A piece in the Trib today about the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Max Raimi’s “Lisel Mueller Songs” made me regret missing this performance. I’ve enjoyed Mueller’s poetry for a long time, seen her read, and would have really enjoyed hearing this piece, based on four poems from her collection Alive Together. What a wonderful thing that Raimi, Chicago composer and violist for CSO and Ars Viva, would pay tribute to a (Pulitzer-prize winning) poet who also resides here.
You know, art songs, lieder, oratoria and the like can be a great way to enjoy immortal literature in the company of great music. A few of my favorites are:
* Purcell’s King Arthur, with text by John Dryden.
* Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress, with libretto by poet W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman.
* Shubert’s Lieder, composed to poems by Goethe, Shakespeare, and assorted 18thC German poets who should perhaps be better known to English readers than they are.
Really though, there are far too many to mention. I sometimes think that Shubert set more poems to music (about 600) than I’ve read. A large number of poets have had their work set to music; here’s an amazing list.
ADDITION 1/30/04: My original link to song texts by poets has been dead for about a year, but I discovered another, better site and have fixed the link (thanks, OH).