Autumn Songby George Maurer (Composer)
poems by Rainer Maria Rilke
and Tennessee Williams
directed by Jef Hall-Flavin
The George Maurer GroupMinneapolis, MN
A beautiful new song cycle of poetry set to music.
Minneapolis composer and pianistconducts his celebrated jazz ensemble in an emotional song cycle of Maurer’s original settings of poetry by Tennessee Williams and the great German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, a lifelong inspiration to Williams.
Two singers will embody the two great poets in a musical conversation of deeply moving new melodies infused with a unique blend of art song, jazz and gospel.
When there is poetry,
there is Orpheus singing.
Once and for all time
he lightly comes and goes.
Isn't it enough that he can stay with us
a few days longer than a rose?
- Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus, I,v
In the summer of 1940, when Williams first came to Provincetown for the season, he fell wholeheartedly in love for the first time, writing and rewriting poems.
That summer, Williams (left) read Rilke's romantic poetry, which he knew from college, with new understanding and passion as he struggled with his first Broadway-bound play and the bitter disappointment of unrequited love.
Your gaze, which I welcome now
as it warms my cheek, will search for me
hour after hour, and lie at sunset, spent,
on an empty beach among unfamiliar stones.
- Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours "What Will You Do?"
Midtown Men. Rilke has been an inspiration for Mr. Maurer for more than a decade.is best known as one of Minnesota’s premier jazz pianists and his work as performer, arranger and composer has taken him all over the world. He has shared the stage with Eric Clapton, arranged music for the Chiffons, and written two original scores for the Saint Paul City Ballet, among other accomplishments. He is currently a music director and arranger for the
"An image enters in, rushes down
through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone."
- Rainer Maria Rilke, "The Panther"
This song cycle was written with Dieter Bierbrauer (left) in mind as the singer. He has performed various versions of the Rilke pieces with George Maurer as it was developing into a full evening's performance. An accomplished, commanding baritone, Mr. Bierbrauer enjoys a flourishing music and theater career in Minneapolis and New York.
Some day, if I should ever lose you,
will you be able then to go to sleep
without me softly whispering above you
like night air stirring in the linden tree?
- Rainer Maria Rilke, "Slumber Song"
The Minneapolis production comes to the Festival assembled and directed by Jef Hall-Flavin, who has added a Tennessee Williams character to the Rilke song cycle, played by Jared Oxborough (left). After a critically acclaimed 2011 portrayal of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Mr. Oxborough joins the Autumn Song team with his beautiful lyric baritone.
...for there is something delicate
drawn tight across the space
from bed to chair.
- Tennessee Williams, "Across the Space"
compiled and directed by Jef Hall-Flavin
Dieter Bierbrauer as Rilke
Jared Oxborough as Williams
Braunwyn Jackett as the Woman
Piano - George Maurer
Bass and Vocals - Jeff Engholm
Cello - Diane Tremaine
Woodwinds - Rich Manik
Percussion - Pete Hennig
Sound and Stage Management by Scott Malchow
Lighting by Chuck Norwood
Costumes by Clare Brauch