A pianist has turned Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony into a Cuban Rumba

20 April 2019, 16:36

Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (‘Resurrection’) has been transformed 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 has done something really interesting: Joachim Horsley has reimagined ‘Resurrection’ in three Cuban Rumba styles – Guanguanco, Yambú, and Colombia.

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!”), are replaced with a series of ghostly, wordless noises, while the immense percussive sounds are recreated in the inner structure of the piano.

There’s also a pretty creepy middle organ section, which slows down the whole rumba, before picking the tempo up again, returning to the groove and throwing us right back into the happy rumba.


It’s kind of genius.