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Faust: The Life of a Composer

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Southbank Centre: Queen Elizabeth HallBelvedere Road, London, Greater London, SE1 8XX, United Kingdom
On Wednesday 25 March 2020 at 19:00

Music by Mahler, Wagner and Schoenberg comes at the cost of a man’s soul in this chamber concert by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Legend has it that guitarist Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil to become a great blues musician.

The German writer Thomas Mann imagined a composer who did the same, entering a pact guaranteeing him 24 years of musical genius and a radical new method of musical composition, similar to Arnold Schoenberg’s serialism.  

This concert features music referenced in Mann’s subsequent novel, Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkühn, Told by a Friend, performed in unusual arrangements for the OAE’s chamber group.

It’s an extraordinary tour of key moments of German Romantic music. These include Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder and Schoenberg’s revolutionary Chamber Symphony No.1.

Behind Mann’s updating of the Faust legend lies a chilling analysis of Germany’s fall into nihilism and then Nazism in the 1930s.

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