They are suffused with a sense of calm, acceptance, and completeness. The settings are for a solo soprano voice given soaring melodies against a full orchestra, and all four songs have prominent horn parts. As in that piece, the quoted seven-note phrase known as the "transfiguration theme" has been seen as the fulfillment of the soul through death. Premiere and first recording[ edit ] Main article: Four Last Songs discography One of the last wishes of Richard Strauss was that Kirsten Flagstad be the soprano to introduce the four songs, which he finished in , the year before his death at
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Through want and joy we have walked hand in hand; We are both resting from out travels now, in the quiet countryside Around us the valleys fold up, already the air grows dark, Only two larks still soar wistfully into the balmy sky Come here and let them fly about; soon it is time for sleep We must not go astray in this solitude O spacious, tranquil peace, so profound in the gloaming.
How tired we are of travelling — is this perchance death? Vast and silent stillness fired With sunset red the breadth! How can we feel so tired? Can this perhaps be death? In the Evening by Neil Fulwood Imagine: while driving home, companionship and laughter left behind, the village a string of lights in the rearview mirror, you pull over and turn the engine off, then step out of the car and stand on a verge of hardened soil, the road unlit and signless at your back, and look across the land as dark comes on, the fields dull slabs of earth which rise and level out and stretch away.
But you see it imagine for the final time now, in the evening, the small details that gave it life stolen by an horizon brought nearer by twilight, gathered up, hidden beneath silence and darkness, a silence that is absolute, a darkness that takes the evening and plucks from you your valediction: the one name that never left your heart, a thing remembered even as it passes.
Now we may rest from wandering Above this silent land. The valleys lie in shadow, And darkness fills the sky.
Two larks alone, their dreamy course Through fragrant evening fly. Come close and let them slip away; Soon it is time to sleep. Oh let us not forget our goal In solitude so deep. How tired we are of wandering. Might this perhaps be death?
Joseph von Eichendorff - Im Abendrot
4 Letzte Lieder, TrV 296 (Strauss, Richard)