Mahler’s Second Symphony, The Resurrection Symphony, is one of the great works of Western Art. Titanic in its scale and overwhelming in its inspiration the demands it makes on a symphony orchestra are beyond formidable. Its stature is unsurpassed in the orchestral literature. Last night the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra performed the work in the First United Methodist Church. The venue change was necessary because the Buddy Holly Hall did not have the funds to add an organ to its main auditorium. The symphony’s finale requires an organ.

The LSO was joined by soloists Elena Villaló, Claudia Chapa, and the FUMC Chancel Choir. The performance was a triumph. The LSO met all the formidable demands of the work with superb playing. The fourth movement (Urlicht) is from Mahler’s song cycle Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Ms Chapa sang it withrerstrained ease. The fifth movement, the longest of the five, is divided into two halves. The first is for orchestra alone. It introduces the resurrection theme which the chorus will later sing. In addition to the chorus, the second half uses two soloists – soprano and mezzo-soprano. The first eight lines of the text are from Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock’s ‘Die Auferstehung’ the remainder are by Mahler himself.

Conductor David Cho’s mastery of large forces, an understatement for the army of performers required by the symphony, was complete. Over the more than a dozen years he has conducted the LSO he has grown into a master of his craft. He had the score in front of him but rarely looked at it observing Pierre Monteux’s direction that “The score should be in the conductor’s head, not the conductor’s head in the score.” His conception of the gigantic work was incisive and revelatory. No conductor could have done Mahler’s great work better. Under his direction, the LSO has evolved into an ensemble equal to those found in cities many times the size of Lubbock.

The auditorium’s acoustics are not ideal for this symphony. There was too much reverberation and some of the sounds were muddy. It’s a pity that the Buddy Holly Hall with its magnificent acoustics could not be employed. It’s impossible to single out any of the players or singers as they all performed at the highest level.

The symphony will be performed again this evening. Due to the great demands it makes it’s not often that an audience gets to to hear this monumental work. When it’s performed at the high level it was last night it should not be missed. In summary, a dazzling performance of one of music’s greatest works