SONG OF THE EARTH (Das Lied von der Erde)
Referring to the tragedies that befell Mahler and changed his life entirely in the fall of 1907, Bruno Walter wrote: »Death, to whose mysteries his thoughts and perceptions fled so often, suddenly came to the fore. The world and life now dwell in the ominous shadow of its proximity.« That fall the translation of Bethge's Chinese Flute was published, after which Mahler composed a new and untitled piece of music in the summer of 1908.
Mahler selected seven poems from a paraphrased translation of an 8th-century Tang Dynasty collection of poems, which in many ways resembled late 19th-century German poetry and shaped them into an allegory of fleeting existence merging into eternity. Mahler's Song of the Earth is imbued with an oriental flavour, exposing such dynamic yin-yang opposites as night – day, autumn – spring, life – death, intoxication – meditation. Also characteristic are the structure of five parts and anhemitonic pentatonic scale, which is the most frequent concept of tonal organisation in Asian music, and the composer also relied on the improvisational practice of heterophony (»indistinct unison«, as named by Adorno).
Mahler's reluctance to find the title for his final composition probably stemmed from his superstitious fear of the Ninth Symphony – the last in the genre for both Beethoven and Bruckner. In the winter of 1909/1910, he, however, entitled his work Das Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth) – on the same sheet of paper on which he assigned the dreaded number of nine to the symphony he had completed the previous summer.
Song of the Earth by Renato Zanella is a dance performance in neoclassical style. The mystical interpretation of a journey into the past reminds us to rediscover the value of nature and all the values we have lost in the present day. Local and visiting opera soloists will also apper in the performance; the Orchestra of the Ljubljana Opera will be led by Maestro Kevin Rhodes.