Did you get to see the DSO perform Mahler’s Symphony No 2 yesterday? I hope so—it was fantastic! Conductor Leonard Slatkin, the DSO, the soloists, and choir gave an expressive, emotion-filled performance, thoughtful and thought-provoking. It was dramatic without being over-the-top apocalyptic, and there was a sweetness in the moments of nostalgic reflection that was just right. Well done, one and all!
The symphony was preceded by the debut of Slatkin’s own Kinah, a touching tribute to his parents. Kinah means elegy in Hebrew. His father was a violinist and his mother was a cellist. They were preparing to perform the Brahms “Double” Concerto together, but Slatkin’s father died the day before the concert. In Kinah, Slatkin quotes passages of the concerto, but they are never completed, as the concert was never completed. Slatkin’s brother, a cellist, plays his mother’s cello in the performance.
Mahler’s Second Symphony was performed as a tribute after the death of President John F. Kennedy. The New York Philharmonic has a webpage on the performance where you can see a portion of the broadcast, Bernstein’s handwritten note on his decision to perform that symphony, and Bernstein’s score of the symphony. Bernstein presented a Young People’s Concert on Mahler. The script is available here.
The Morgan Library and Museum has a number of Mahler’s manuscripts, and you can view them online. The University of Western Ontario also has some pages from Symphony No 1 and some other pieces either written by Mahler or containing his notations. Here is a manuscript of Mahler’s song Frühlingsmorgen. The Library of Congress has digitized images of holdings of the Moldenhauer Archives of works by a number of composers (scroll down to see list). Type Mahler’s name in the search box on the top left to see the manuscript list.
So much here, so serious, we need to end on a lighter note. How about this: did you know that when Mahler lived in New York (he was the conductor of the Metropolitan Opera) he liked riding the subway?  He told artist Alfred Roller, “I am quite entranced with this country.” 
- The NPR Guide To Building a Classical CD Collection by Ted Libbey, New York: Workman Publishing, 1994 p 106.
- http://www.keepingscore.org/interactive/gustav-mahler/farewell/time-place (link on “Met Premiere”). Do click around in this website, it is very interesting!
Image attribution: Gustav Mahler, photograph by E. Bieber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AGustav-Mahler-Kohut.jpg