Those impressed with the Waco Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 at last month’s WSO concert can get more of the same Friday night at the Baylor President’s Concert.
The 117-member Baylor Symphony Orchestra and nearly 120 singers drawn from Baylor choirs, including both the whole A Cappella and Concert Choirs, will perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) led by Baylor conductor-in-residence Stephen Heyde.
The massive 1895 work, which traces a progression from death and doubt to faith in Christian resurrection, requires more horns and trumpets than the WSO’s Mahler No. 1 performance did, with parts for offstage players. Baylor horn alumni, in fact, were asked to join present students for the Friday performance.
The five-movement symphony also will feature solos by Baylor music faculty members Jamie Van Eyck, a mezzo-soprano, and Amy Petrongelli, a soprano. The Austrian composer works with musical motifs for such themes as eternity, ascension to heaven, resurrection and the cross of Christ, plus interpretations of Judgment Day and a radiant, eternal light of heaven. “There’s not a more perfect piece that represents the mission of Baylor,” Heyde said.
The symphony’s scale puts it beyond the reach of many professional orchestras that don’t have the financial resources to hire the extra instrumentalists and singers, while many college symphony programs can’t field the number of technically proficient musicians needed. The Baylor School of Music last performed the Mahler symphony 10 years ago and, before that, in 1997.
“Because it’s so dramatic and requires so large an ensemble, it’s really rare to hear,” Heyde said of the “Resurrection” symphony. “I think it’s something to be celebrated.”
Tickets for the concert are $15 and can be purchased online at baylor.edu/tickets. Unsold tickets will be available for sale in the Jones Concert Hall foyer before the performance.