Mahler's Song of the Earth

Friday 29th May - 8:00pm
Llewellyn Hall
Australian Chamber Orchestra


Featuring Stuart Skelton and Christianne Stotijn in an enlightened performance of Mahler’s beloved song cycle.

In an exclusive appearance, the Australian recognised as one of the world’s greatest living heldentenors, Stuart Skelton, and Dutch mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn, will perform Mahler’s symphony for two vocalists and orchestra, Das Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth), arranged for chamber ensemble by Schoenberg.

This expressive and incredibly personal song-symphony, whose alternating movements are based on translations of ancient Chinese poetry, emerged from a traumatic period for Mahler and is not for the faint-hearted. Skelton, at the peak of his powers, and the renowned Stotijn, are the ideal performers to bring its virtuosity and drama to life.

Schoenberg worshipped Mahler and was attracted to the uncharacteristic transparency and lightness of Song of the Earth. His arrangement for chamber orchestra is extraordinary, and some may even argue better than the original, with Mahler’s intimate and delicate textures more emphatically revealed.

For these performances, Tognetti restores Mahler’s original trumpet and mandolin parts for added authenticity. Impressively, Schoenberg’s ability to “tighten the screws” of an already commanding composition helped emphasise its intellectual and spiritual underpinnings, and heightened the yin and yang of its independent, powerful voices.

The program opens with Wagner’s symphonic poem for chamber orchestra, Siegfried Idyll, a sublimely moving work written in celebration of the birthday of his beloved wife, Cosima.

Richard Tognetti – Director

Stuart Skelton – Tenor

Christianne Stotijn - Mezzo-Soprano

Australian Chamber Orchestra

WAGNER     Siegfried Idyll                
MAHLER     Das Lied von der Erde (arr. Schoenberg)