Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Whole Lotta Resurrecting Going On

It seems unprecedented, how every day seems to bring yet another bout of bad bad news. And it's not just a spate of unfortunate current events - the very foundations of our society are quaking, and so many people in various towers of power who once said "trust me, this is working" are now saying "you know, we need buckets and buckets of help." Heck, even Tom Peters is depressed.

So it's interesting how much I've been reading about Gustav Mahler's 2nd Symphony ("Resurrection") and Gilbert Kaplan, a businessman who, without formal classical music training in his early life, became a remarkable orchestral switch-hitter, focusing exclusively on this massive work, learning how to conduct its forces...because he wanted to. And he did it again last night, with the New York Philharmonic, 100 years after Mahler himself conducted the same symphony with the same group.

I found references in The New York Times and The Economist, as well as a number of other unusual places that I should have written down. A coincidence of my own making perhaps.

Mahler's 2nd is a huge work that famously builds to a massive, transcendent climax, beginning, in my opinion, with the chorus singing "What has been created must pass away, what has passed away will rise again."

What's been taking my mind away from it all is the knowledge (hope) that one of the major driving forces of society is currently being resurrected. That, and the 3rd movement of the Mahler, in which the huge orchestra dances lightly, a bit sardonic and not entirely carefree. Here's Simon Rattle embodying the rhythm in the score while he barely conducts :

Here's part 2 of the 3rd movement.

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