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Sorrowful Voices: Performing Mahler's Kindertotenlieder


Forbes, AM, Sorrowful Voices: Performing Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, Musicology Australia, 36, (2) pp. 235-253. ISSN 0814-5857 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Musicological Society of Australia

DOI: doi:10.1080/08145857.2014.958270


Gustav Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder is arguably one of the most daunting of song cycles, not only on account of its technical demands but due to the intrinsic emotional weight of Ru¨ ckert’s poetry. In performance the singer becomes the conduit of the textual and musical expression and bears the artistic weight of enabling both poet and composer to ‘speak’. This paper considers the multiple ‘voices’ that inform and inhabit performance of Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder in addition to those of poet and composer. It explores the 'performing voices’ as represented by the interpretative gestures of iconic performances, including those of Kathleen Ferrier and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, considers the ‘mythological voices’ emanating from the superstitions surrounding the work, and finally considers the ‘personal voice’ of the performer with its entwined physical and emotional characteristics. This paper underlines the role of vocal technique and controlled nuances of expression in the ability of the singer to convey the multilayered ‘sorrowful voices’ of the Kindertotenlieder to the listener.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Mahler, Kindertotenlieder, singing, performativity.
Research Division:Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Music
Research Field:Musicology and ethnomusicology
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Arts
Objective Field:The performing arts
UTAS Author:Forbes, AM (Associate Professor Anne-Marie Forbes)
ID Code:90477
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:School of Creative Arts and Media
Deposited On:2014-04-07
Last Modified:2017-12-14

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