The German writer Thomas Mann imagined a composer who intentionally sought a prostitute lover so that he could contract syphilis, believing that the madness would deepen his artistic inspiration.
The composer is then visited by a folklore demon and agrees to bargain his soul and all that makes him human in exchange for twenty-four years of creative genius and the creation of a radical new method of musical composition, similar to Arnold Schoenberg’s serialism.
“Just because you can only see me because you are mad,
does not mean that I do not really exist”
-Mann’s Mephistophelean-type demon speaking to the composer,
as he is descending into syphilitic madness
This concert features music referenced in Mann’s novel, Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkühn, Told by a Friend, performed in new arrangements for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
It’s an extraordinary tour of key moments of German Romantic music including Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder and Schoenberg’s revolutionary Chamber Symphony No.1.