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With special thanks to Jane and Michael Eisner, The Eisner Foundation, Jane and Gerald Katcher, and Leonard and Judy Lauder. The Allison and Warren Kanders Sunday Concert Series
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BERNSTEIN: Serenade, after Plato's Symposium
MAHLER: Das Lied von der Erde
Violinist and AMFS alumna Midori returns to the Festival to celebrate the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with a performance of the composer’s Serenade, after Plato’s Symposium, a musical tribute to the ancient Greek philosopher’s exploration of love and desire, and the work that catapulted her to fame in 1986. In a performance of the work conducted by Bernstein himself, she broke the E string on two different violins, each time swapping it for a fresh instrument and finishing out the work triumphantly. The next day, The New York Times headline read, “Girl, 14, Conquers Tanglewood with 3 Violins.” Midori made her solo debut with the New York Philharmonic at th;e age of 11 and has been a leading artist of her generation for more than 35 years.
This powerhouse program also includes Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth), which Bernstein called Mahler’s “greatest symphony." Mahler composed this work for orchestra and two solo voices during a particularly dark period in his life, when he was mourning the death of his four-year-old daughter and coming to terms with his fatal heart condition. The text for Das Lied von der Erde is based on a German translation of The Chinese Flute, a collection of Tang dynasty poems that touch on both the transience of life and the continued renewal of nature. Bruno Walter, Mahler’s friend and former assistant, conducted the premiere of Das Lied von der Erde in November 1911, six months after Mahler’s death at the age of 50.