Hans von Bülow, chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker, was somewhat disturbed when Gustav Mahler played him the first movement of his Second Symphony. Mahler wrote in a letter that “he went into a nervous shock and declared Tristan to be like a Haydn symphony compared to my piece”. However, after the premiere the symphony became the composer’s most popular works. In Febuary 2012 it was performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Rundfunkchor Berlin and Sir Simon Rattle. In our introduction, chorus master Simon Halsey presents the work.