Is it symbolic? The Charleston Symphony Orchestra, which faced the prospect of bankruptcy and extinction two years ago, stormed back after restructuring and negotiations with musicians.
On Saturday, it concludes its 2011-12 Masterworks series with a massive performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, nicknamed the Resurrection.
About 250 musicians will populate the stage of the Gaillard Auditorium, which soon will be closed for a restructuring of its own followed by a 2015 resurrection as a world-class concert hall.
The five-movement, 90-minute symphony remains one of Mahler’s most popular. It’s scored for orchestra, mixed choir, soprano and contralto soloists and an off-stage brass ensemble.
Mahler was most famous as a conductor in Vienna and later in New York City.
Saturday’s concert will feature conductor Daniel Hege, soprano Jill Lewis, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Luiken, the CSO Chorus and the College of Charleston Concert Choir.
Concertmaster Yuriy Bekker said playing Mahler is “a triumph for musicians.”
“It’s the most incredible and unbelievable feeling because this music contains everything that a person can experience in their lifetime, from happiness to despair,” Bekker said. “It’s a symphony that everybody can relate to.”
And when the last movement comes, the listener can’t help but be moved, he said. “You think about people who are very close to you, your friends and family. It’s just so powerful.”