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View Poll Results: Which one of the Vier letzte lieder do you like best

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  • Frühling

    2 8.70%
  • September

    3 13.04%
  • Beim Schlafengehen

    10 43.48%
  • Im Abendrot

    8 34.78%
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Thread: Which of the Vier letzte lieder (Strausss) is your favourite

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    Default Which of the Vier letzte lieder (Strausss) is your favourite

    These are the greatest vocal works of all time (that I have heard). Now there's four of them, and me and my friends of the conservatory keep discussing which one is the best of the best.

    At first, Frühling was my favourite because of that amazing modulation in the beginning. But after taking a close look to the actual poetry, Im Abendrot stood out. Here is the music of a composer who is looking at the end of his life, fulfilled. With anti-Wagnerian simplicity, he paints a goodbye. I'm not really a poetry man, but these texts touch me regardless.

    What do you guys think?

    Shamelessly stolen from wikipedia:

    1. "Frühling"

    (Text: Hermann Hesse)

    In dämmrigen Grüften
    träumte ich lang
    von deinen Bäumen und blauen Lüften,
    Von deinem Duft und Vogelsang.

    Nun liegst du erschlossen
    In Gleiß und Zier
    von Licht übergossen
    wie ein Wunder vor mir.

    Du kennst mich wieder,
    du lockst mich zart,
    es zittert durch all meine Glieder
    deine selige Gegenwart!



    2. "September"

    (Text: Hermann Hesse)

    Der Garten trauert,
    kühl sinkt in die Blumen der Regen.
    Der Sommer schauert
    still seinem Ende entgegen.

    Golden tropft Blatt um Blatt
    nieder vom hohen Akazienbaum.
    Sommer lächelt erstaunt und matt
    In den sterbenden Gartentraum.

    Lange noch bei den Rosen
    bleibt er stehn, sehnt sich nach Ruh.
    Langsam tut er
    die müdgeword'nen Augen zu.


    Composed: September 20, 1948

    3. "Beim Schlafengehen"

    ("Going to Sleep") (Text: Hermann Hesse)

    Nun der Tag mich müd' gemacht,
    soll mein sehnliches Verlangen
    freundlich die gestirnte Nacht
    wie ein müdes Kind empfangen.

    Hände, laßt von allem Tun,
    Stirn, vergiß du alles Denken.
    Alle meine Sinne nun
    wollen sich in Schlummer senken.

    Und die Seele, unbewacht,
    will in freien Flügen schweben,
    um im Zauberkreis der Nacht
    tief und tausendfach zu leben.

    4. "Im Abendrot"

    ("Evening") (Text: Joseph von Eichendorff)

    Wir sind durch Not und Freude
    gegangen Hand in Hand;
    vom Wandern ruhen wir
    nun überm stillen Land.

    Rings sich die Täler neigen,
    es dunkelt schon die Luft.
    Zwei Lerchen nur noch steigen
    nachträumend in den Duft.

    Tritt her und laß sie schwirren,
    bald ist es Schlafenszeit.
    Daß wir uns nicht verirren
    in dieser Einsamkeit.

    O weiter, stiller Friede!
    So tief im Abendrot.
    Wie sind wir wandermüde--
    Ist dies etwa der Tod?


    On a sidenote, best recordings?

    I own three currently:

    One with Elizabeth Schwartzkopf, which I like a lot because it's neatly sung and good pronunciation.
    I have one with Meyer-Topsoe, I'm not a fan: a bit light vs the orchestra.
    I also have one with Jessye Norman. I like this one a lot, because she sings it with a lot of power and passion. But, I wouldn't call this a "good" recording because her pronunciation is about as good as a popsicle in the dust.
    Last edited by Rasa; Apr-24-2009 at 00:40.

  2. #2
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    I like the last one, Im Abendrot. I especially like the bird call like sounds at the end of the piece. I don't really like lieder generally, but I really like this work overall.

    A recording I used to own on tape was Gundula Janowitz with BPO/Karajan (DG). I'm not sure if it is still available, but it was coupled with a very dark and moving account of Metamorphosen, and also the much lighter Oboe Concerto (with Lothar Koch). This was my introduction to Strauss, and I still like these later works best. I'm not a big fan of his other works, though on a good day, I can stomach Don Quixote. But I think his later works were more direct and much less diffuse than his earlier tone poems. I'm not familiar with his operas, except for the well-known orchestral exceprts.

