Gustav Mahler saw the poems in the German folk collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn as expressing the essence of nature and life, and he found the perfect musical language for many of them. Eleven of the songs he loosely grouped into a cycle under the same title will be performed here by German baritone Matthias Goerne, who's ideal for this music. A student of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, he has a stunningly beautiful voice and great artistry, delivering interpretations that have made him one of the top lieder singers of our time. All of his expressive range will be on display, as the emotional spectrum of these songs runs from playful innocence to tragic bitterness. A high point should be "Urlicht" ("Primeval Light"), the pleadingly radiant song given to a mezzo on his superb recording of the cycle. Paavo Jarvi will also lead the orchestra in Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony, whose first movement is one of the pinnacles of the composer's orchestral writing: from the dark, foreboding opening to the resigned ending, it's powerful yet intimate--at times like chamber music for orchestral sections. The same program will be performed on Friday and Saturday, October 6 and 7. a 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $19-$119.