‘Outstanding’ – Mahler Review May ’18

Full Range of Emotions

Bruckner Orchester Linz, Sheffield City Hall

Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony is big in every way; the theme is nothing less than the entire range of emotional experiences in human life, leading up to a glorious religious revelation.

And it is all depicted on a massive scale – a huge orchestra with blaring brass (both on the platform and offstage), thumping percussion and massed ranks of cellos and double basses well to the fore, augmented for the final uplifting choral movement by a choir of well over a hundred. Sheffield’s own Philharmonic Chorus joined forces with their counterparts from Leeds to bring an absorbing performance to a moving conclusion with a mosaic of joyous sound.

It was a vehicle that had been well run-in, having been on the road to both Edinburgh and Middlesbrough before reaching City Hall, and conductor Markus Poschner had Mahler’s demanding and often innovative (despite frequent echoes of both Wagner and Beethoven) and lengthy score (90 minutes, no interval) under tight control.

The work’s contrasting moods were always carefully balanced, yet the hushed entry of the chorus in the final climactic movement was one of the evening’s outstanding moments. It was they who brought the piece to its rousing conclusion and who, with chorus master Darius Battiwalla, received their well-deserved share of the prolonged applause.

Philip Andrews, Sheffield Telegraph, 10 May 2018