Cardellino Records presents it's first release:
Gustav Mahler (1860 – 1911)
Symphony No. 2
in C minor “Resurrection”
Galina Kovaleva (soprano) (V)
Yeugenia Gorohovskaya (mezzo-soprano) (IV, V)
Kirov Theater Orchestra & Chorus
Conductor - YURI TEMIRKANOV
Chorus master – Alexander Murin
Total timing 79’59’’
Recorded at the Kirov (Mariinsky) Theater in May 1980 Produced by the Leningrad (Petersburg)Recording Studio
Sound engineer - Gerhard Tses
Remastered at the Petersburg Recording Studio in 24-bit digital stereo from the original analogue mastertapes.
Printed in Russia
Booklet in Russian and English with annotations, biographies and rare photos.
Date of release: December 14, 2013
St Petersburg’s Mahleriana: Symphony No 2 conducted by Yuri Temirkanov
The music of Gustav Mahler is closely connected with St Petersburg, and conductor Yuri Temirkanov’s performance with the Mariinsky (then the Kirov) Orchestra on this disc has a prehistory of its own. The composer came to Russia on three occasions: in March 1887, March 1902 and October 1907. On his first two visits, he performed works by Wagner, Rossini, Beethoven, Saint-Saëns and Tchaikovsky in St Petersburg with the Mariinsky Orchestra: at that time, Mahler’s fame as a conductor by far surpassed his renown as a composer. His success as a conductor, however, attracted public interest to his own works. As a result, in 1906 St Petersburg hosted a performance of the composer’s Second Symphony. Moreover, Oskar Fried, who conducted the Russian premiere at the Great Hall of the Noble Assembly (today the St Petersburg Philharmonic), was recommended by Gustav Mahler himself. One year before that Fried had conducted the symphony’s premiere in Berlin to Mahler’s satisfaction. Following the St Petersburg performance he wrote to the conductor that “My mind and my soul see that concert event as a beacon of light in my life.” Indeed, the symphony caused a huge resonance among music lovers, regardless of the fact that far from all understood it or accepted it. The renowned critic Vladimir Pavlovich Kolomiytsev wrote an article about the symphony in Oko magazine, commenting on its scale, the imagination, the development and the passion, though he also wrote of the fervent discussion about Mahler’s opus. The interest this aroused resulted in the composer including his Fifth Symphony in the programme of his second concert during his last visit to St Petersburg in 1907. All of Mahler’s concerts took place at the hall of the Noble Assembly, which following the Revolution became the home of the Petrograd Philharmonic, the first such orchestra in the country. In the 20s and 30s the Second Symphony was also performed there on a rather frequent basis (twice under the baton of the Philharmonic Orchestra’s Principal Conductor Fritz Stiedry), though it was soon dropped for a lengthy period, less for musical reasons than ideological and political ones.
The “thaw” towards Mahler’s works began in 1962, when the Second Symphony was “restored” to the concert platform by Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Yet greater praise in the popularisation of Mahler’s music belonged to the young Yuri Temirkanov. As head of the Philharmonic’s second Symphony Orchestra he included the composer’s Second and Third Symphonies in its repertoire. Temirkanov first conducted the Second Symphony at two concerts in 1973 and it proved a veritable sensation. In Temirkanov’s interpretation audiences saw the long-awaited arrival of a “Mahlerian conductor”. Writing for Soviet Music, Lyudmila Mikheyeva dedicated her ecstatic review to the performance: “Yuri Temirkanov heard the score ‘in a Mahlerian fashion’, sensing the nerve and the pulse of the Second Symphony precisely. The first movement with its countless dramatic culminations, the interspersing of tensely ecstatic moments and states of enlightenment, with its impetuous flights and grandiose developments against the general backdrop of a majestic funeral procession sounded integral and convincing... Temirkanov’s interpretation of the second movement truly sounds like a ‘ray of sunlight.’ A refined Ländler begins very gently, transparently and mysteriously with its unhurried movements, gracious accents and ‘squats’. It would appear that the conductor is admiring the enchanting and slightly cunning melody, carefully ‘singing’ its every movement with his hands.” Then comes the third movement – “waking from a sad dream” (about which Mahler wrote), in Temirkanov’s interpretation “not immediately, the ‘chaos of life’ knocks at the door insistently though it only gradually begins to impinge on the senses then takes over, subjecting all to its triumphant perpetuum mobile. We see totally different colours in the fourth movement – the song Urlicht to verse from Des Knaben Wunderhorn. There is the heartfelt pianissimo and expressive singing – not just of the soloist Yevgenia Gorokhovskaya but of literally each and every instrument featured in the performance of this incredibly subtle and poetic miniature.
