Please select a donation amount. Richard Strauss. Listen to audio:. Richard Strauss lived through two World Wars. And in a sense lived through neither, remaining nearly oblivious, we are led to believe, of the worlds crumbling and realigning about him. Sigmund Freud might never have existed, the demons of modern history only marginally. He remained unaffected even by his own futurism, exemplified by the opera Elektra , a stylistic dead end. Yet his compositions continued in an unbroken stream for another four decades, until his death in at the age of It took personal rather than cosmic events to rouse him to a realization of what had been destroyed in his life and in his world, and that occasioned the Indian summer that enabled him to create musical marvels after he had passed the age of The desire to escape the unappealing present of the Third Reich must have inspired his gentle World War II compositions, the opera Capriccio , the Second Horn Concerto, the wind sonatinas.
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STRAUSS Lieder – Norman
Diana DAmrau and Daniel Harding
In each of the four songs, Strauss, now at the end of his own life, ponders the approach of death. There is nothing like them in music for the sheer intensity of their concentrated, gentle heartache…. The orchestra opens with lush harmonies. In the second stanza, two flutes represent the upward-soaring larks. Strauss himself died just one year after writing Vier Letzte Lieder, never having heard them performed.
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Strauss's Four Last Songs are simply one of the most touchingly beautiful ways for a composer to end his career, says Jane Jones. At the end of a long and successful career, when a composer still has the power to move his audience with a swansong of such sublime beauty that it takes your breath away - well, you know that work is a masterpiece. Richard Strauss was in his 80s and living in Switzerland at the end of World War II and, although he was increasingly feeble, he was still composing. She was quite a character with a formidable reputation as the iron rod in that relationship — managing the money and giving her husband just enough to live on! But she was also a successful soprano who performed Strauss's songs to great acclaim. The Eichendorf poem which translates as 'At Sunset' is fittingly the last of the four, with the first three songs all settings of poems by Herman Hesse. The words are all warm, wise and reflective with no hint of religious consolation as death approaches, but rather a deeply felt appreciation of the world before leaving. It's simply one of the most touchingly beautiful ways for a composer to end his career.
Composer or Director: Richard Strauss. K Henckell: orch Falke: , orch If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information. Jessye Norman has made many excellent records, but perhaps none so wholly recommendable as this one. Her generous heart, dignified manner and noble voice seem ideally suited to Strauss's valedictory utterances, and when she made this record in June of last year she seems to have been in wonderful voice, the top soaring up to the heights more freely than has sometimes been the case of late. Her breath seems almost endless at times, her tone refulgent and full so that I doubt if the Vier letzte Lieder have sounded so rich in texture since Flagstad, their first interpreter, sang them, so placing a quite different light on them from that of Schwarzkopf or Popp both HMV.