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About This Performance

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Begun in 1888, Mahler’s Second was not completed until 1894. For a good part of that time, Mahler was trying to envision the finale, which he knew would be vocal. The breakthrough came at the funeral of conductor (and Mahler supporter Hans von Bülow), when Mahler heard a setting of the hymn Die Auferstehung (The Resurrection) by Friedrich Klopstock. “It struck me like lightning, this thing,” Mahler wrote, “and everything was revealed to me clear and plain.” Mahler used the first eight lines of Klopstock’s hymn, but then added three times as many of his own that dealt more explicitly with redemption and resurrection.

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