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The A-Z of Richard Strauss: L is for Lieder

Song works book-ended Strauss's career, with his first written aged 6 and his last aged 84.

By Gavin Plumley (Guest author. Classical music blogger)

28 April 2014 at 12.53pm | Comment on this article

Following in the grand tradition of LiederRichard Strauss wrote over 200 songs during the course of his career.

His first, ‘Weihnachtslied’, was written in 1870 when he was just six years old. His last, ‘Malven’, was written for the soprano Maria Jeritza in 1948, the year before he died.

Some of his songs clearly maintain the strophic structure of the original text, while others often show Strauss’s dramatic bent, developing like operatic scenes in miniature. When Salome became a huge success in 1905 (despite the Kaiser's predictions), Strauss’s focus on Lieder diminished, though he returned to song during his final years, not least with the intensely moving Four Last Songs, comprising three poems by Hermann Hesse, whose work had been banned by the Nazis, and one text by Joseph von Eichendorff.

View other posts in our weekly Richard Strauss A-Z series

2014 sees the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss’s birth. The composer is celebrated at the ROH with stagings of Die Frau ohne Schatten (which ran until 2 April 2014) and Ariadne auf Naxos (25 June-13 July). Tickets for Ariadne auf Naxos are still available.

By Gavin Plumley (Guest author. Classical music blogger)

28 April 2014 at 12.53pm

This article has been categorised Music and tagged Hermann Hesse, Joseph von Eichendorff, Lieder, Malven, Maria Jeritza, Renee Fleming, Richard Strauss, song, Strauss A-Z, Weihnachtslied

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