The Song as a Mirror of the World: Songs of the Fin de Siècle

Thomas Hampson_c_Marshall Light Studio

An event of rarity value: Three live lectures by and with Thomas Hampson. On topics on which the great baritone from the USA has more to say than the vast majority of his guild. Thomas Hampson grew up in Spokane, Washington state. He was seventeen years old when he discovered his deep love for the German art song, Hampson confessed in an essay on the genre a few years ago. "The songs almost swallowed me up and opened the door to a world of imagination that had been foreign to me until then," the singer recalls. A few decades later, Thomas Hampson is not only considered one of the most important lied composers of our time, he is also an exquisitely enthusiastic expert on the cultural and historical context of the lied repertoire from the classical period to the present. As part of his honorary professorship at the University of Heidelberg, he is now giving three lectures, following up on his highly acclaimed SWR radio series "Das Lied als Spiegel seiner Zeit" ("The Song as a Mirror of its Time"). The newly edited contributions, which include numerous audio examples, are devoted to the interplay between history and song production in three distinctive periods of the 19th century. "Vienna around 1800", in which the art song between enlightened absolutism and the French Revolution strives towards its first flowering. "Wagner and the Consequences" explores the tremendous influence of the music dramatist Wagner on song composers such as Hugo Wolf, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Claude Debussy. "Songs of the Fin de Siècle," finally, traces the farewell to the century of Romanticism: in the United States, Great Britain, France, and the German-speaking world. The sequence ends with an outlook on the Lied oeuvre of the composers of the Second Viennese School.

The lecture series is part of Thomas Hampson's honorary professorship at Heidelberg University.

Prof. Thomas Hampson