“Lorraine Hunt Lieberson sings Mahler (July 7 1860 – May 18 1911)
This Wednesday is the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great Gustav Mahler, who was born in Kaliste, Bohemia on July 7, 1860. His late-Romantic musical idiom was a link between the Romantic Era and the modernism to come later. His music was under-appreciated during his lifetime, but it underwent a revival starting mid 20th century. Today his symphonies and his songs are considered a cornerstone of the standard repertoire. To remember this important anniversary, orchestras around the world are programming Mahler, and special celebrations are taking place this week in Austria and Hungary. Our own TSO is unfortunately in hiatus, but the Toronto Summer Music Festival is calling this year’s theme Song of the Earth, and will perform the chamber version of Das Lied von der Erde (2) on August 7. To celebrate Mahler’s birthday, I’ve chosen the fifth song of his transcendent Ruckert Lieder, “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” (1), sung by the late, great mezzo Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. She tragically died at the much too young age of 52 from breast cancer on July 3, 2006. To many, “Ich bin der Welt” is the most inspired and deeply moving of all Mahler songs. Heard here in a live performance by Hunt-Lieberson accompanied by Roger Vignoles, it takes on an almost unbearable poignancy.”
*(1) “I have lost track of the world”, set to song by Mahler. For an English translation of the German lyrics, see
(2) Four of Li Bai’s poems were used by Mahler in this work.