  3. #3
    Senior Member JoeGreen's Avatar
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    I like September, no other reason other than it's just the one I like the best out of the four.
    I adore art...when I am alone with my notes, my heart pounds and the tears stream from my eyes, and my emotion and my joys are too much to bear.

  4. #4
    Senior Member confuoco's Avatar
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    This jewel is truly masterwork, better, more beautiful, worthy, sincere and intense than all symphonic poems of Strauss altogether. Beim Schlafengehen is my favorite.

    I own live recordings with Jessye Norman/Celibidache and Lucia Popp/Giulini.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Beim Schlafengehen - that violin solo followed by that soprano voice rising towards heaven on a cloud of beautiful orchestral accompaniment never fails to send shivers up and down my spine. But I LOVE all four songs.

    I have recordings from Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Lisa Della Casa, Kiri Te Kanawa, Jessye Norman, Gundula Janowitz and Renée Fleming. Four Last Songs is one of my favorite works by any composer.

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  7. #6
    Senior Member Edmond-Dantes's Avatar
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    Im Abendrot for me, though its SOO close..
    "Birds sit motionless on their branches. The world is slumbering! It grows cool in the shade of my fir-trees. I stand and await my friend, I wait for him for our last farewell. O friend, I long to share the beauty of this evening at your side. Where do you linger? Long you leave me alone! I wander here and there with my lyre on soft grassy paths. O Beauty! O endless love-life-drunken world!" ~ Das Lied von der Erde - Der Abschied (Li Tai-Po/G.Mahler) <---Click to Listen

  8. #7
    Senior Member Conor71's Avatar
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    I like the 4 last songs and have 2 versions:
    Schwarzkopf/Szell & Norman/Masur
    Havent given any thought yet to which of the 4 I like best so will have have to re-listen to them & take the poll!

  9. #8
    Senior Member Conor71's Avatar
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    Listening to 4 Last Songs with Jessye Norman at the moment - I think Beim Schlafengehen is probably my favourite .

  10. #9
    Senior Member confuoco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C71 View Post
    Listening to 4 Last Songs with Jessye Norman at the moment - I think Beim Schlafengehen is probably my favourite .
    All 4 songs are exceptional, but I think Beim Schlafengehen has the most lovely melodic line, I love especially the words "in freien Flügen schweben".

  11. #10
    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    "Wandermude?"

  12. #11
    Member jamzky's Avatar
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    Nice thread The last song because he quotes his early work Tod und Verklarung in it. What a moment!! An old man referring to his youthful idea of the moment of death and then the sound of the lark to finish and that warm (Berlin Strings / Gundula Janowitz) Eflat chord. I think it is Eflat.

  13. #12
    Senior Member Tapkaara's Avatar
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    I recently picked up the Karajan/BP/Janowitz recording. Im Abendrot is my favorite. I'm with Andre: lieder is not generally my favorite genre, but these are so masterfully crafted and direct in their emotional impact, it's hard not to like them.
    "Music is not philosophy." --Akira Ifukube

  14. #13
    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    The Elizabeth Schwartzkopf is the one I listen to most often. If there is a heaven then her interpretation of "September" is what you would hear upon entry.
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

  15. #14
    Senior Member Pugg's Avatar
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    Beim Schlafengehen , performed by Lucia Popp / Dame Kiri or Renée Fleming.
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

  16. #15
    Senior Member Annied's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhar26 View Post
    Beim Schlafengehen - that violin solo followed by that soprano voice rising towards heaven on a cloud of beautiful orchestral accompaniment never fails to send shivers up and down my spine. But I LOVE all four songs.

    I have recordings from Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Lisa Della Casa, Kiri Te Kanawa, Jessye Norman, Gundula Janowitz and Renée Fleming. Four Last Songs is one of my favorite works by any composer.
    Beim Schlafengehen is the only piece of music that's made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end the first time I listened to it through headphones. (It was the Kiri Te Kanawa recording.) And it was the moment you've described that did it.

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