Renée Fleming performs Brad Mehldau's 'His caring is a nightmare to us'
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 Mehldau.
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.
"His caring is a nightmare to us" from Brad Mehldau's The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
Renée Fleming, Soprano; Brad Mehldau, Piano | Nonesuch Records