Wednesday, June 11, 2014

RICHARD STRAUSS ~ June 11, 1864 ~ September 8, 1949

Richard Georg Strauss (11 June 1864 – 8 September 1949) was a German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras, particularly of operas, Lieder and tone poems. Strauss was also a prominent conductor. He was the consummate orchestrator!

One of my favorite operas is Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier. His “Four Last Songs” (Vier letzte Lieder), are among the most beautiful and moving vocal/orchestral pieces ever written. I would like the third, "Beim Schlafengehen," to be sung at my funeral (someday in the far future, I trust.)

3. "Beim Schlafengehen"
"Going to Sleep" Text: Hermann Hesse

Nun der Tag mich müd' gemacht,
soll mein sehnliches Verlangenf
reundlich 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.

Now that I am wearied of the day,
I will let the friendly, starry night
greet all my ardent desires
like a sleepy child.

Hands, stop all your work.
Brow, forget all your thinking.
All my senses now
yearn to sink into slumber.

And my unfettered soul
wishes to soar up freely
into night's magic sphere
to live there deeply and thousandfold.

I feel privileged knowing that I shared almost six months at the start of my life with the end of his.

Titian in the Frari (Venezia)