Long-planned by the composer, this symphony is dedicated to… trees.
Despite the substantial performing forces involved, this vocal-instrumental symphony is more akin to intimate chamber music. We present its selected sections dedicated to trees. Song Four (Bei einer Linde), inspired by Joseph von Eichendorff’s poem, is an emotional recollection of unhappy love, presented by a baritone. Bark has healed the scar on the linden’s trunk where the beloved’s name was once cut, but the scar in the heart remains. The next part of the cycle (Flieder) is more optimistic. The baritone (again) sings in a rather dance-like triple time the words of Karl Kraus’s poem in praise of lilacs blooming in the spring. Song Six (Frühlingsnacht) is a Mahleresque nocturne starting with the image of a chestnut tree depicted by Hermann Hesse; this section features the English horn solo. Song Twelve (Vergänglichkeit), setting a poem by the same author, is the soprano’s bitter complaint, accompanied by the choir. The choir continues in Song Thirteen (Ende des Herbstes), while the next one (Herbsttag) is scored for baritone; both set poems by R.M. Rilke. Autumn makes us prone to melancholy and to reflections about loneliness and transience.