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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.

Details correct at time of publication

  • Wagner
    Siegfried Idyll
    Mahler
    Das Lied von der Erde (arr. Schoenberg)
  • Tenor
    Stuart Skelton
    Mezzo-soprano
    Christianne Stotijn
    Director & Violin
    Richard Tognetti AO
    Featuring
    Australian Chamber Orchestra