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“A wonderful work!!!!”

18 JUL 2011

published in: Concert, General

Pierre Boulez, Photo: J. Henry Fair
When Alban Berg encountered Gustav Mahler’s work for the first time, on the occasion of the belated Vienna world premiere of the fairy-tale cantata Das klagende Lied on February 17, 1901, he was wildly enthusiastic: “A wonderful work!!!!” And although Berg, who went on to become a Schoenberg student, had not even encountered the “contemporary” Mahler in this work, he became one of the greatest Mahler admirers of his time.

The centerpiece of this year’s first Vienna Philharmonic program at the Salzburg Festival is Mahler’s Das klagende Lied in the 1898/99 version. It will be preceded by the Lulu Suite as well as the concert aria Der Wein by Alban Berg. The Vienna Philharmonic will be conducted by Pierre Boulez, one of the exceptional composers and conductors of the 20th century – and with him, an excellent cast of singers: Anna Prohaska, Dorothea Röschmann, Elisabeth Kulman and Johan Botha.

In his preface to the pocket score, Pierre Boulez rightfully called Das klagende Lied a piece of “imaginary theater with scenic effects applied to the concert form”. A “proud queen” promises to marry the man who finds a red flower in the woods. Two brothers set out; the younger finds the flower and lies down to rest under a willow tree. When the older one finds his sleeping brother, he kills him, steals the flower and sets out for the castle…In conversation with Wolfgang Schaufler, Pierre Boulez recounts his earliest experiences with Mahler and his very personal approach to the work of this composer, who was so seminal for 20th century music.

Tickets for the concert can be ordered here.