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Gustav Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder – Songs on the Death of Children

Sorry this is so late for something that might be considered Saturday Art at fdl.  Mark from Ireland’s short yet stirring Saturday Chorale was fitting enough for reflection on last Friday’s grade school tragedy.  But this work needs to be heard now.

One of Austrian composer Gustav Mahler’s most poignant creations is his song cycle based on poems of Friedrich Rückert,  Kindertotenlieder.  The five songs are set for mezzo-soprano or baritone voice and orchestra.  Written between 1901 and 1904, they represent the essence of Mahler’s fascination with innocence vs. fate, with sorrowful longings interspersed with outbursts of anguish.

There are a number of notable performances of Kindertotenlieder on Youtube and elsewhere on the web, but these resonant renditions by Matthias Goerne, with the Gustav Mahler Yugenorchester, directed by Jonathan Nott, at the 2009 BBC Proms concerts, contain English subtitles.

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

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Alaska progressive activist, notorious composer and firedoglake devotee.