‘Gripping’ – Mahler Review May ’18

Yorkshire Post 11 May 2018

The Bruckner Orchester Linz, Sheffield City Hall

What’s the aural equivalent of a spectacle? An auracle? If so, Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony was auracular. A huge orchestra, The Bruckner Orchester Linz, and two choirs – Sheffield and Leeds not rivals here, but the Philharmonic Choruses of both cities working together.

Mahler labelled the first movement ‘funeral rites’, and although there is the feel of a funeral march, it’s interrupted with dramatic outbursts from the entire orchestra, in this case directed with theatrical gestures from Markus Poschner.

The second and third movements Mahler called interludes – a sunny memory and ‘a return into the confusion of life’, after which the orchestra becomes muted, ready for the entry of the alto soloist representing the voice of faith. Calm, pure, yet rich and powerful, Theresa Kronthaler’s voice fitted the mood perfectly and prepared the hall for the grand finale – the resurrection.

The soprano Brigitte Geller sang of life’s meaning, and the choirs, hushed at first, but two hundred strong, sang with gripping dynamics and diction. As Poschner marshalled his forces in the increasingly triumphant progress to eternity, it was hard not to get carried away by the sheer physicality of the music – so many people united in optimism. A tonic for the times.

Steve Draper, Yorkshire Post, 11 May 2018