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'Das Lied von der Erde': Confronting Human Mortality and Finding a Measure of Solace

Like Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, which concludes with a long valediction, Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) seems to feel the shiver of night descending not only on its composer—terminally ill, though still in his 40s—but on a whole culture of huge achievement and grandiloquence. Words from ancient Chinese poets, distant in time and place, come to speak, or to sing, of evening, of autumn, of memory, of death. Solitary voices, tenor and baritone, stand on the edge of a world of sound and look out, confronting human mortality and finding a measure of solace and acceptance.


Excerpt from Mahler’s “Das Trinklied Vom Jammer Der Erde” from Das Lied von der Erde
Siegfried Jerusalem, Tenor / Berlin Philharmonic / James Levine, Conductor | Deutsche Grammophon