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.