Classical Album of the Week: Michael Tilson Thomas, From the Diary of Anne Frank, and Rilke
January 25th, 2021. Michael Tilson Thomas is artistic director and founder of Miami's New World Symphony, music director laureate of the San Francisco Symphony, and conductor laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra. On top of that, he's also a composer. His latest recording with San Francisco Symphony juxtaposes two poignant works; his earliest, From the Diary of Anne Frank, and his latest, Meditations on Rilke.
From the Diary of Anne Frank, a 1990 compostion first narrated by Audrey Hepburn in her role as ambassador for UNICEF, features one of the most hopeful of the young diarist’s entries in her now classic 1940s journal. Our Classical Album of the Week spotlights mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as narrator, who touchingly gives life to Frank’s words.
Watch Michael Tilson Thomas and mezzo-sopranos Isabel Leonard and Sasha Cooke describe both works on this album:
The poems of the 19th- and 20th-century Bohemian poet Rainer Maria Rilke inspired Tilson Thomas’s 2019 Meditations on Rilke. Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and bass-baritone Ryan McKinny, who each have solo turns, sing a duet in the fifth song in the series Imaginarer Lebenslauf, which translated in English means "Imaginary Biography."
Watch Michael Tilson Thomas discuss his Meditations on Rilke:
Rainer Maria Rilke is one of the most read German language poets in English translation. So it’s not surprising that Tilson Thomas joined the ranks of those who were also inspired by his works, including Berg, Webern, Schoenberg, and even Hindemith.
Through these two major works, Tilson Thomas takes a fresh look at two very different writers who speak to our hearts through both words and music.