On Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer

Synopsis

“Welcome to the world of Mahler,” says baritone Thomas Hampson, the star of the documentary.  He is explaining how lyrics can say one thing while the music tells us something else.  A world of contradictions.  Just like life!  Just like the great collection of symphonies and songs that were to follow this, Mahler’s first masterpiece.  In Songs of a Wayfarer we are introduced to a 24-year-old opera conductor who is about to make his mark as a great composer.

The four extraordinary songs of this cycle tell a story to which everyone can relate:  Desperately in love with a beautiful woman, the hero’s affections are not reciprocated.   At the wedding of his beloved to another, the protagonist must begin to move on.  Easier said than done because he is obsessed.  Images of her infiltrate his every waking moment—and finally, even in sleep!  Traumatized by his loss, he wishes for his own death.

In many ways Mahler’s life as a composer begins here.  The pattern of falling in love with his opera singers, his ability to channel despair into artistic creation, the composition of works that transform angst and uncertainty into hope and resolve, will continue to shape his music for years.  The style of the composer is also established with his approach to melody, harmony, instrumentation, use of citation and sounds of nature.

Drawing on dramatizations, expert commentary and a performance by master Mahler interpreter Thomas Hampson, On Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer explores not only a world famous song cycle, but the origins of an early 20th-century giant.

Synopsis


Welcome to the world of Mahler,” says baritone Thomas Hampson, the star of the documentary.  He is explaining how lyrics can say one thing while the music tells us something else.  A world of contradictions.  Just like life!  Just like the great collection of symphonies and songs that were to follow this, Mahler’s first masterpiece.  In Songs of a Wayfarer we are introduced to a 24-year-old opera conductor who is about to make his mark as a great composer.

The four extraordinary songs of this cycle tell a story to which everyone can relate:  Desperately in love with a beautiful woman, the hero’s affections are not reciprocated.   At the wedding of his beloved to another, the protagonist must begin to move on.  Easier said than done because he is obsessed.  Images of her infiltrate his every waking moment—and finally, even in sleep!  Traumatized by his loss, he wishes for his own death.

In many ways Mahler’s life as a composer begins here.  The pattern of falling in love with his opera singers, his ability to channel despair into artistic creation, the composition of works that transform angst and uncertainty into hope and resolve, will continue to shape his music for years.  The style of the composer is also established with his approach to melody, harmony, instrumentation, use of citation and sounds of nature.

Drawing on dramatizations, expert commentary and a performance by master Mahler interpreter Thomas Hampson, On Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer explores not only a world famous song cycle, but the origins of an early 20th-century giant.

 

Synopsis

 

“Welcome to the world of Mahler,” says baritone Thomas Hampson, the star of the documentary.  He is explaining how lyrics can say one thing while the music tells us something else.  A world of contradictions.  Just like life!  Just like the great collection of symphonies and songs that were to follow this, Mahler’s first masterpiece.  In Songs of a Wayfarer we are introduced to a 24-year-old opera conductor who is about to make his mark as a great composer.

The four extraordinary songs of this cycle tell a story to which everyone can relate:  Desperately in love with a beautiful woman, the hero’s affections are not reciprocated.   At the wedding of his beloved to another, the protagonist must begin to move on.  Easier said than done because he is obsessed.  Images of her infiltrate his every waking moment—and finally, even in sleep!  Traumatized by his loss, he wishes for his own death.

In many ways Mahler’s life as a composer begins here.  The pattern of falling in love with his opera singers, his ability to channel despair into artistic creation, the composition of works that transform angst and uncertainty into hope and resolve, will continue to shape his music for years.  The style of the composer is also established with his approach to melody, harmony, instrumentation, use of citation and sounds of nature.

Drawing on dramatizations, expert commentary and a performance by master Mahler interpreter Thomas Hampson, On Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer explores not only a world famous song cycle, but the origins of an early 20th-century giant.

Commentators

Thomas Hampson
Stephen Hefling
Caroline Kita
Catherine Keller
Morten Solvik
Sybille Werner

Thomas Hampson
Stephen Hefling
Caroline Kita
Catherine Keller
Morten Solvik
Sybille Werner

Artists

Thomas Hampson
Neeme Järvi
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra

Thomas Hampson
Neeme Järvi
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra

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