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Music Text

Hesse, Eichendorff (G,E)


Complete work: 3(III=picc).picc.2.corA.2.bcl.3(III=dbn)-;
Frühling: 2.2.corA.2.bcl.3- (4'); September: 3.2.corA.2.bcl.2- (4:30'); Beim Schlafengehn: 2.2picc.2.corA.2.bcl.2- (5:50'); Im Abendrot: 2(I&II=picc).2.corA.2.blc.2.dbn- (8')

Abbreviations (PDF)


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World Premiere
Royal Albert Hall, London
Kirsten Flagstad, soprano / Philharmonia Orchestra / Wilhelm Furtwängler
Repertoire Note

These four songs are not only Strauss’s last contribution to the ‘Lied’ which played such an important part in his life’s work, but they are also the last compositions that he finished.
The first sketches of lm Abendrot (At Dusk) are found in a notebook from the end of 1946 or beginning of 1947. The final sketch of the score is dated “Montreux, 27th April 1948” and the score itself was finished on 6th May of that year.
The sketch of Frühling (Spring) followed, with the full score completed at Pontresina on 18th July 1948.
Beim Schlafengehen (On Going to Sleep) was finished on 4th August and September, Strauss’s last completed work, on 20th September of the same year.
A mood of farewell pervades the four songs, particularly Im Abendrot and September. lt is, however, the farewell of a man who leaves the scene of earthly struggle and triumph without disappointment or reproach, without fear of destruction and doom, but with serene confidence in eternity and immortality. And so, when the poet asks in ImAbendrot (bars 69–75) “lst dies etwa der Tod?” (“Can this be death?”) the horn answers with that same Transfiguration Motif which the young man sixty years before had set against Death.
E. R.



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