Big sound, many voices

The Williamsport Symphony Orchestra presents Mahler's Symphony No. 2, 'Resurrection'

Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurection,” has been hailed as the peak of the 19th century, with a symphony that includes soloists and a choir and almost 100 musicians on and off stage.

Mahler, who wrote nine and a half symphonies before he passed away, was inspired by a hymn written by 18th century German poet, F.G. Klopstock.

“When I proposed to do this piece, everyone was like, ‘Are you serious?’ ,” Maestro Gerardo Edelstein said of the piece that he picked for this season that comes from a period where emotional, stormy and traumatic pieces were born. “It’s the pinacle, the peak — it reaches the highest point in the romantic period. With Mahler, this piece showcases the freedom that music had at that time.”

“This will be the first time this piece is performed in Williamsport. It will be the largest orchestra on stage,” he said. For this 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 performance, the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra asked the Williamsport Civic Chorus, the Williamsport Chamber Choir and Orchestra and the Lycoming College Choir to join them in the performance of “Ressurection.” Also joining the performance will be mezzo soprano, Timothi Williams and soprano Sarah Shafer.

Edelstein said the piece is an hour and 20 minutes long. “It’s a way to celebrate the community of Williamsport by inviting as many singers and musicians as we can.”

Shafer, a native of State College, was actually the winner of the Young Artists Competition that the WSO holds every year when she competed as a pianist.  She has earned degrees in voice and opera from the Curtis Institute of Music and is a highly sought after performer. Now performing as a soloist, Shafer is excited to perform where she first performed with the WSO. “That performance in ninth grade was so memorable to me, and ever since then an opportunity to perform with the orchestra has been my greatest thrill. I have a vivid memory of the hall, and haven’t been back in over ten years, so I am looking forward to being there as a singer this time! I also love Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony — it is always so moving to hear it and be a part of it.”

Williams is a recent graduate of the voice performance and pedagogy master’s from at Penn State University and also recieved her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from West Liberty University. Edelstein said Williams perfomed with the Symphony in 2015, returning for a second time for this performance.

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