Gabriel Kahane pairs a classic of the German song cycle with a cheeky piece of his own, (inspired by a popular website) in San Francisco Performances‘ next PIVOT concert this Sunday evening. Craigslistlieder, Dichterliebe, and Other Arguments is at SFJAZZ, as the singer-songwriter also performs some of his own more recent pop and folk works.
There’s more information about the concert at the PIVOT website.
It’s unusual these days for a singer to take on both singing and accompanying Schumann’s Dichterliebe, but Kahane sees it as appropriate: “As a singer-songwriter, it’s de rigueur that you play your instrument and you sing your song. And these Schumann songs feel like 19th Century pop music for the most part, and so I’m just trying to present them in a frame that’s familiar.” He sees parallels between the Schumann and his own work, which pulled texts from the Craigslist website. “In Dichterliebe, the narrator is this heartbroken, neurotic guy, and there are a lot of neuroses, I think, expressed in Craigslistlieder, so there’s a kind of emotional kinship there, but the harmonies that Schumann was working with are harmonies of Beatles, and harmonies of Paul Simon, and even getting into the present, like into Radiohead.” They resonate perhaps even more with the pop and folk songs that Kahane has been performing and recording as a successful singer-songwriter. “Part of the idea of this program,” he says, “is somewhat to make an argument for how little separates the tradition of the 19th century from that of present-day songwriting. It’s all music, and I’m hoping that people who know the Schumann and are unfamiliar with my songwriting might come and be pleasantly surprised, and that people who know my songwriting and don’t know the Schumann might discover that 19th Century German art song is not so scary after all.”