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«Das Lied von der Erde»

Past Event
Wed, 30. November 2022 | 19:30 UhrKKL Luzern, Konzertsaal

6.30pm | Pre-concert talk with Gabriela Kaegi

  • Gustav Mahler (1860 – 1911)

    • The Song of the Earth – A symphony for tenor, alto (or baritone) voice and orchestra

“I believe that this is possibly the most personal work I have ever created” Gustav Mahler wrote to his conductor colleague Bruno Walter in September 1908. Indeed, the “Lied von der Erde” is not only his most personal work in terms of the expressive content of the music, but also in terms of its unique form. Song and symphony flow together here in an utterly natural way. And the text is also quite something: adaptations of classic Chinese nature poetry, dealing with the most diverse aspects of human existence and bidding farewell to life itself. Bruno Walter described it as the “most Mahlerian” of works and did not hold back in describing his own deeply emotional reaction: “I studied it and experienced a period of the most dreadful distress with these uniquely passionate, bitter, renunciatory and beatific sounds of parting and floating away, this last confession of one touched by death.” Shrill, glittering, ecstatic sounds at the opening, followed by the weary contemplation of life by a lonely man, childlike beauty, ecstatic drunkenness and finally the last farewell. Mahler never heard any of this as Bruno Walter did not conduct the premiere until six months after the composer’s death.


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