Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Vote Now: What Are the Greatest Art Songs of All Time?

Art song, the distressed poorer cousin of opera, hiding within its forgotten leaves some of the most beautiful and fleeting moments of poetry for singers, pianists and audiences to partake of....

La Scena Musicale is conducing a survey of people in the musical field to determine the 10 greatest art songs of all time. This is part of a larger initiative to promote both classical music and the art song genre(!) through its upcoming Next Great Art Song contest.

The first part of the initiative is to compile a list of the 10 greatest art songs of all time, to be mentioned in upcoming print editions of La Scena, beginning in September with the announcement of the Next Great Art Song's call for compositions, and culminating in the announcement of the winner in 2016.

Voting is open now, with submissions closing on July 31st. You can vote online here or email your submission to greatartsong [at] lascena dot org. For the emailed submission, you'll need to list your name, profession, top three song choices, and a reason for your top choice.

In the interest of transparency, here is my complete submission:

Song #1: Franz Schubert - Die Erlkönig
In 1815, an 18-year-old student of Antonio Salieri named Franz Schubert was making a meagre living teaching children in the outskirts of Vienna. Although still a teenager, Schubert's setting of Die Erlkönig was revolutionary in every way, from the virtuoso-like relationship of voice to the keyboard to the portrayal of multiple narrators in Goethe's text, setting the course for an entire genre that took piano, voice, and text-setting to a higher level of artistry than ever before.

Song #2: Gustav Mahler - Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen
Song #3: Samuel Barber - Knoxville: Summer of 1915

You have until July 31, 2015 to submit your choices. After submitting officially, feel free to leave your submissions in the comments below or on the CPB Facebook page.

More information about the Next Great Art Song contest will be upcoming in the next few months.

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