Among the many works that Richard Strauss wrote for his wife Pauline de Ahna, the Four Songs op. 27 occupy a special position, for the composer gave these “to my beloved Pauline” as a wedding present on 10 September 1894. In contrast to the earlier song cycles, this is not limited to a single poet, but rather Strauss combined here poems by Karl Henckell (Ruhe, meine Seele) and Heinrich Hart (Cäcilie) with two texts by John Henry Mackay (Heimliche Aufforderung and Morgen) into a contrasting bouquet of effusive songs.
The first edition of op. 27, published in 1894 for high voice, was followed during the composer’s lifetime by transposed versions for middle and low registers, something that was then to become the rule for all of Strauss’s songs. These transpositions have proven themselves to this day, and this Henle Urtext edition for medium voice also uses them in order to offer this wonderful song cycle to every voice type.
- Four Songs op. 27
- Ruhe, meine Seele
- Heimliche Aufforderung
About the composer
One of the most important opera composers of the twentieth century. His oeuvre comprises fifteen operas, nine symphonic poems, instrumental concerti, and a large number of songs. His stage works are marked by their great variety of genre and subject matter.
|1864||Born in Munich on June 11, the son of Franz Joseph Strauss, principal horn player in the court orchestra. Receives instruction in piano, violin, and composition.|
|1885–86||Conductor at the Meiningen Court Orchestra, initially under the tutelage of Hans von Bülow.|
|1886||Music director at the Munich Court Theatre.|
|1887–1903||He increasingly devotes himself to the symphonic poem, including “Tod und Verklärung” (“Death and Transfiguration”) in C minor, Op. 24; “Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche” (“Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks”) in F major, Op. 28; “Also sprach Zarathustra,” Op. 30; “Symphonia Domestica” in F major for large orchestra, Op. 53.|
|1889–94||Music director in Weimar. First Kapellmeister in Munich in 1894, in Berlin at the Royal Court Opera from 1898–1910.|
|1905||Breakthrough with the premiere of “Salome,” Op. 54.|
|1906||Beginning of his collaboration with Hugo von Hofmannsthal on the harmonically progressive opera “Elektra,” Op. 58, premiered in Dresden in 1909.|
|1911||Sensational premiere in Dresden of “Der Rosenkavalier,” Op. 59, which refers back to operatic tradition and makes him the leading German opera composer. He decides to dedicate himself primarily to operas: “Ariadne auf Naxos,” Op. 60 (1912); “Intermezzo” Op. 72 (1924); “Die ägyptische Helena,” Op. 75 (1928); “Arabella,” Op. 79 (1933); “Die schweigsame Frau,” Op. 80 (1935); “Friedenstag,” Op. 81, and “Daphne,” Op. 82 (1938); “Die Liebe der Danae,” Op. 83 (1944).|
|1919||Director of the Vienna State Opera. Premiere there of “Die Frau ohne Schatten,” Op. 65.|
|1931||Collaboration with Stefan Zweig.|
|from 1944||Composition of his last works: Metamorphosen, for 23 solo strings, Oboe Concerto in D major, Four Last Songs.|
|1949||Death in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on September 8.|