Episode 146. Women of Color Sing Mahler

Episode 146. Women of Color Sing Mahler



Say their names: In Uvalde: Nevaeh Bravo, Jackie Cazares, Makenna Lee Elrod, Jose Flores, Eliana Garcia, Irma Garcia, Uziyah Garcia, Amerie Jo Garza, Xavier Lopez, Jayce Luevanos, Tess Marie Mata, Miranda Mathis, Eva Mireles, Alithia Ramirez, Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, Maite Rodriguez, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, Layla Salazar, Jailah Nicole Silguero, Eliahana Cruz Torres, Rojelio Torres. In Buffalo: Celestine Chaney, Roberta A. Drury, Andre Mackniel, Katherine Massey, Margus D. Morrison, Heyward Patterson, Aaron Salter, Geraldine Talley, Ruth Whitfield, Pearl Young. All gunned down by young men who should have had no access to an assault weapon in the first place. I have no meaningful response to such cruel slaughter. When I am in the most profound mourning, I turn to the composers whose music directly confronts that despair. Today that composer is Gustav Mahler. Since the victims were almost exclusively people of color, today for solace I turn to the extraordinary voices of women of color singing the music of Mahler. Roberta Alexander, Marian Anderson, Carol Brice, Oralia Dominguez, Jessye Norman, Florence Quivar, Shirley Verrett, Lucretia West provide balm for the depths of despair that we are all feeling right now. They are joined on the podium by some of the greatest conductors of the twentieth century: Leonard Bernstein, Christoph von Dohnányi, Bernard Haitink, Paul Kletzki, Hans Knappertsbusch, Erich Leinsdorf, Zubin Mehta, Pierre Monteux, Fritz Reiner, and Frieder Weissmann.

This episode is also offered in memory of and in gratitude for the life of the great Lucretia West, who died on 21 February 2022 at the age of 99.

Lucretia West


All music on today’s program composed by Gustav Mahler

Urlicht [O Röschen rot] (Symphony No. 2). Oralia Domínguez, Leonard Bernstein, Orchestre National de la RTF [live 20.XI.58]. Text from Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Nun will die Sonn so hell aufgehn (Kindertotenlieder). Lucretia West, Frieder Weissmann, Orchestra Sinfonica di Torino della RAI [RAI Torino 08.I.1960]. Text by Friedrich Rückert

Nun seh’ ich wohl, warum so dunkle Flammen (Kindertotenlieder). Marian Anderson, Pierre Monteux, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra [1950]. Text by Friedrich Rückert

Das irdische Leben (Des Knaben Wunderhorn). Florence Quivar, Christoph von Dohnányi, Cleveland Orchestra [live 1986]. Text from Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Das himmlische Leben (Symphony No. 4). Roberta Alexander, Bernard Haitink, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra [1983]. Text from Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Oft denk’ ich, sie sind nur ausgegangen (Kindertotenlieder). Lucretia West, Hans Knappertsbusch, Berliner Philharmoniker [live Berlin 09.IV.56]. Text by Friedrich Rückert

O Mensch, gib’ acht! (Symphony No. 3). Shirley Verrett, Erich Leinsdorf, Boston Symphony Orchestra [1967]. Text by Friedrich Nietzsche

Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen). Carol Brice, Fritz Reiner, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra [1946]. Text by Gustav Mahler

Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (Rückert-Lieder). Jessye Norman, Zubin Mehta, New York Philharmonic [live 20.IX.89]. Text by Friedrich Rückert

Ich wandle nach der Heimat, meiner Stätte (excerpt from Der Abschied [Das Lied von der Erde]). Oralia Domínguez, Paul Kletzki, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra [live Montreux 07.IX.62]. German text by Hans Bethge (from Die chinesische Flöte) and Gustav Mahler after Wang Wei

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