Gustav Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde

After reading Hans Bethge’s The Chinese Flute, Gustav Mahler was struck by the depiction of earthly beauty and chose seven verses to set in Das Lied von der Erde, (The Song of the Earth).

Mahler composed the work for tenor, alto and orchestra, between 1908 and 1909, utilizing, uniquely, “Chinese” motifs throughout the music.

This 2006 recording from the Smithsonian Chamber Players and Santa Fe Pro Musica features the 1921 chamber version by Arnold Schoenberg.

During the summer before he composed the Song of the Earth, Mahler was forced to resign as director of the Vienna Court Opera, his daughter Maria died of scarlet fever, and he himself was given the diagnosis of congenital heart failure.

He considered “Das Lied” to be, “probably the most personal composition I have created thus far.”

The featured soloists on the recording are tenor John Elwes and baritone Russell Braun.

And Kenneth Slowik conducts the ensemble with incredible sensitivity and amazingly beautiful sound.

Our quick pick this week is from violinist Lisa Batiashvili.

She performs the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61 with the German Chamber Philharmonic of Bremen and Sulkhan Tsinsadze’s Miniatures with the Georgian Chamber Orchestra.

Music Heard On This Episode

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): Das Lied von der Erde
John Elwes, t.; Russell Braun, bar.; Kenneth Slowik/Smithsonian Chamber Players and Santa Fe Pro Musica — Mahler/Schoenberg: Das Lied von der Erde (Dorian, 2007)
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album cover
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): Das Lied von der Erde
John Elwes, t.; Russell Braun, bar.; Kenneth Slowik/Smithsonian Chamber Players and Santa Fe Pro Musica — Mahler/Schoenberg: Das Lied von der Erde (Dorian, 2007)
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album cover
Sulkhan Tsintsadze (1925-1991): Miniatures: Mzkemsuri
Lisa Batiashvili, vln.; Georgian Chamber Orchestra — Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Sulkhan Tsintsadze: Miniatures (Sony Classics, 2009)
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album cover
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61: Rondo. Allegro
Lisa Batiashvili, vln.; — Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Sulkhan Tsintsadze: Miniatures (Sony Classics, 2009)
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album cover
David Wood

Originally from Leavenworth, Kansas, David Wood moved to Bloomington in 2005. He received his Bachelor of Music from Kansas State University, and his Master of Music from the University of North Texas. He studied ensemble direction at the Jacobs School of Music's Early Music Institute and joined WFIU in 2006 as an announcer. In 2008 he became WFIU's Music Director and also served as Art Bureau Chief from 2008-2013. David’s interests include Irish music and language (particularly traditional singing), music and religion, running, the outdoors, and, of course, classical music!

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