Gustav Mahler believed nature held the key to the profundity of life. In his late masterpiece, The Song of the Earth, the composer contemplates the many facets of life – its beauty and hardship – and maps out an inner journey, from a fear of death to a deep acceptance of our mortality, recognizing in its valedictory closing movement that to live is to participate in the never-ending unfolding of existence, that in being, we, too, are a part of eternity.

As he once summed it up: “One will be able to give me the title: ‘Singer of Nature” an artist tapping into sacred life for inspiration and insight. In the face of the challenges, we have imposed on nature and that we must all now address – climate change, plastic waste, habitat destruction, to name but a few – it is not difficult to imagine Mahler Foundation standing up for the planet in the name of the great composer.

But what can we do? By helping to create projects that stir the consciousness of people, raise awareness of the looming fate of our planet, and inspire them to act. These projects can be concerts, symposia, books, compositions, lectures, recordings, films, theater, educational programs … endeavors that address today’s audiences with the message of our common fate as inhabitants of this planet and our precarious reliance on its wellbeing. As co-curator of these projects, Mahler Foundation will assist in bringing Mahler, his works, and Das Lied von der Erde in particular into the programming, whether it be as a borrowing of texts, as a musical quotation, or a reference to the composer’s perspective on nature and humanity.

“The Song of the Earth” will be offered as an opportunity for organizations around the world to join forces with us to promote their endeavors through our imprimatur and global outreach if we see them as compatible with our mission. Since the completion of these projects is the responsibility of local producers, this will not be a series that relies on the financial resources of the Foundation.

In bringing these disparate elements together in projects around the world, we will be conjoining Mahler, music, and a vast concern of our time. We will inspire and connect. We will take Mahler Beyond.
18 June 2020

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