Zueignung – Richard Strauss – Track 9

January 25, 2015 — 66 Comments

I have been researching “Der Ring des Nibelungen” the cycle of four operas by German composer Richard Wagner and have been enthralled by them.

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner

I have always enjoyed studying German song especially Lieder, German art songs from the 19th century romantic period.  I find the interplay between the pianist and the singer captivating as each depends on the other in a way that can be quite unique to this genre of music.

One of my favourite composers of Lied, the German word for song, is Richard Strauss and I find myself getting emotionally drawn in to his songs.  Richard Strauss was born in Munich, Germany on the 11th June 1864.  Having a father that was a principal horn player at the Munich Court Opera ensured a passionate music education which resulted in Strauss completing his first composition at the age of 6.

Richard Strauss Aged 22

Richard Strauss Aged 22

In 1874 at the age of 10 he was introduced to the operas of Wagner and though the works were frowned upon at the time by his father they would go on to have a profound influence on Strauss’s work.

Following a brief period at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich where he studied Philosophy and Art History he left to take up his first conducting position.  He was taken under the wing of the renowned German conductor Hans von Bulow at the Meiningen orchestra.  At the age of just 21 Strauss went on to become the principal conductor of the Meiningen orchestra when Hans von Bulow resigned in 1885.

Pauline de Anna Strauss

Pauline de Anna Strauss

Richard Strauss married Pauline de Anna in September 1894 who was acclaimed to be the inspiration of many of his works.  I think that it is these emotions in his pieces that help me to connect with them.  “Zueignung” meaning  ‘Dedication’ is a beautiful song composed by Strauss, it is taken from a poem by Hermann von Gilm zu Rosenegg which Strauss lovingly set to music.

Ja, du weißt es, teure Seele,
Daß ich fern von dir mich quäle,
Liebe macht die Herzen krank,
Habe Dank.

[Hielt ich nicht]1, der Freiheit Zecher,
Hoch den Amethysten-Becher,
Und du segnetest den Trank,
Habe Dank.

Und beschworst darin die Bösen,
Bis ich, was ich nie gewesen,
[Heilig an das Herz]2 dir sank,
Habe Dank.

The translation provided by Lawrence Snyder :

Yes, you know it, dearest soul,
How I suffer far from you,
Love makes the heart sick,
Have thanks.

Once I, drinker of freedom,
Held high the amethyst beaker,
And you blessed the drink,
Have thanks.

And you exorcised the evils in it,
Until I, as I had never been before,
Blessed, blessed sank upon your heart,
Have thanks.

This is a video of my performance of this beautiful song from the “Voice of The Future” competition at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in the summer of 2014. I also managed to record this to go on my album “Canzoni D’Amore”. The header photo of George Todica and me was taken by my Nana the day before the grand finale in Llangollen.

Richard Strauss  Time Magazine 1938

Richard Strauss Time Magazine 1938

Strauss was a prolific composer and wrote many works including solo instrument and orchestra, fabulous Lieder and several Operas until his death in September 1949. I cannot wait to explore more of his repertoire in the years to come including some of his most famous opera roles like that of Salome.

Richard_Strauss-Woche,_festival_poster,_1910_by_Ludwig_Hohlwein

Richard Strauss – Salome Poster – 1910

If you are familiar with any of his works I would love to read what you think and if you have any suggestions regarding songs of his that I could explore then I would appreciate to hear from you :).

66 responses to Zueignung – Richard Strauss – Track 9

  1. 

    Beautiful! Gave me goosebumps!!

  2. 

    Very nice performance. I like a lot of Strauss’ work though I go more for his orchestral works than lieder. A few years ago I did a very deep study of Wagner and spent a lot of time on the Ring Cycle – hate the man, love the music.

    • 

      Thanks Trent, my heads a bit underwater at the moment with my history research of Wagner, did you do any blog posts about your studies. I’m loving the Ring Cycle.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        I’ll look if I did a paper – if so I’ll attach it to my blog – Funny, just today I read an 11 page paper I did on Liszt that mentions Wagner…. I’ll see if I have a Wagner one in the archives.

      • 

        Sorry, but I couldn’t find anything except for passing references. The only reference I could find on my blog is about Wagner’s use of extending “non-harmonic” notes, such as passing tones so unless you study it the chord seems really wild. For instance, the Tristan chord is actually the augmented sixth chord often called “French” in a minor (spelled f-b-d#-a) but there is a passing tone g# which is extended, only hitting the a at the end of the measure before resolving, properly, to the V7. Anyway, I wasn’t that specific in the blog post (which is why I put it here) but this does mention that part of his style: https://trentsworldblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/prelude-in-ab-major/

      • 

        Oh, and I linked to your blog today, but it wasn’t to a specific post so might not have gotten a ping back – I announced I’m going to put a CD on Amazon and thanked you for putting the thought in my head 🙂

      • 

        That’s great Trent 😊

  3. 

    One of my favourite songs of all time – Habe dank! Just heard an interesting radio program on Strauss and his difficulties in the Nazi era.

  4. 

    Fabulous!! I love Wagner and I love your interpretation!!

  5. 

    Great research on Strauss, and I see where you get your inspiration Charlotte. May the Lord continue to bless you through your Walk Through The Garden. May God be glorified in all that you do.

    • 

      The opera is based on the last section of Milton’s book Paradise Lost with Adam and Eve contemplating what they’ve lost and making their way into an unknown world. Thank you for your blessing.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  6. 