“And, at last, we have the finale. Amazingly tense, stormy, frenetic and filled with some torturous battle that eventually leads to a triumphant and jubilant hymn... The form is equally convincingly presented – even more complex and capacious than in the first movement. The calculation of the sound is just as precise with its iron immutability, leading to the central culmination – the concluding chorus to verse by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock.”
Temirkanov continued to perform the symphony (the next concerts came in 1976), while highlights from rehearsals and the performance featured in a documentary about the conductor. When he was Director of the Mariinsky (then the Kirov) Theatre and revived the tradition of symphony concerts with the orchestra there one of the first works to be performed was, yet again, the Second Symphony – not just in Leningrad but in Moscow as well. It was then recorded by a studio in Leningrad and released on vinyl. This current release is a revived and remastered recording which should have been “given back” to music lovers long ago.
Symphony No. 2 in D Minor (1888–1894)
The conception of Symphony No. 2 was dated to 1887. Gustav Mahler was working on his sublime work within the limit of about seven years. He had time to change several places of employment: as a conductor of the Opera Theatre in Leipzig, as director of the Royal Opera in Budapest, and as a conductor of the Opera Theatre in Hamburg. Those years, the songs “Youth’s Magic Horn” written to the Arnim and Brentano`s verses appeared, where the peculiar and expressive nature of Mahler`s melodics was crystallized.
In his correspondence, the composer gave his opinion as to the idea of his composition which was thought over by him for a long time.
“The First Movement was called the “Funeral Feast’. There I bury the hero of my Symphony in D Major… At the same time this movement raises an existential question. Why did you live? Why did you suffer? Can it really be true that all our being is only a giant scary joke? A person who heard this appeal at least once in his life could answer it. And I give an answer in the last Movement… The Second Movement is memory, a pure and untroubled sunbeam in the life of my hero.
Have you had a misfortune some time? If you bury your beloved person and then, may be on your way back, you would imagine a picture of happiness that has gone for a long time. A pleasant memory would find its way to your soul as a sunbeam. And then you almost have forgotten what was occurred just now. This is the Second Movement. If you then awake from your dream that makes you sad, to anew plunge into the vanity of life, it could happen that this vanity, being ever mobile, ever disturbing, ever incomprehensive, would be frightful to you. It resemble the figures which go round in a brightly illuminated ball-room and which you look at a so long distance that you do not hear the music. Then your life could be imagined as nonsense or a bad dream. Suddenly you wake up with a cry of disgust! You know what follows… This is the Third Movement”.
Raising a question about human life and death, about meaning and value of his life, Mahler has come to a very specific, programmatic picture of content for Symphony No. 2, although he never published symphony programs himself. Only the included texts of vocal episodes could suggest a trace to apprehend music programmatically.
It was for a long time that Mahler could not find the verses to reproduce the idea of the Fifth Movement. Several lines were written by him himself, but he continued rereading many authors in search of a proper poetic text. In full swing of his work on the symphony, an unexpected news went about the death of Hans Bulow, one of the first-rate conductors of the time, whom Mahler worshiped. In the office for the dead, the choral “You will resurrect, yes, you will resurrect after a short-term sleep…” was performed on the verses by Friedrich Klopstock, an outstanding German poet of XVII century. Mahler was stricken: here were the lines which he sought after so long! And they underlie the Finale. Thanks to those lines, the symphony has become known as “Resurrection”. A giant musical cycle came to an end on December 28. 1894, and only in a year, on December 13, 1894, the work was performed for the first time with the orchestra conducted by its author.