Neue Lied, Part 8: “Finding an ending that isn’t trivial”

I am calling this concert ‘a great experiment’. Indeed it has been a journey for all of us: the composers who invested their talents in writing, for myself and Daniel Lockert who worked very hard at creating worthy interpretations, to my alte lieder pairing project which took me on a historical journey of lieder, and last but not least to the audience members who will be listening with critical ears. It is our hope that this experiment is a success: that neue lieder will, in fact, become a new genre that composers will be eager to explore.

The final piece I have chosen for this concert is from Strauss’ iconic opera “Capriccio”. Although it isn’t a lied per se (although we like to say many German operas are rife with lieds of sorts), it is a fitting ending to a concert that juxtaposes poetry with composers. In ‘Capriccio’, the heroine Madeline is torn between two lovers: a poet and a composer. In this final scene she debates this choice in a passionate inner monologue. Strauss left the opera with an unanswered question and humor: we never know whom she chooses (her final words are “is there an ending which isn’t trivial?” immediately followed by her butler’s words “madame, your soup is served”. I admit, it is absolutely ironic and hilarious, but embedded in such beauty…Oh, that Strauss…

So we leave you with this: poetry inspires composers. Music brings life to poetry. We need both, and that is not trivial….

Lieder is alive.


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