Two resurrections on the same night

Two resurrections on the same night


norman lebrecht

December 02, 2010

The first English performance of Mahler’s second symphony was played, according to Donald Mitchell*, on April 16, 1931 at Queen’s Hall, London, conducted by Bruno Walter.

The second performance took place, under the same conductor, on October 1, 1949. Eighteen years seems an awfully long time to wait for a repeat. 
But see how times have changed. This Saturday night there will be two simultaneous concerts of the Resurrection symphony, one at the University of Bristol, conductor John Pickard, and the other, in south London, by the Philharmonia Britannica, conducted by Peter Fender.
Booking details: – and
I was supposed to be introducing the Bristol concert but find myself otherwise engaged, escorting a group of Guardian readers with Why Mahler? in hand to Vladimir Jurowski’s London Philharmonic performance of Mahler’s first symphony at the Royal Festival Hall.
Tastes have changed. Mahler’s time has surely come.
* in Mitchell and Nicholson, The Mahler Companion (Oxford University Press), 1999. p551


  • Schumann and Chopin who this year we are celebrating the 150th for Mahler and 200th anniversaries for Schumann and Chopin, are DESERVING of considerably more performance and recording attention by singers and instrumentalists.
    Gustav Mahler: this year marks the 150th anniversary of his birth, in Kalischt, Bohemia on July 7, 1860. The 100th anniversary of his death in Vienna on May 18, 1911 will be celebrated next year. Chopin was born at Zelazowa-Wola, near Warsaw, on February 22, 1810 and Robert Schumann was born at Zwickau, Germany on June 8, 1810, both thereby qualifying for their respective 200 year anniversaries.
    GUSTAV MAHLER’s complete “Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen” was part of my Ten Language Solo Debut in the main hall, now designated the Isaac Stern Auditorium, of Carnegie Hall on Sunday April 24th, 1955 at 5:30 pm. My accompanist was the justly renowned Otto Herz. The concert, the first half of the three hour concert, not including the 20 minute intermission, lasted to 8:50 pm. The audience reception was enthusiastic and, although the rest of the concert, for the most part, was of greater “gravitas” vocally and interpretively. To this day I am reminded by attendees and by record collectors, that my performance, in a heldentenor voice, made them Mahler’s music fans.
    Kenneth Bennett Lane
    Wagnerian heldentenor
    Director, Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, where all the Wagner AND Shakespeare roles are taught