Sunday, 25 July 2010

Sunday Night is... Richard Strauss

One of the most beautiful songs ever composed, the first of Richard Strauss's The Four Last Songs, Frühling. This is Renee Fleming singing it. There are various versions of course - I particularly love the Jessye Norman - and there is always the beacon of Elizabeth Schwarzkopf. I am nowhere near connoisseur enough to make a sophisticated judgment, but it takes my breath away whoever is singing, and this version has a largeness and slowness that appeals.

Here is the link to the Schwarzkopf, where you also get the magical September - the second of the cycle - along with text and English translation. I think the Hesse text is pretty close to vapid but then I don't read German and in songs everything is in the simplicity and resonance of the language so I may be missing all that. However, seeing what Strauss makes of it, it fair sends the shivers down me. I'd happily go down with the Titanic as long as this is playing.


genevieve said...

Fleming's take is ravishing, I am not a huge fan of hers but that is very lovely indeed. Will look for the Norman too, thanks for the link!!

George S said...

Don't you think the first few bars before she even comes in are extraordinary? And then the voice hits, and you've gone!

Billy C said...

Oh, George, that was wonderful. Misty-eye wonderful. Thank you.