Music review: BBC SSO
WITH a finale so colossal, so all-consuming and downright operatic, there’s always the possibility of heading home from a performance of Mahler’s Second Symphony – the Resurrection – with just the memory of that glorious peroration resounding in your head.
But Sunday’s performance by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Edinburgh Festival Chorus, with soloists Meagan Miller and Karen Cargill under the baton of Donald Runnicles, was much more.
Runnicles carved out a vision of the entire work that asked all the right questions of the earlier movements, from the robust dark-and-light argument of the opening, to the sublime purity which was conveyed by the oaken-voiced Cargill in Urlicht.
It was an interpretation that neatly balanced the big picture with those delicious micro-orchestrations that are Mahler’s trademark, although the uncustomary sounds of fluffed entries from the SSO brass initially lessened the impact of the latter.
But what a finale. This was a triumph in numbers as Runnicles galvanised the disparate forces around him – the offstage brass, the organ, the bells and gongs of the percussion, in addition to the main orchestra, and a Festival Chorus singing admirably from memory and with a precision and homogeneity that is now their calling card, and which played its part in bringing this festive piece to an overwhelming climax.