Monday, May 12, 2008

Mahler's Second (to none)

I have very little of edification to offer about Mahler's Second, conducted by Gergiev, at the Barbican, except my experience. I've heard the symphony several times on CD, but to have the floor rattle underneath my feet at the cellos thundered was utterly transporting.

For ninety minutes, I sat there transfixed, possessed in the way only music can. The funeral march roars, the quiet beauty of the Urlicht section, the bells and brass of the finale - I have never quite felt so ecstatic, in the true sense of the word - standing outside oneself, quite without self-possession or self-consciousness. It was more moving than I could have believed, more powerful than I could almost stand.

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