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Netherlands conducted by Mariss Jansons & Netherlands Radio Choir conducted by Celso Antunes. Ricarda Merbeth, soprano; Bernarda Fink, mezzo soprano.

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is a symphony orchestra in the Netherlands, based at the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw. In 1988, Queen Beatrix conferred the “Royal” title upon the orchestra.

Mahler’s symphony No. 2 was written between 1888 and 1894, and first performed in 1895. Apart from the Eighth Symphony, this symphony was Mahler’s most popular and successful work during the Austrian composer’s lifetime.

The work is conventionally labelled as being in the key of C minor; the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians’ labels the work’s tonality as ‘c–E♭.

The symphony contains five movements and the fourth movement, Urlicht, is a Wunderhorn song, sung by an alto, which serves as an introduction to the choral Finale.

  1. Allegro maestoso. Mit durchaus ernstem und feierlichem Ausdruck (With complete gravity and solemnity of expression)
  2. Andante moderato. Sehr gemächlich. Nie eilen. (Very leisurely. Never rush.)
  3. In ruhig fließender Bewegung (With quietly flowing movement)
  4. Urlicht (Primeval Light). Sehr feierlich, aber schlicht (Very solemn, but simple)
  5. Im Tempo des Scherzos (In the tempo of the scherzo)

Text

The Fourth Movement

German

Urlicht

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 abweisen!
Ich bin von Gott und will wieder zu Gott!
Der liebe Gott wird mir ein Lichtchen geben,
Wird leuchten mir bis in das ewig selig Leben!
— From Des Knaben Wunderhorn

English translation

Primeval Light

O little red rose!
Man lies in greatest need!
Man lies in greatest pain!
How I would rather be in heaven.
There came I upon a broad path
when came a little angel and wanted to turn me away.
Ah no! I would not let myself be turned away!
I am from God and shall return to God!
The loving God will grant me a little light,
Which will light me into that eternal blissful life!
— From Des Knaben Wunderhorn

The Fifth Movement

German

Aufersteh’n, ja aufersteh’n
Wirst du, Mein Staub,
Nach kurzer Ruh’!
Unsterblich Leben! Unsterblich Leben
wird der dich rief dir geben!
Wieder aufzublüh’n wirst du gesät!
Der Herr der Ernte geht
und sammelt Garben
uns ein, die starben!
— Friedrich Klopstock
O glaube, mein Herz, o glaube:
Es geht dir nichts verloren!
Dein ist, ja dein, was du gesehnt!
Dein, was du geliebt,
Was du gestritten!
O glaube
Du wardst nicht umsonst geboren!
Hast nicht umsonst gelebt, gelitten!
Was entstanden ist
Das muß vergehen!
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’ gedrungen!
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

English translation

Rise again, yes, rise again,
Will you My dust,
After a brief rest!
Immortal life! Immortal life
Will He who called you, give you.
To bloom again were you sown!
The Lord of the harvest goes
And gathers in, like sheaves,
Us together, who died.
— Friedrich Klopstock
O believe, my heart, O believe:
Nothing to you is lost!
Yours is, yes yours, is what you desired
Yours, what you have loved
What you have fought for!
O believe,
You were not born for nothing!
Have not for nothing, lived, suffered!
What was created
Must perish,
What perished, rise again!
Cease from trembling!
Prepare yourself to live!
O Pain, You piercer of all things,
From you, I have been wrested!
O Death, You masterer of all things,
Now, are you conquered!
With wings which I have won for myself,
In love’s fierce striving,
I shall soar upwards
To the light which no eye has penetrated!
Die shall I in order to live.
Rise again, yes, rise again,
Will you, my heart, in an instant!
That for which you suffered,
To God will it lead you!
— Gustav Mahler

Sources

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