Renée Fleming returns to Carnegie Hall on January
11, 2011, accompanied by pianist Hartmut Höll, to perform a program
of songs by Schoenberg, Zemlinsky, Korngold, Richard Strauss, and Brad
Brad Mehldau's song cycle The Book of Hours was commissioned
by Carnegie Hall for Renée Fleming and premiered here in 2005; Ms.
Fleming had been a great fan of the composer's Elegiac Cycle
based on Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and took steps to
help bring more Rilke-inspired works into being. Mehldau composed these
songs over a two year period, and considers them "the most exhaustive
project I’ve ever done, in terms of sheer blood, sweat, and tears."
The song "His caring is a nightmare to us" records the young Rilke's
profound enmity to the dogmatic, patriarchal, man-made entity that
humanity dubs "God." We perhaps hear both the desire for genuine
spiritual experience and the immense weight of our punitive
constructions of God in the succession of bell-like, ethereal, treble
sounds in the postlude, followed by crushing darkness.
caring is a nightmare to us" from Brad Mehldau's The Book of Hours:
Love Poems to GodRenée Fleming, Soprano; Brad Mehldau, Piano | Nonesuch Records