Arts and Entertainment

Federal Way Symphony presents Mahler's Resurrection

Gustav Mahler, as seen in this 1907 photograph. - Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Fair Use
Gustav Mahler, as seen in this 1907 photograph.
— image credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Fair Use

On Sunday, April 7, the Federal Way Symphony will perform its season finale of Mahler’s “Resurrection Symphony No. 2” under the direction of Maestro A. Brian Davenport.

This performance can be considered a home run with the full symphony orchestra, along with participation by soloists and a 50-voice chorus featuring the Federal Way Symphony Singers and the Boeing Employee Choir.

“It’s like a religious experience…this masterwork is one of the most important pieces of music ever written,” Davenport said.

In agreement is Symphony board member Glenna Cameron, who feels “that this monumental production will leave the audience inspired, and moved with maybe a tear in their eye and a lump in their throat.”

Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. Mahler’s oeuvre is relatively small, as much of his life composing was necessarily a part-time activity while he earned his living as a conductor.

It is important to note that his works are designed for large orchestral forces, symphonic choruses and operatic soloists. Most of his 12 symphonic scores were often controversial when first performed, with the exception of his Symphony No. 2, Symphony No. 3, and the triumphant premiere of his Eighth Symphony in 1910.

The title “Resurrection” has, understandably enough, led to the conclusion that Mahler composed this symphony on a religious impulse. To those unacquainted with the work, its presentation at this time of the year must suggest even more pointedly a celebration of the Easter theme.

This was not a factor in Mahler’s composing the work, and it is not part of the substance. While it is certainly true that the choral finale came to Mahler in the course of a church service he attended, he specified that the symphony is actually an extension of, or sequel to, the personal narrative represented in his first symphony.

The characteristic of his own vision of human aspiration and idealism informs us in so many of his works. Symphony No. 2 was written between 1888 and 1894, and it was his first major work that would eventually mark his lifelong view of the beauty of afterlife and “Resurrection.”

This production showcases the Federal Way Symphony and chorus as if they were lovely dancers whose limbs move like flowing water. Once again the Federal Way Symphony continues to provide our city and the Puget Sound region with the most dignified, refreshing and compassionate concerts.

Check it out

Show begins at 2 p.m. April 7 at St. Luke's Church, 515 S. 312th St. Tickets are $31 for general admission with discounts for seniors, groups and military. Students 18 and under admitted free. Call (253) 529-9857 or visit


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