The Last of the Romantics - Mahler and fin-de-siècle Vienna
13th - 28th October 2017
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Vienna at the turn of the twentieth century was a vibrant melting pot for music and the arts. Whirling waltzes sat alongside gargantuan symphonies. The height of romanticism had been reached but was nearly exhausted and on the brink of a whole new musical language. Tradition - with Brahms a holder of the torch - was face to face, sometimes uncomfortably, with the daring and modern.
Gustav Mahler was a dominant musical personality: composer and preeminent conductor, steeped in tradition but a champion of the new. During this edition of the Oxford Lieder Festival, Mahler's complete songs with piano will be heard, inviting a fresh look at this 'symphonic' composeer and the enduring place of song in the musical landscape. His choices of texts, wider artistic influences from literature to art to nature and folk music, his Jewish background in a conservative Catholic city, his encounter with Sigmund Freud, his encouragement of fellow composers and more will all be explored in this packed fortnight.
Mahler's Vienna will also be placed in a wider context, with tradition represented in the songs of Schubert and Beethoven, an exploration of Brahms' glorious melodic gifts and intricate text setting, and music by Hugo Wolf (who excoriated Brahms!), Alexander Zemlinsky, Erich Korngold, Joseph Marx and others. Richard Strauss may not have resided in Vienna until 1919, but his musical language was evolving within the Viennese traditions and many of his songs will also be heard. A late-night salon will look ahead to the Second Viennese School, including several of Schoenberg's seminal works. Study days, readings, screenings, workshops and more once again make for an exhilirating Festival that will illuminate the era and inspire audiences afresh and anew.
Friday 13th October
13 Oct 2017 19:30 | The Sheldonian TheatreTHE OPENING-NIGHT CONCERT IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY: The Festival gets offto a stunning start, welcoming a stellar team of musicians to the Sheldonian Theatre. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by Thomas Kemp, perform two of Mahler's great vocal works in chamber orchestrations, created for salon-style performances. A renowned Mahlerian, baritone Dietrich Hensch...
Saturday 14th October
14 Oct 2017 22:00 | New College Ante ChapelMembers of this dynamic young opera company present Schoenberg's ground-breaking work, Pierrot Lunaire, in the evocative surroundings of New College Chapel. They are directed by Finnegan Downie Dear, a former Oxford Lieder Young Artist and now an increasingly renowned conductor.
Sunday 15th October
Monday 16th October
16 Oct 2017 19:30 | Holywell Music RoomAn eagerly-anticipated Festival debut for German baritone Roman Trekel, Schubert's Winterreise is no less striking now than it was for Schubert's friends in 1827, and it has fascinated and influenced so many other song composers, including Mahler.
Tuesday 17th October
17 Oct 2017 19:30 | Holywell Music RoomAlready internationally known, Benjamin Appl is joined by the ‘peerless song accompanist’ (Daily Telegraph) Graham Johnson for a programme of Lieder vom Orient that includes Brahms’s Op.32 songs, settings of Platen and Daumer. The eastern-inspired poetry of Rückert, Heine, Goethe, Geibel and Byron is heard in songs by Schubert, Schumann – whose Rückert settings were su...
Wednesday 18th October
18 Oct 2017 19:30 | Holywell Music RoomConcluding a day of events devoted to the works of Richard Strauss, whose gift for melody and word painting knew no bounds, a stellar team of artists present a wide range of his glorious songs.
Thursday 19th October
19 Oct 2017 19:30 | Holywell Music RoomA detour from our Viennese theme sees this phenomenal pairing of artists perform songs by Schumann (including the Eichendorff Liederkreis) and Hahn, concluding with Fauré's uplifting cycle La bonne Chanson.
Friday 20th October
20 Oct 2017 20:00 | Saint John the EvangelistIt is always a special delight to welcome back stars of the international stage Sarah Connolly and Eugene Asti. Tonight they perform Mahler’s ever-popular Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (‘Songs of a wayfarer’) setting four of his own texts and written in 1884–5. They also include songs by Alma Mahler, Zemlinsky's six settings of Maeterlinck and a group of songs by K...
Saturday 21st October
Sunday 22nd October
22 Oct 2017 19:30 | Holywell Music RoomIn the centenary year of Finnish independence, it seems apt to celebrate the country’s greatest composer, Jean Sibelius, who met Mahler in 1907. Following a selection of Sibelius songs, this exceptional duo of Swedish artists perform Mahler’s profoundly moving Kindertotenlieder.
Monday 23rd October
Tuesday 24th October
24 Oct 2017 20:00 | Saint John the EvangelistThis duo, whose performances never fail to illuminate and inspire, need little introduction. We are delighted to welcome Ian Bostridge back to the Festival after his memorable 2014 Winterreise. Their programme tonight includes songs by Brahms and Wolf, arch-enemies in the Viennese music scene who would never willingly have appeared in the same concert in their own lifetimes but are perhaps not ...
Wednesday 25th October
25 Oct 2017 19:30 | Holywell Music RoomA celebration of Viennese culture would not be complete without some element of dancing! Brahms enjoyed great success during his own lifetime, and his acclaimed two sets of Liebeslieder Walzer ('Love-song Waltzes') have been hugely popular ever since the first of them were heard in 1870. A team of four exceptional singers join Deirdre Brenner and Sholto Kynoch for a performance of these...
Thursday 26th October
26 Oct 2017 19:30 | Holywell Music RoomWorld-famous mezzo Angelika Kirchschlager returns to the Festival to perform songs by Gustav and Alma Mahler, Berg (Op.2), Korngold and Strauss. Korngold’s Op.38 songs are among his finest, and include various references to his famed film scores.
Friday 27th October
27 Oct 2017 22:00 | New College Ante ChapelThe wonderful Russian soprano Ilona Domnich gives a late-night, candle-lit performance of songs by Rachmaninov. Rachmaninov was a prolific song composer, setting texts by numerous authors, but he left Russia on the eve of the Revolution and never wrote another song.
Saturday 28th October
28 Oct 2017 19:30 | Saint John the EvangelistMahler’s settings of the folk poetry of Des Knaben Wunderhorn are among his great achievements and are a wonderfully varied and inspiring way to conclude this year’s Festival. Oxford Lieder’s Artistic Director Sholto Kynoch is joined by sensational soprano Birgid Steinberger and renowned baritone Stephan Loges, in a programme that also includes settings of the Wunderhorn poems...