Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ as a Cuban Rumba will make you feel born again

27 October 2017, 14:17

Someone has turned Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (‘Resurrection’) into a Cuban Rumba and it’s pretty darn uplifting.

It’s fair to say that most cover artists wouldn’t touch Mahler’s terrifying second symphony with a barge pole. As well as brass, woodwind, strings, keyboard and a full-voice choir, the original score includes seven timpani, two bass drums, two pairs of cymbals, two triangles, a glockenspiel, three deep, untuned bells, and three tam-tams.

But this pianist hath no fear. In fact, Joachim Horsley has reimagined ‘Resurrection’ in a totally new arrangement based on three Cuban Rumba styles – Guanguanco, Yambú, and Colombia.

Instead of the melodramatic lyrics in the closing verse (“Die shall I in order to live. Rise again, yes, rise again, will you, my heart, in an instant! That for which you suffered, to God will it lead you!”), Joachim’s choir produces a series of ghostly noises without lyrics, almost in the style of an a cappella group.

And instead of attempting to reproduce the immense percussive sounds in Mahler’s original score, he simply uses the inner structure of the piano to create his rhythms. Go on Joachim!

Also, the new middle organ section is a pretty creepy addition to the reimagined symphony. It comes out of nowhere about two minutes in, slows down the whole rumba and allows the eerie vocals to enter. But then, the tempo picks back up, the groove returns and we’re thrown right back into the happy rumba.


It’s kind of genius.

Here's the real deal for comparison:

Support Joachim’s music video and album series on his Kickstarter page, and find more of his work on YouTube.