This is Lyric Fest’s first program dedicated exclusively to German Lied… and it feels like coming home. We chose Vienna to narrow the field a bit, for the field was stretching out in all directions.
Vienna, birth place to Schubert and Webern, home to Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss, Mahler, Wolf, Schoenberg, supplies no want of songs, and even dishes up a fair amount of angst (that necessary ingredient for all great art). For, this fascinating hub of creativity manages somehow to be simultaneously both friendly and hostile to its artists. Mahler couldn’t compose there, but had to leave town to write. He used the words of Rückert who said it best: “Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder!” Sung here by Waltraud Meier.
“Don’t look at my songs!” (I’m paraphrasing here…) “When they are done – then you may, like the bees, taste the honey.”
But in the end, what really got our imagination fired was – REALLY! what must it have been like to live in this amazing city? At any one time in history, you could encounter Brahms in a beer hall or Mahler in a coffee shop. Or, imagine your delight if say, you were invited to the evening’s Schubertiad where the Schubert would be premiering his new song “Im Frühling” – Here it is with pianist Sviatoslav Richter and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in a very touching and intimate rendition. They are in a room where Schubert probably sat.