On June 2, Thomas Hampson performs Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn on tour with the Gewandhausorchester, under the baton of Andris Nelsons, at the Symphony Hall in Osaka, Japan. Completing the program, Nelsons leads the ensemble in Tchaikovsky’s epic and energetic Fifth Symphony.

 The inspiration for Des Knaben Wunderhorn was a three-volume collection of “folk songs” by that name published by Romantic poets Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano between 1805 and 1808, which enjoyed widespread popularity in the 19th century. Hampson made his Australian orchestral concert debut last year with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra singing Des Knaben Wunderhorn. The Sydney Morning Herald celebrated his performance:

“Mahler was never in safer hands than those of Thomas Hampson. This is a veteran musician who knows the exact meaning behind every word and every note – and probably what Gustav was doing the morning he wrote it. Nothing is overlooked. It’s a partnership that has borne innumerable iconic performances, and proven beneficial for both composer and singer.

 Hampson’s knowledge of music history and composition is almost unmatched by any modern singer. This consummate comprehension allows him to create an intricately detailed performance of selections from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, the highlight of the evening … The big notes bloom and each consonant is caressed, each vowel smooth yet defined.”

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In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.

Thomas Hampson