IN TUNE: Like the music in heaven

2013-04-07T00:00:00Z 2014-04-24T15:26:06Z IN TUNE: Like the music in heavenBy Kirk Muspratt Special to The Times
April 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Hello friends! Please join us for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to hear the astonishing Mahler 2nd symphony, "The Resurrection", on Friday, April 12th, at the Auditorium at Bethel Church.

The last time, and really the only other time, that our symphony and chorus performed this work was in 1991. The stage will be jam packed with 200 musicians. We even have to have musicians playing up in the balcony.

Also, it is not so often that we can schedule a piece with this message right after Easter. However, this year we got lucky and with Easter still in our hearts and minds, we will have the opportunity to share this spiritual and uplifting piece of music with you. I think that this music must be what music in heaven is like.

It is a piece that has moved many generations of human beings. After President Kennedy was assassinated, Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic were asked to create a memorial concert; Mahler 2 was the piece that they chose to perform at that unforgettable moment in our history.

It is a difficult piece for the orchestra. There are times when Mahler asks them "to play with the greatest possible strength that you possess.” There are times when he asks the violins to play PPPPP - that is, pianississississimo or very, very, very, very, very softly.

It is a challenging piece for the chorus in that some of the 1895 harmonies that Mahler writes are completely crazy — almost like jazz/pop chords. We were laughing last night in chorus rehearsal because I said "that almost sounds like a Vic Damone harmony from An Affair to Remember."

It is a challenging piece for the conductor as juxtaposed with traditional Christian music in that there are fun and happy klezmer sections.

I feel like saying, “Let me get this straight, Mahler. You are talking about St. Anthony giving a sermon to the fishes, but you are using klezmer music to express this?” I am a very conflicted and confused conductor at that point. But it works!

Mahler was born Jewish and persecuted for this his whole life even though he was really raised Catholic. This persecution plagued him and his whole family their entire lives. His niece, Alma, for example, led the women's orchestra at Auschwitz, before she was murdered there.

I digress. You must come to hear this astonishing piece! It will blow your mind! I cannot even listen to in the car because each time I start listening I am in grave danger of getting an extremely ruinous speeding ticket.

And this is not just because I am a music nerd. The piece is amazing. We promised, as our motto for the year "Prepare to be Amazed" — and I promise you, you will be.

Opinions are solely those of the writer's. Kirk Muspratt is the conductor of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra. Muspratt's column is an occasional feature during symphony season.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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