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Strauss: Four Last Songs, Songs with Orchestra / Heather Harper


Release Date: 10/28/2008 
Label:  Emi Classics For Pleasure Catalog #: 28374   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Strauss himself would surely have loved these performances for their sterling artistry, musicianship and humanity.

To have caught Heather Harper's singing of Strauss's Four Last Songs at its peak, this recording should have been made about five years ago. Now, one is bound to say, the bloom on high sustained phrases is not as springlike as it was then. Even so, this is lovely Strauss singing and an autumnal approach is entirely appropriate. These are such wonderful songs that every worthwhile singer brings something new and special to them. The youthful ecstasy of Felicity Lott (Chandos) and the worldly-wise maturity of Tomowa-Sintow (DG) offer experiences no more and no less valid than Harper's deeply sensitive
Read more response to the text and her poetic phrasing of the long tendrils of melody—her breath-control is superb.

Any surprise at finding Richard Hickox as a conductor of Strauss was quickly dispelled by the quality of the orchestral support he gives to Harper. Indeed, he gives some better-known Straussians a lesson in observing the composer's dynamics in this score, often performed at a relentless mezzo-forte. Pianissimo and piano are the most frequent indications and what a difference they make when the instrumentalists respect them. EMI's warm recording helps here, too, with the voice not too forward. Michael Davis's violin solo in "Beim Schlafengehen" (and later on the disc in Morgen!) is exquisite.

Twelve songs with Strauss's own orchestration are sung by Heather Harper with a tenderness and insight that will make me return with pleasure to this record again and again. I'm sure Strauss would have loved these performances for their sterling artistry, musicianship and humanity. Some old favourites are here—an especially touching Traum durch die Dämmerung—and some that are doubly welcome for their comparative rarity, the gorgeous Dichters Abendgang, for example, and Der Arbeitsmann, really a man's song, but never mind, and here recorded for the first time with the only recently unearthed orchestral accompaniment.

-- Gramophone [3/1988]
reviewing this title previously released as EMI 49726
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Works on This Recording

1. Four Last Songs, AV 150 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1948; Germany 
Length: 19 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: German 
2. Lieder (3), Op. 88: no 1, Das Bächlein by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1933; Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Richard Strauss, 1940 
3. Lieder (6), Op. 56: no 6, Die heiligen drei Könige by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1906; Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Richard Strauss, 1897 
4. Lieder (4), Op. 36: no 1, Das Rosenband by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Language: German 
5. Lieder (6), Op. 68: no 1, An die Nacht by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Language: German 
6. Lieder (4), Op. 27: no 4, Morgen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Richard Strauss, 1933 
7. Lieder (5), Op. 39: no 3, Der Arbeitsmann by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Length: 3 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Hegel 
8. Lieder (3), Op. 29: no 1, Traum durch die Dämmerung by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1895 
Length: 3 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Richard Strauss, 1933 
9. Lieder (6), Op. 37: no 4, Mein Auge by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Richard Strauss, 1918 
10. Lieder (8), Op. 10: no 1, Zueignung by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Richard Strauss, 1943 
11. Lieder (5), Op. 39: no 4, Befreit by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Length: 5 Minutes 51 Secs. 
12. Lieder (5), Op. 47: no 2, Des Dichters Abendgang by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Length: 5 Minutes 15 Secs. 
13. Lieder (6), Op. 37: no 2, Ich liebe dich by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heather Harper (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 58 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) AV150 (Op. posth): 1. Frühling (Hesse)
Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) AV150 (Op. posth): 2. September (Hesse)
Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) AV150 (Op. posth): 3. Beim Schlafengehen (Hesse)
Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) AV150 (Op. posth): 4. Im Abendrot (Eichendorff)
Das Bächlein Op. 88 No. 1
Sechs Lieder Op. 56: 6. Die heil'gen drei Könige aus Morgenland (Heine)
Das Rosenband Op. 36 No. 1 [with orch.]
Sechs Lieder Op. 68: 1. An die Nacht
4 Lieder Op. 27: 4. Morgen! (Mackay)
5 Lieder Op. 39: 3. Der Arbeitsmann (Dehmel)
Traum durch die Dämmerung Op. 29 No. 1 [with orch.]
6 Lieder Op. 37 [with orch.]: 4. Mein Auge (Dehmel)
Zueignung Op. 10 No. 1
5 Lieder Op. 39: 4. Befreit (Dehmel)
Fünf Lieder Op. 47: 2. Des Dichters Abendgang
6 Lieder Op. 37 [with orch.]: 2. Ich liebe dich (Liliencron)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 never heard such power and beautifull singing September 14, 2012 By Lawrence Ryll Jr. (Saint Louis, MO) See All My Reviews "for many years i read about these songs ,when i finally heard them i was overwhelmrd." Report Abuse
 Really wonderful September 12, 2012 By D. Kaufman (Washington, DC) See All My Reviews "This is a great set--my only lingering is that this should have been recorded ten years earlier. Harper's voice would have had a better bloom." Report Abuse
 A good Straus lieder recording. September 11, 2012 By M. Mitchell (Ajax, ON) See All My Reviews "Straus' last four songs are favourites of mine. I alreadt had 12 recordings of this work on CD ans Hwather Harper's is a good addition. Her singing has the tone for Straus although she does not reach the hights of Swartkopf or Janowitz. Unfortunately Hickox does not the same level" Report Abuse
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