Friday, September 6, 2013

Gratuitous Friday – Christian Gerhaher Sings Mahler

Christian Gerhaher has recorded Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer at least twice commercially: once in the original piano version with long-time accompanist Gerold Huber, and once in the Schoenberg transcription with the Hyperion EnsembleHe also has performed the song cycle numerous times with piano or orchestra. Here is a live performance with the Mahler Youth Orchestra.

Now, Herr Gerhaher has an album due out (I guess it is out in some parts of the world) with Kent Nagano and more of Mahler's orchestral songs, including of course, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen

Even more exciting is his upcoming performance of the cycle this Sunday with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the Digital Concert Hall site. Herr Gerhaher will also participate in a performance of Janacek's Mass. It should be an exciting program.
For today we have one song from the Arnold Schoenberg's chamber arrangement of Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: Ich hab’ ein glühend Messer. It’s a very Christian Gerhaher kind of song. I like the grittiness of the “Salon Orchestra,” especially in the opening of the song. The following program note about this arrangement is excerpted from this site.
At the end of the Great War, Vienna was a defeated city and Mahler’s disciple, Arnold Schoenberg created a Society for Private Musical Performance to revive musical life. The society did not have sufficient funds, so ensemble transcriptions of orchestral works were often made. Schoenberg reduced Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer for a concert in 1920, restoring the intimacy of the original piano version, while preserving many colours found in its later orchestral score.
Next up is a performance of the cycle on Sunday with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the Digital Concert Hall Site. Herr Gerhaher will also participat in a performance of Janacek's Mass. It should be an exciting program.

The music player and the text appear after the jump:

Ich hab’ ein glühend Messer,
Ein Messer in meiner Brust,
O weh! Das schneid’t so tief
In jede Freud’ und jede Lust.
Ach, was ist das für ein böser Gast!
Nimmer hält er Ruh’, nimmer hält er Rast,
Nicht bei Tag, noch bei Nacht, wenn ich schlief.
O Weh!
Wenn ich in dem Himmel seh’,
Seh’ ich zwei blaue Augen stehn.
O Weh! Wenn ich im gelben Felde geh’,
Seh’ ich von fern das blonde Haar
Im Winde wehn.
O Weh!
Wenn ich aus dem Traum auffahr’
Und höre klingen uhr silbern’ Lachen,
O Weh!
Ich wollt’, ich läg auf der schwarzen Bahr’,
Könnt’ nimmer die Augen aufmachen!

An English translation can be found here.  I came across it first at Thomas Hampson's website, which is a great Lieder resource.

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