Recorded on 11/09/2004, uploaded on 01/10/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Richard Strauss concentrated on different genres of
composition (chamber music, symphonic poems, operas, etc.) at different
periods, but he composed songs throughout his life. He composed 214 vocal works, approximately 150 of which are
of Strauss' finest songs pay tribute to his wife Pauline, who was at first his
pupil, and then his wife. Pauline was a
very fine soprano, and considered one of the best exponents of his beautiful
works. Mädchenblumen, a rather early
set of songs - were composed in 1888 to poems by Felix Dahn. The songs contain
soaring lyricism and beautifully reflect the varying moods of the poems, which
compare girls to their botanical equivalents:
a flowing melody for the cornflower, lively brilliance for poppies,
clinging sentiment for ivy and delicate fantasy for the water lily. Tamara Matthews
Cornflowers I call these figures
that gently, with blue eyes,
preside quietly and modestly,
placidly drinking the dew of peace
from their own pure souls,
communicating with everything that
unconscious of the precious
they have received from the hand of
We felt so close to you,
as if you were going through a field
through which the breath of evening
of pious quietude and full of mildness.
They are poppies, those round,
red-blooming, healthy ones
that bloom and bake in the summer
and are always in a cheery mood,
good and happy as a king,
their souls never tired of dancing;
they weep beneath their smiles
and seem born only
to tease the cornflowers;
the softest, best hearts often hide
among the climbing ivy of jests;
God knows one would wish to
suffocate them with kisses
were one not so afraid
that, embracing the hoyden,
she would spring up into a full blaze
go up in flames.
But ivy is what I call that maiden
with soft words,
with the simple, bright hair,
gently waving brown about her,
with brown, soulful doe's eyes,
who so often stands in tears,
in her tears simply irresistible;
without strength and self-consciousness,
unadorned with secret blossoms,
yet with an inexhaustible, deep
true inner sentience
that under her own power she can
never yank herself up by the roots;
such are born to twine
lovingly about another life:
upon her first love
she rests her entire life's fate,
for she is counted among those rare flowers,
that only blossom once.
Do you know the flower, the fantastic
waterlily, celebrated in myth?
On a slim, ethereal stem bobs
its translucent, colorless head;
it blooms by reedy pools in groves,
protected by the swan, who circles it in solitary vigil;
it opens only in the moonlight
with which it shares its silver glimmer:
thus does it bloom, the magical sister of the star,
idolized for its dreamy, dark tendrils
which by the edge of the pool can be seen from afar,
never reaching what it years for.
Waterlily, so do I call the slim
maiden with night-dark locks and alabaster cheeks,
with deep foreboding thoughts showing in her eyes
as if they were ghosts imprisoned on Earth.
When she speaks, it is like the silvery rushing of water;
when she is silent, it is the pregnant silence of the moonlit night.
She seems to have exchanged radiant expressions with the stars,
whose language, of the same nature, she has grown accustomed to.
You can never grow weary of gazing in those eyes
fringed with silky, long lashes,
and you believe, as if blessedly, terrifyingly bewitched,
whatever the Romantics have dreamed about Elves.
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
We at classicalconnect.com believe that classical music is a necessity of life. It is our pleasure to be your virtual concert hall and bring you this performance.
Copyright 2008-2010 Classical Connect, LLC