How can one explain Sehnsucht? Why is the music of Alma Mahler included on the album? How did Wolf, Schoenberg and Berg approach words and music when composing?
For their new recital album, Barbara Hannigan and Reinbert de Leeuw made a series of conversational videos to address some of the themes in Vienna, Fin de Siècle.
Alma Mahler’s music
Text and music
On Vienna: Fin de Siècle, the duo explores the roots of modern music with composers who went on to lead a musical revolution: Arnold Schoenberg, Hugo Wolf, Anton Webern, Alexander Zemlinsky, Alma Mahler and Alban Berg.
The album presents a vision of Vienna at the height of late Romanticism, when music was at its most lush and decadent, at the edge of tonality and full of voluptuous beauty. Featuring composers for whom text and song were inseparable, Vienna: Fin de Siècle captures the rich and intense moment before the disruption of the harmonic language of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hannigan and de Leeuw have long championed the exquisite repertoire from this époque.
Reinbert de Leeuw, who founded the Schoenberg Ensemble in 1974, comments: “For me, this is perhaps the most extraordinary period in music history, those 10-15 years…what composers could do with the infinite possibilities of finding double meaning in harmony and dissonance, dissolving together into such an incredibly rich language, full of possibility.”
Barbara Hannigan’s musical collaboration with Reinbert de Leeuw dates back to 1999. During almost 20 years of close music-making and friendship, they have performed a wealth of repertoire across 14 countries. The critical and public reception to their performances of this Viennese repertoire – which they have performed for over 10 years and toured all over Europe and North America – has been extraordinary.
Vienna: Fin de Siècle is Hannigan’s second recording with Reinbert de Leeuw, having previously released Erik Satie’s Socrate, to widespread acclaim.