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Music for Peace: Schubert’s “Winter Journey”

Sat February 1, 2014 @ 7:30 pm EST


Special Winter Presentation

Schubert Schubert’s Greatest Song Cycle “Die Winterreise” (Winter Journey) performed by the renowned Viennese baritone Georg Lehner and Victor Rosenbaum, piano. 

Benefits Massachusetts Peace Action Education Fund; part of the Music for Peace Series. Tickets $25 in advance for Mass. Peace Action members, $35 for non-members, $10 for students, $35 at the door. Series of 3 concerts: member $65, non-member $80, student $25. Write check to “Massachusetts Peace Action Education Fund” and mail to 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 or purchase online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/473596.

The audience is invited to join the musicians and Peace Action board members after the concert.

Georg Lehner started his professional career as an oboist in the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic, but soon turned to singing, studying with Hilde Rössel-Majdan and Walter Berry.  Lehner has performed at the renowned opera houses in Vienna, Geneva and Rome, as well as  in several TV productions in Madrid.   His engagements as an opera, operetta, lied and oratorio singer have taken him to Japan, the USA, North America and most European countries. ??He has appeared at many festivals, including the Rockport Chamber Music Festival in the U.S.,  the Mozart Weeks in Salzburg, the Schleswig Holstein Festival, and the Salzburg Festival, performing in lieder recitals, as well as in masses and concert oratorios. ??Lehner has appeared in Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion with the Bochum Symphony Orchestra, Brahms’ Requiem with the Vienna Symphony Baroque Ensemble, and Elijah at the Haydn Festival at the Esterházy Castle in Eisenstadt. The Vatican invited him to perform in Mozart’s Coronation Mass in December 2005 and from 2006 to 2008 he performed on the Grand New Year’s Tour in Sweden.  He sang the role of Jesus in Bach’s St Matthew’Passion at the Vienna Music Association, and appeared in Mozart’s Requiem at the Haydn Festival at the Esterházy Castle in Eisenstadt. 

In recent seasons, Lehner has sung the roles of Fiorillo in The Barber of Seville and Dancairo in Carmen at the Volksoper Wien as well as the role of the Minister in the operetta Wiener Blut at the Luisenburg Festival in Germany and? at the International Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt.   In 2011 and 2012 he sang in a tour of Die Fledermaus (Frank and Falke), that included performances in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Denmark.   In 2012 he performed  with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra under maestro Cornelius Meister in the Vienna Konzerthaus. In the same year, Lehner founded a concert series celebrating the Viennese tradition of song recitals in the spirit of Franz Schubert, the Schubertiade im Achten.  At the opening concert Lehner performed with Angelika Kirchschlager, Birgid Steinberger and Norbert Ernst. Since 2004, he has appeared each year at the Dubrovnik Opera Festival Tino Pattiera.  Lehner also teaches at the University of Vienna, and is the vocal coach for the Vienna University Choir and soloists.  In addition, he has given master classes in Germany, Austria, and in Japan.  

Winterreise is Schubert’s settings of poems by Wilhelm Müller.  

 The twenty-four poems of Winterreise were written in 1821 and 1822 and published in full in 1824.  The first twelve poems were published separately in 1823.  Schubert made his settings of the poems in 1827.

Winterreise is primarily about feelings and atmosphere, but there is nevertheless a story, albeit told in a fragmented narrative.  A young man, the hero (or anti-hero) of the poems, arrives in an idyllic village in May (Good Night).  There he befriends a family of mother, father and daughter and is invited to live with them (Good Night).  He falls in love with the daughter and his love is returned, or so he is led to believe (Benumbed).  However, the daughter rejects him to marry a wealthy suitor with the approval of her parents (The Vane).  It is now winter and the hero leaves his adopted home in the dead of night, writing a farewell message to his beloved (Good Night).  As he leaves the town crows shower him with snow from the roofs (Looking Back) and he begins a painful journey, constantly tortured by memories of his past happiness (Frozen Tears, On the River, The Watercourse). As he leaves the town he is joined by a raven, possibly symbolic of a death wish (The Raven).  Eventually he arrives at another town (Solitude) where it seems that he stays for some time as he writes of the post arriving there (The Post).  The cycle ends with a particularly bleak image.  An organ-grinder or hurdy-gurdy man has a pitch near the village where he plies his trade ignored by the villagers and harassed by dogs.  It is ironic that in this final poem the poet asks if the hurdy-gurdy man will set the poet’s songs to music, an invitation that was ultimately accepted by Schubert. — notes by Barry Mitchell 


Sat February 1, 2014
7:30 pm EST
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Massachusetts Peace Action Education Fund
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Harvard-Epworth Methodist Church
1555 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
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