Sunday, 20 February 2011
Sunday Night is... Bernstein and Mahler and Baker
Leonard Bernstein talking, hypnotically, about Mahler's Das Lied Von Der Erde, while smoking. God, he does talk marvellously and he holds that picture frame
Followed by Janet Baker singing Das Abschied (The Farewell) from the sequence, complete with words and translation:
I have been slow coming round to large-scale orchestral colour and German song (OK Austrian-Bohemian in Mahler's case). Got here via Richard Strauss. I preferred, probably still do, chamber music. Those clear distinct lines. It's like preferring Florentine to Venetian painting, or Vermeer to Courbet, or Noh Theatre to Hollywood spectacular. But now I seem to hear something extraordinarily fresh in the sheer tidal power of the song plus the orchestra. The grand self-pity of the melancholy leave-taking seems that much more real, that much rounder. It just shows one never stops learning, especially when learning is such pleasure. Just play Baker over and over.