Song of the Day: July 2

(from Michael Barrett)

The fourth installment of our week-long celebration of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson’s artistry continues with the Mahler Rueckert Lieder. Here is “Liebst du um Schoenheit”. It is the chestnut of the cycle; short, rich, soaring and perfect. Mahler really sets the same phrase four times. The text poses a supposition, followed by a reply. “If you love beauty, don’t love me. Love the sun. She has golden hair.” Four of these phrases with essentially the same music, except for exquisite changes in harmony and meter on the key words. Leonard Bernstein used to say this was Mahler musically asking a series of Talmudic questions. The final phrase is the best and perhaps most sincere payoff of any love song I know. Thank you Gustave. Thank you Lorraine.
Listen here:  

The ensemble: Stefan Hersh, Cenovia Cummins, Roberta Freier, Lisa Fako, violin; Leslie Tomkins, Paul Hersh, viola; Tanya Tomkins, Dorothy Lawson, cello; Robert Black, bass; Timothy Day, flute; Chris Cullen, Eric Thomas, clarinet; Marilyn Coyne, oboe; John Steinmetz, bassoon; Neil DeLand, french horn; Lisa Rytting, harp; Michael Barrett, conducting