I’m hard at work studying Mahler’s masterpiece, Das Lied von der Erde (in Arnold Schoenberg’s reduction) for our concert with the Rose City Chamber Orchestra on February 3rd. With Mahler’s vocal music very much on my mind, and with some new video functionality on my website, I thought now might be a good time to try a new kind of series on the blog.
Over the next several days, I’m going to try creating an integrated series of blog posts and video uploads on Mahler’s great song cycle, Kindertotenlieder. The video content is from a concert I did with the wonderful Mexican baritone Jesus Suaste and the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra that was filmed by Mexican TV.
I’m not sure what all of the posts will look like. A few years back, I came across a wonderful series of essays on Kindertotenlieder by Mahler expert Mitch Friedfeld, who has graciously given my permission to quote them here. I must admit, Mitch’s writing on the piece is lucid and nearly definitive, so I’m not at all sure I’ll be able to add much of value. In fact, I had originally thought I would simply pair my films with his essays, but I always find that things evolve in unpredictable ways on Avftp. Expect a lot of Mitch and a bit of Ken.
Studying and performing these songs was one of the most enriching and deeply transformative experiences I’ve had as a musician. It is my hope that this series might just open a couple of pairs of ears to them who’ve previously been scared off by the title. Far from being morbid, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder is a work of true spirituality. It is a piece which deals with the most tragic of subject matter in a way that is profoundly healing.
I’d like to make a special plea that listeners to these works, both first timers and those of you who’ve known them for years, might take a moment to share your reactions to the pieces via the comment function.
Okay, roll film…
c. 2006 Kenneth Woods