For the second time in less than a year I am performing Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, and this is the second orchestra with whom I’ve performed this work. The Greenville Chorale joined the Greenville Symphony this weekend for two performances, one Saturday night and one Sunday afternoon.
Last time, we performed with the Brevard Music Center Orchestra under the direction of David Effron. Since our portion is only about 15 minutes, and since we had performed this recently, we didn’t need much preparation time. However, we did need to get used to the different interpretations between Effron and Edvard Tchivzhel. Maestro Tchivzhel is much, much more dramatic, and tended to linger on and draw out the climactic portions of the piece.
This edition of the Resurrection Symphony was edited by Bonnie Borshay Sneed. Bonnie was a classmate of mine and fellow Furman Singer. She is now the director of choral activities at Dennison University in Granville, Ohio.
I’ve mentioned before that Mahler’s 2nd requires a HUGE orchestra. In addition to the extra musicians, there was another interesting instrumental addition. The chemistry department of Furman helped John Beckford obtain several empty gas cylinders. He cut this and tuned them, turning them into instruments to be used for a percussion ensemble performance back in April. These cylinders are back, being used as bells in this performance. They really do sound like bells.
The funny thing is, Laura wasn’t really interested in attending the concert until she heard about the gas cylinders. Yesterday morning I dropped by the box office to get her a ticket for the Sunday performance. She specific that she needed a clear view of the cylinders – never mind that her husband would also be on stage performing!
Last night’s concert at the Peace Center went very well. The mad Russian was in rare form. His conducting is always fun to watch, even as an audience member. For the Mahler he went all out, and the finale had him with his arms wide open, trying to get the largest sound possible from us. It was impressive, and we received a standing ovation with multiple curtain calls.
As impressive as this is, I told Bing Vick that we can’t perform this piece anymore. Despite it’s uplifting nature, it has memories of tragedy as far as our group is concerned. Back in August when we performed this, friend and Chorale member Steve Pace had just lost his battle with cancer. The Resurrection themes of the piece took on added meaning for that performance. This time, Chorale member and treasurer Barry Drake is in the final stages of his battle with cancer. I sat near Barry’s brother-in-law, Steve Craig, for the concert. Steve commented on how moving the piece was, given the circumstances with his family.
So, we repeat the concert this afternoon. I hope that it will be received as well as it did last night.
[tags]Greenville Symphony, Greenville Chorale, Mahler 2nd, Peace Center[/tags]