Seattle Symphony

Few singers in recent years were as worshipfully acclaimed as Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who inspired awe for the emotional power of her singing, an intimacy bordering on nakedness. She also inspired her husband, composer Peter Lieberson, to set for her five sonnets by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda—adding to a heady, shimmering, Alban Berg-like harmonic language a Latin warmth, framing her sable voice (she began her music career as a violist) amid instrumental lines that curl like lush vegetation (he orchestrated the work in Brazil). One of the great love offerings of contemporary music, and a memorial to an incomparable artist—Lorraine died in 2006, at 52, a year after the premiere—the Neruda Songs are the centerpiece of this weekend’s Seattle Symphony concerts. Kelley O’Connor is the mezzo-soprano soloist; Stéphane Denève also conducts ballet suites by Roussel and Prokofiev. GAVIN BORCHERT

Thu., Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 10, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 11, 8 p.m., 2010

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