Gustav Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) 60'
Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (OBC)
Matthias Pintscher, conductor
Stuart Skelton, tenor
Jennifer Johnston, contralto
Audiovisuals: Alba G. Corral
Gustav Mahler composed Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) in 1907, during a stay in the Tyrol. It was shortly after the death of his daughter Maria, and he had just been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that foreshadowed the end of his life (he died in 1911). It is a composition for orchestra and the voices of a tenor and a baritone (or a contralto, as in this version), consisting of six movements, each of which comprises a separate song. It was inspired by some of the poems in Die chinesische Flöte (The Chinese Flute), a collection of Chinese verses in translation compiled by Hans Bethge, including some by Li Bai (李白), a Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty, known for his hedonism. This hedonism is reflected in Mahler’s musical work. Like thinker Arthur Schopenhauer, orientalist Friedrich Rückert and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, he looked to the East (or an idealised concept of the East) to find an alternative vision of the world. Formally, the work falls between symphony and lied, and its structure follows the various stages of life, leading to the moment when a man or woman passes over the threshold of death into unknown territory.
On this occasion the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Matthias Pintscher, renowned composer and musical director of Ensemble Intercontemporain since 2013. One of the outstanding orchestral conductors of our time, he regularly conducts some of the best orchestras in the world, including the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, which he has appeared with on several occasions. Two exceptional singers will feature in this performance of The Song of the Earth: tenor Stuart Skelton, known for his work with Simon Rattle, former conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic and very familiar with the work, which he has recorded on two occasions, and mezzo soprano Jennifer Johnston, winner of the 2021 Royal Philharmonic Society Singer Award, and a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist. Johnston has worked extensively with the Bayerische Staatsoper, and her voice is considered one of the revelations of today’s opera scene.
This musical experience will be completed with projections prepared for it by Alba G. Corral. A visual artist and code developer, who was born in Madrid and now lives in Catalonia, she has been using digital media to create audiovisual projections that explore abstract narratives for over ten years. In this case, the images are inspired by the lyrics of the songs and take us on a visual journey through the landscape of Terres de l’Ebre, where she now lives. One of today’s best known artists in the genre, the startling images she produced to accompany the music of the San Francisco Kronos Quartet at the opening night of the 2019 Festival Grec in Barcelona were a huge hit.
- Friday 22 July 22:00
- From €22 to €30
- Teatre Grec
The Barcelona Symphony Orchestra performs a song cycle for orchestra and two voices with an oriental inspiration. The concert will feature two exceptional singers, supported by a visual artist responsible for digital creation.
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