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CHAN 7113
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CHAN 7113
Orchestral Songs

Strauss, R: Four Last Songs

The Classical Shop
release date: July 1998

Originally recorded in 1997


Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Neeme Jarvi

Felicity Lott



Caird Hall, Dundee

Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow


Ralph Couzens

Brian Couzens


Janet Middlebrook

Philip Couzens

Ben Connellan

Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Vocal & Song

Total Time - 69:30
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Orchestral Songs



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Vier letzte Lieder, Op. posth.

  (Four Last Songs)  
1 1 Beim Schlafengehen (Going to Sleep) 6:25
2 2 September 4:13
3 3 Frühling (Spring) 2:57
4 4 Im Abendrot (At Dusk) 7:33

Wiegenlied, Op. 41 No. 1

  (Cradle Song)  

Ruhe, meine Seele!, Op. 27 No. 1

  (Rest, My Soul)  

Freundliche Vision, Op. 48 No. 1

  (Friendly Vision)  

Waldseligkeit, Op. 49 No. 1

  (Woodland Bliss)  

Morgen! Op. 27 No. 4


Das Rosenband, Op. 36 No. 1

  (The Rose Garland)  
  orch. Robert Heger  

Zueignung, Op. 10 No. 1


Des Dichters Abendgang, Op. 47

  No. 2  
  (The Poet's Evening Walk)  

from Capriccio, Op. 85

13 Intermezzo (Moonlight Music) 3:21
14 Closing Scene 16:02
 Felicity Lott soprano
 Neeme Jarvi
  10 November 1992  
  8 & 9 December 1986, 22 & 23 February 1988 and 16-18 August 1988  

Outstanding soprano Felicity Lott performs what many believe to be the definative version of Strauss’s ever-popular Four Last Songs.

Coupled with eight orchestral songs and two extracts from the opera Capriccio, this stunning collection represents both a wonderfulintroduction to Strauss’s vocal music, and an essential edition for the seasoned collector.

In 1946 Strauss read Eichendorff’s poem ’Im Abendrot’ (At Dusk) and completed the song in 1948. It is about an old couple who after a long and eventful life together, look at the sunset and ask, ’Is this perhaps death?’ It mirrored his situation with his wife. Between July and September he composed the songs Frühling(Spring), ’Beim Schlafengehen’ (Going to sleep) and ’September’ to texts by Hesse, and began to sketch another (’Nacht’). After Strauss’s death, his publisher added Im Abendrot’ to the three Hesse songs and published them as Four Last Songs. The order in which these songs are sung on this recording follows that of the first performance in 1950.

’Wiegenlied’ (Cradle Song), to a text by Dehmel was composed on 22 August 1899 and orchestrated a year later. The melody is one of Strauss’s loveliest and best known. ’Ruhe, meine Seele!’ (Rest, My Soul!) was one of the four Op. 27 songs that were written for his wife Pauline. He did not orchestrate it until June 1948 when he altered the character of the song, making it gloomy and tragic. ’Freundliche Vision’ (Friendly Vivision) composed on 5 October 1900 and ’Waldseligkeit’ (Woodland Bliss) composed on 24 June 1928, are examples of the soaring vocal line of which Strauss was master.

’Morgen!’ (Tomorrow!) is perhaps Strauss’s most beautiful song, rapt and ecstatic in its evocation of bliss. ’Das Rosenband’ (The Rose Garland) was composed in its full orchestral version in 1897, a piano version following. It anticipates the Four last Songs in its tender epilogue. The earliest song is ’Zueignung’ (Dedication), composed in 1885, two years before he met Pauline. Its melody shows the mature characteristics that were not yet evident in the instrumental works. Strauss orchestrated it in 1940 and it was not published until 1965. ’Des Dichters Abendgang’ (The Poets’ Evening Walk) was composed in 1900 and orchestrated in 1918, at which point it changed key becoming a song for soprano.

Capriccio was Strauss’s last opera, a ’conversation piece’ with a libretto written by Strauss and Clemens Krauss and first performed in Munich in 1942. Strauss thought of it as a connoiseur’s work wwhich was unlikely to be popular. It is an opera about writing an opera - the relative importance of words and music. This might have become a dry and scholarly thesis, but Strauss invented intensley human characters and a love-story to carry the weight of the argument. The poet (Olivier) and composer (Flamand) are set a task to reconcile them, rivals in love - that of writing an opera about the day they have just experienced. The two will call on the Countess the next day to find out which she loves. The stage is set for the Final Scene ...

                      Performance ****          Recording ****

"...the Four Last Songs are gorgeous, the voice floating so effortlessly over the creamy orchestral playing. Of her beautifully sungorchestral songs Wiegenlied is pure gold, and she captures all the haunting beauty of the final aria from Capriccio. The Scottish orchestra are in fine form, and Lott has an ardent Straussian in Jarvi."

Yorkshire Post - August 1998

"...Voice, orchestra, and sound are all gorgeous; this is well worth having, and I think you will play it often, as I have already. I could never tire of a voice as beautiful as this."

Vroon - American Record Guide - May/June 1999

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