Wednesday, February 22, 2006

James Levine To Lead The Boston Symphony Orchestra And Stellar Soloists and Chorus In Schoenberg's Monumental Masterpiece "Gurrelieder"

Tomorrow through Saturday, February 23 to 25, James Levine will conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus (John Oliver, conductor), and an absolutely stellar line-up of soloists, in a rare performance of Arnold Schoenberg's early monumental masterpiece Gurrelieder -- one of the major orchestral-choral statements of the 20th century. The Gurrelieder -- which requires a huge and expensive orchestra and group of singers (up to 400 musicians) and which stands virtually as a bridge between the late Romantic and the modern eras of Western music -- has only been performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Symphony Hall Boston once before, in March 1979.

This mammoth work harkens back to the sound-worlds of Wagner and Mahler, and sets texts by the Danish poet Jens Peter Jacobsen -- whose work merged romanticism with traces of proto-expressionism.

The performance will feature the world-class vocal soloists Karita Mattila as Tove, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson as the Wood Dove, Johan Botha as Waldemar, Paul Groves as Klaus Narr [the Fool], Albert Dohmen as the Peasant, and Waldemar Kmentt as the Narrator.

For further information and for an MP3 Audio sample, see:

Also, please see the Boston Symphony Orchestra's innovative "On-Line Conservatory":

Self-Portrait by Arnold Schoenberg painted at about the same time (1900-01) that he composed the music to his monumental orchestral-choral Gurrelieder -- based upon expressionist-tinged Danish Romantic poetry. Schoenberg lived from 1874 to 1951, and spent the final part of his life in Los Angeles, California where he (and Igor Stravinsky) helped first put that city on the world classical music map.

Image credit: Arnold Schoenberg Center, Austria, Vienna


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