This is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard.
I am not an expert in classical music but this piece seems to have a universal appeal.
The middle part of the symphony `Lento e Largo' will be familiar to many as it was the soundtrack to a recent excellent BBC documentary on the Nazi's final solution, and an abridged version features on many classical chill out compilations.
But it really deserves to be heard in full and in context with the other pieces which are beautiful in their own right. I now listen to the third part, Lento: Cantabile-semplice, most.
It is worth knowing that the words to the middle part are derived from words inscribed by a prisoner on the walls of a Gestapo cell. `No, Mother, do not weep,
Most chaste Queen of Heaven. Support me always'
This part, astonishing in its vocal power, sounds like the end of the world. It is truly inspiring that such beautiful music can originate from our darkest times. The third part, for me, expresses a rebirth and a testament to the human strength to carry on against the odds.
It sometimes reminds me of the terrible starkness I saw when I visited Auschwitz. However, the piece means different things to people I have met. It rarely fails to bring a reaction because it manages to strike such a chord with the human condition.
Some people have called it `depressing'. However, this is a great disservice to the work which so many find inspiring. For me, the quiet reflection this piece offers is often the perfect antidote to the chaotic, often ugly world we live in.