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Tickets are available here.

Duration Part 1: approx. 30 minutes, then 45 minutes break.
Duration part 2: about 60 minutes

During the break and after the concert there is a possibility to have a dinner


Graindelavoix (conductor: Björn Schmelzer) opens the festival with ancient but highly modern sounds. Then we dive into the depths of longing with Gustav Mahler’s “Lied von der Erde”.


Part 1

The name «Graindelavoix» speaks of the grain in the voice, of a very physical graininess – and indeed the interpretations of early music with the vocal ensemble sometimes sound roughened and harshly intense. Like music of today. This is a central idea that occupies Björn Schmelzer and his ensemble. Modernity – or whatever we want to call it – appeared long before so-called modernism, indeed it was probably always a part in the artistic ripple effect. «We don’t need contemporary art to encounter the contemporary,» Schmelzer says. Early music carries a core that is not historical, but transhistorical. We can find it, for example, in the highly complex chants from around 1400, which are always worth discovering anew. It is an «ars subtilior», a refined art, as musicology called it: unheard of!


Part 2

Gustav Mahler’s “Song of the Earth”, composed in 1908, is one of his greatest works, actually a song symphony, based on Hans Bethge’s free translations of Chinese poems. The composer did not live to see the premiere. It is a radical work that tells of the intoxication of life and transience – and of farewell. “He put all his suffering and fear into this work,” wrote Alma Mahler.

The conductor Bruno Walter recounts: “When I brought it [the autograph] back to him, almost unable to speak a word about it, he opened the ‘Abschied’ and said: ‘What do you think? Is this at all bearable? Won’t people kill themselves after it?’ Then he pointed to the rhythmic difficulties and asked jokingly, ‘Do you have any idea how to conduct this? I don’t!'”

Arnold Schoenberg began to arrange the “Song of the Earth” for chamber ensemble, but left the work; the Dutch conductor and composer Reinbert de Leeuw arranged the work for chamber orchestra shortly before his death in 2020.


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