Are you ready for some Mahler?
My next class, Nov. 13, explores Gustav Mahler and his brilliant Symphony No. 2, the “Resurrection.” Mahler fans — and it’s hard to think of another composer who arouses such devotion — this is for you.
Mahler (1860-1911) was obsessed with the Big Questions: Where are we going? What is the point of toil and sorrow? Will death reveal the meaning of life? His music reflects his doubts and anxieties on a massive scale. He saturates it with funeral marches, radiant hymns, screams, birdsong, peasant tunes, sarcastic trills, shrill humor and ecstatic triumph.
This is the kind of immersion we seek as fans: a stirring of something deeply embedded in our souls.
The “Resurrection” is Mahler at his best. It’s a mammoth thing, with a huge orchestra (10 horns, eight trumpets), full chorus, two solo singers and off-stage bands. The fourth movement is one of his loveliest songs and the fifth and final movement is a triumphant hymn of redemption and rebirth — not in the Christian sense, but for all humans. The music ascends as if to heaven, filled with hope, a vision of paradise with pealing bells and a final moment of quiet, like a deep sigh of contentment.
I hope you will join me for a deep dive into this remarkable music: 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 13, Classic Pianos, 3303 SE Milwaukie, next to the Aladdin Theater. Cost: $20, payable at the door. To register and save a seat: 503-546-5622 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The class should last 90 minutes.
David Stabler is a pianist, writer, dad and cyclist. He's working on a novel based on his childhood years living in Africa and just finished riding across America with his brother this summer.