An immediate standing ovation from the packed-out auditorium for this historic Prom, hailing the return of Sir Simon Rattle, with the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and marking the stepping-down of the 67-year-old conductor from the LSO after five glorious years.

First performed in 1895, Mahler’s fan-favourite Resurrection Symphony (Symphony No. 2) is credited with being the piece that inspired a young Rattle to pursue a career in conducting. The first time he would conduct it would be at 18 — some fifty years ago — and watching Rattle today, you really get a sense of his love for the piece. From the first shuddering tremolo on the violins and violas, paired with a convulsed five-note figure on cellos and basses (marked ‘wildly’), Rattle is alive with energy, his trademark hair bobbing up and down and the players hang on his every instruction.

The second movement strikes a calmer tone, but it’s the return to the bombast in the third movement that makes the audience sit up and pay attention, in this epic, eighty-minute work. Ferocious drum-strokes announce it, the brass replying in kind, and Rattle again proves that his stamina is just as important as his technique, wielding the baton.

Mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly and lyric soprano Louise Alder led the three hundred-strong chorus into the last dramatic movement, with breathtaking skill, up to the final bars, rich with the deep organ and thundering drums.

Rattle also used this occasion to mark the death of his close friend and collaborator, composer Harrison Birtwistle, beginning with a moving tribute to the man by Rattle himself, and opening with Birtwhistle’s short but dynamic fanfare written just for him, Donum Simoni MMXVIII.

Tickets for all 72 Proms are available from just £7.12 on the BBC Proms 2022 website.

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