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Electrola Collection: Vier Letzte Lieder Orchesterlieder

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Friday Feb 22, 2013
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By 1948, Richard Strauss had already established himself as a world-renowned and highly-respected composer. Many of his operas and symphonic works (including "Der Rosenkavalier" and "Also Sprach Zarathustra" [the theme used for the film "2001"]) have, and will remain, frequently performed repertoire. During this 84th year of his life, he wrote, "Vier letzte Lieder," or "Four Last Songs," based on words by Hermann Hesse ("Siddhartha") and Joseph von Eichendorff.

Anneliese Rothenberger, who died in 2010 at the age of 83, was one of the triumphant sopranos of our time. The German-born singer, known for her gorgeously light and sensitively controlled voice, performed many roles throughout the world from the 1940’s to the 1960’s, and then generated renewed interest in her middle-aged career as a television celebrity. She is best known, however, for her delightful performance of Sophie in the 1961 recording of "Der Rosenkavalier," conducted by Herbert von Karajan.

EMI Classics continues their digital releases of the Electrola Collection, a series of gramophone recordings from the middle of the 20th century, with this collection of art songs by Strauss and Hugo Wolf (1860-1903), performed by Rothenberger. The "Vier letzte Lieder," in addition to five "Orchesterlieder," are ably accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra, under the perfectly controlled baton of Andre Previn. The ten pieces by Wolf, ranging from just over three minutes down to fifty seconds, are scored only with piano accompaniment, and Rothenberger’s angelic voice blends beautifully with pianists Gerald Moore and Günther Weissenborn.

Kudos to EMI for their continued commitment to the preservation of these quality recordings.

"Strauss: Vier letzte Lieder / Wolf: Lieder"
Annaliese Rothenberger / Andre Previn / London Symphony Orchestra
CD and Digital formats
EMI Classics / Electrola Collection

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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