Reprinted from yesterday's late edition.
Gustav Mahler's Second Symphony is the first of his two great apocalyptic visions - the second came six symphonies and 13 years later.With its triumphant assertion, "You will rise again my dust, after a short rest, yes, rise again, my heart, in an instant," it is a gloriously obvious choice for symphony programs at the Easter season.
With the splendor of the Maryland University Chorus to reinforce the strength of the enlarged National Symphony, Antal Dorati is making the Mahler Second the sole piece on this week's programs.
He has the vast work fully contained in his head and leads it from his heart. Its need for plasticity in phrasing is well met, and, for the most part, the orchestra responds handsomely to the heavy demands of the music, which lasts nearly an hour and a half.
Offstage horns and trumpets make much of Mahler's "great calls," while doubled timpani offer that remarkable sonority with which Mahler voices his fears before asserting his overwhelming assurance.
To hear Maureen Forrester singing Mahler is one of the glories of today's music. In the fourth and fifth movements, her voice was a golden monstrance before the composer's altar. Linda Zoghby's soprano provided lovely texture in her brief but telling lines.
Those final limitless choral measures can be held back even more than Dorati paced them Tuesday. There is more, much more depth and grandeur in those epic notes than we heard. But this music offers an unparalleled way to mark the week.