After seeing each other perform in Schloss Elmau, Germany, in 2015, the American pianist/composer Brad Mehldau and British tenor Ian Bostridge met and quickly professed their admiration for each other’s body of work. That chance run-in resulted in an initial friendly correspondence where the two musicians discussed everything from their shared love of lieder to Bach and jazz. This correspondence materialized into a creative spark resulting in a few pieces that Mehldau wrote specifically with Bostridge in mind. After sharing these pieces, the two musicians began to discuss building out this original repertoire into a song cycle revolving around text and themes they both wanted to explore. At the onset of their discussions Mehldau brought up his interest in investigating the themes of the modern sinuous nature of human desire as it exists in love and adoration. With this agreed central theme in mind, Mehldau began composing a set of music with lyrics drawn from the poetry of Blake, Yeats, Shakespeare, Goethe, and others. In 2019, Bostridge and Mehldau premiered this new song cycle, The Folly of Desire, fittingly paired in a program with Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe (“The Poet’s Love”).