Thursday, September 24, 2009

Being Autumn II

The great German composer Richard Strauss wrote "The Four Last Songs" a year before his death at 84 in the month of September. This song cycle, with the text of "September" written by Hermann Hesse, is among the greatest symphonic poems ever written.

Going to Sleep

Here is one of my favorite classical singers the American dramatic soprano, Jessye Norman, performing "September." Strauss reportedly wrote "The Four Last Songs" for the great dramatic Nordic soprano Kirsten Flagstad. But the lushness and largess of Norman's voice and the mastery of interpretation do not disappoint. She requires the listener to be patient as summer ends.

"September" is a masterpiece in composition and this performance is for the ages.

The garden is in mourning.
Cool rain seeps into the flowers.
Summertime shudders,
quietly awaiting his end.

Golden leaf after leaf falls
from the tall acacia tree.
Summer smiles, astonished and feeble,
at his dying dream of a garden.

For just a while he tarries
beside the roses, yearning for repose.
Slowly he closes
his weary eyes.


septembermom said...

It's like a heavenly embrace as I listen to this beautiful song. Judith, thank you so much for introducing me to these pieces that elevate the spirit and soul.

Judith Ellis said...

Kelly - It is such a pleasure. You have described the beauty here wonderfully. It definitely "elevates the spirit and soul." And what about the text? Extraordinarily befitting, eh?