The 2,100-seat place was built more for larger symphony, ballet, and musical theater orchestras. So it was a delight to hear the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra and the 100+ voice Huntsville Community Chorus perform Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2 in C minor, also know as the "Resurrection," last Saturday night in the grand, cavernous hall. You have to give it up for Gregory Vajda, the Symphony's Music Director and Conductor, and for Ian Loeppky, the Chorus' Artistic Director, for packing the stage with as many talented performers as it could possibly hold, including the huge choir behind a full orchestra of seven timpanis, five double basses, two harps, a plethora of horns, strings, and other assorted instruments that, in the piece's most stirring moments, sounded as if they could indeed raise the dead.
"One is first beaten down and then raised on angels' wings to the greatest heights," Mahler wrote following rehearsals for the symphony's premiere in 1895. "The whole thing sounds as if it came to us from some other world. I doubt anyone will be able to resist it." Indeed!