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RECITALIST - Leider Lounge with Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago

  • Grainger Room Symphony Center 220 South Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60604 USA (map)

In observance of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice Day that ended the First World War, CAIC's Fall Lieder Lounge celebrates the many songs set by Austrian composer Gustav Mahler from the timeless collection of 19th-century German folk poetry, Des Knaben Wunderhorn  ("Youth's Magic Horn") in the years immediately preceding that conflict -- intertwined with classic poetry from the World War I generation, from poets both celebrated and forgotten.

Curated by former Chicago Opera Theater conductor Alexander Platt (Death in Venice, Nixon in China), the concert will feature Platt with soprano Emily Birsan, mezzo-soprano Julie Miller and baritone Ricardo Jose Rivera, the musicians of the Caroga Arts Collective, and the actor, writer and Iraq War veteran Benjamin Busch (Dust to Dust), who will read poems from British, German, and American poets of the WWI era. Wolfgang Renz, arranger for members of the Berlin Philharmonic, has specially produced a new set of instrumentations specifically for chamber orchestra, in order to be performed in the intimate grandeur of Symphony Center's Grainger Ballroom -- an historic, turn-of-the-century space in which Mahler himself would have felt at home. 

Mahler's songs, which resonate with the everyday life of the soldier, will chime with a specially-devised array of WW I poetry to form a truly unique and intimate experience of words and music -- neither overtly pacifist nor patriotic, but rather commemorating, in the immortal words of poet-martyr Wilfred Owen, the theme of "war, and the pity of war." 


Gustav Mahler

selections from Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Emily Birsan, soprano
Julie Miller, mezzo-soprano
Ricardo Jose Rivera, baritone
Benjamin Busch, narrator
Caroga Arts Ensemble
Alexander Platt, curator & conductor

Download a digital copy of the program booklet