Daniil Trifonov, this season’s Artist in Residence with the Berliner Philharmoniker, is not often heard as a lieder accompanist. The star pianist will demonstrate that he has a superb command of this role as well, however, in a song recital with baritone Matthias Goerne. “Goerne’s powerful vocal stature ... provided a sharp contrast to Trifonov’s versatile elegance. A great moment with two strong individualists, who interacted with unerring certainty,” Der Spiegel wrote in praise of the extraordinary duo, who have appeared at the Salzburg Festival and Carnegie Hall. The programme is not for the faint-hearted, however: it is about pain, desperation, unfulfilled love and yearning for death.
The Four Songs op. 2, based on poems by Friedrich Hebbel and Alfred Mombert, which the 25-year-old Alban Berg composed during his years of study with Arnold Schoenberg, sing of sleep – as a metaphor for death. The young composer, who already pushed the boundaries of tonality in this work, brilliantly succeeded in combining music and text into a coherent whole. The Four Serious Songs, in which Johannes Brahms, anticipating his own end, set texts from the Old Testament, also revolve around death and the transience of life. Between these two works, Matthias Goerne and Daniil Trifonov will present Robert Schumann’s song cycle Dichterliebe(A Poet’s Life), which is regarded as one of the most important contributions to the Romantic art song repertoire and describes the painful experience of unrequited love. Also on the programme are songs by Hugo Wolf and Dmitri Shostakovich. In their works, both composers set verses by a poet who is better known as a sculptor: Michelangelo Buonarroti, whose poetry conveys a highly personal view of love, life and death.