Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2
My first encounter with the work…
I was discovering the symphonic repertoire and had begun buying records. I’d heard vaguely of Mahler. I was like 12 or 13. From the very first measures of this symphony, I was enthralled, fascinated by the darkness, desperate energy and power. And when the chorus started singing, I was sold!
My favourite passage
There are two. First, in the middle of the first movement, before the recapitulation: the combined brass hammer out a rhythm, very heavy, with repeated notes… The effect is incredible. Also, at the very end, the last two measures sung by the chorus. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!
My favourite recording has to be Leonard Bernstein’s with the New York Philharmonic, put down in the ’80s for Deutsche Grammophon. The principal trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra, where I also conduct, told me he played in that performance.