Friday, July 8, 2011

Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, Performed by Waltraud Meier, Torsten Kerl, and WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Directed by Semyon Bychkov

Das Lied von der Erde ("The Song of the Earth"), was "described on the title-page as Eine Symphonie für eine Tenor- und eine Alt- (oder Bariton-) Stimme und Orchester (nach Hans Bethges 'Die chinesische Flöte') – 'A Symphony for Tenor and Alto (or Baritone) Voice and Orchestra (after Hans Bethge's "The Chinese Flute"')."

"Mahler's use of 'Chinese' motifs in the music is unique in his output," we learn. The composer "conceived the work in 1908" and it "followed closely on the publication of Hans Bethge's volume of ancient Chinese poetry rendered into German... Mahler was very taken by the vision of earthly beauty and transience expressed in these verses and chose seven (two of them used in the finale) to set to music."

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