    Very nice. Yes, love is the greatest inspiration for creat…:-)….I find this record , it could interest you .http://youtu.be/lTGDru845Wc
    I have actually more listen “Valses” from Strauss than Opéras. There are lot of colors in his work. Have a great week !

  7. 

    Lovely! You’re a very talented lady. 😀

  8. 

    Great performance, Charlotte. Don’t know how you do it. Of his operas the one I like most is Daphne. Of his orchestral works I am happiest with the ‘Indian summer’ works, including the second horn concerto and the oboe concerto.

    • 

      I really need more hours in the week Rod to listen to some of this wonderful music. I try to get along to the 1pm concerts at the conservatoire to widen my musical experiences I must say they are very enjoyable.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  9. 

    I have followed Richard Strauss (no relation to Johann Strauss, etc. by the way) for many years, but have mainly followed his orchestral works rather than his operas, as others have said. Strauss’ ‘Four Last Songs’, a masterwork of his old age, repays a lot of study; and indeed, they could be a life’s work.

    The same could be said of Wagner. The man is controversial, but the music is, again, a life’s work. However, as Wagner’s writing style doesn’t lend itself to being tackled in easy stages (there’s no such thing as ‘Wagner arias’), it’s something that would take a lot of application – but Wagnerians appreciate artists who take the trouble to put the work in.

    • 

      It is so complex a study I hope I do it justice. I must remember to stick to my structure guidelines and not drift off the points in my essay there is so much to take on board. Thank you for your insight.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  10. 

    Love your performance Charlotte and you always find such interesting facts for everyone to read on your blogs. Keep up the good work xx

  11. 

    By co-incidence I have just heard you singing this as my iTunes is on shuffle (though I have many hundreds of arias)! I’m not the greatest fan off Strauss but, like Robert, I love the Four Last Songs. I am quite fond of Rosenkavalier and there are some parts of Ariadne auf Naxos I enjoy… but I prefer the Italian repertoire anytime.

    • 

      I absolutely love that I’m on your shuffle truly that is a lovely compliment. I’ve so much I want to learn I would like to be like Lucy in the new DVD and soak up all of this information at a tremendous rate but as she comes to a grisly end I think I’m best just plodding on.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  12. 

    Lovely performing, I really like your stood there with those flowers in the background and your were singing!

  13. 

    Thanks to internet that works, I finally got to hear you sing 🙂 yay.

  14. 

    Hello,
    You wrote “If you are familiar with any of his works I would love to read what you think…] and asked for suggestions.
    The write a short review of your performance:
    1. Your voice is extraordinary beautiful – you know that a lot of us really are impressed of it.
    So, trust a little bit more in z your voice: a “Lied” lives of the lyrical moment. It is not an opera arid like “nessun dorma” where the 3 time sung (!) c”’ is the moment most people are waiting for. I
    If you study the operas rod Strauss, you will find an element that makes the characters of most of the “Lieder” clearly visible: the wide dynimacal range: look at the end of the great solo of “Salome” where the singer has to change from fortissimi to pianissimi and back: (,,,,Ich habe Deinen Mund geküsst, Jochanaan [fortissimo]… Und das Geheimnis der Liebe ist stärker als das Geheimnis des Todes [diminuendo, followed by pianissimo]. the same examples are to find in all of his operas, very clearly in “Die Frau ohne Schatten” where most arias are more or less Lieder and the ” parlando” opera “Capriccio”.
    This is not an idea I declare, Richard Strauss himself wrote a very similar note concerning Wilhelm Furtwängler. Strauss, one of the most famous conductors of his time, was fascinated by the young and ingenious Furtwängler. So he wrote “Ten rules for a young conductor”. One of them is “If you think, the orchestra is much too silent, reduce (sic!) his the loudness to the half.
    You should really reduce the force you put in your voice
    2. You respect another rule nearly perfect: Hans Hotter, not only an outstanding” Wotan”, but also a famous singer of the German Lied, reminds every singer and the audience:”If you sing a Lied, you are not at all performing an opera. You have to create a drama using only two elements: the voice and the face. Try not to move your body, don’t use your hands: a Lied has to be performed through a voice and a face. Not more, not less. You are doing that nearly exemplary beautiful, not like most singers meaning they have to “act” while singing: that’s perfect!
    3. a Lied singer always must exactly know what she is singing: most “Lieder” are famous German poems. And singing that Lied also means to analyze the poem. The two most important aspects are here: Your audience has to understand what you sing. If I listen to your performance, I don’t need the lyrics: You are singing a superb German! Everybody who is able to speak that language, my mother language, should be able to understand the text you sing. Even if it is hard for a soprano (a baritone is easily able to do that), your German at that performance is simply perfect. I can easily understand any word. A better way is not imaginable. Paradise.
    The other aspect, to understand what you are singing, also seems to be very clear: you put emotion at the right moments in your voice and, if it is in needyou take a more or less neutral point of view. That’s wonderful! Please keep on doing so: never sing words and notes, please keep your perfect way of understanding what you are singing (If you want an example of the opposite, a singing without understanding, you can find tons of Wagner operas where at least some singers seem to cry at the wrong moments and the audience doesn’t unterstand what the singer wants to say – because he also doesn’t know it. A tip: Listen to some performances of the Marinski Theater or some roles of James Morris: In both of the first recordings of “Die Walkure” (studio productions) he demonstrates it, especially in the final scene where exactly at the same important moment he doesn’t sing the right text – only a small error but showing that he didn’t understand the meaning of the words.
    3. You asked for similar examples: the most important stuff is “Four Last songs” by Strauss. His last works are as difficult as wonderful. If I were you, I’d try it. Again, really difficult, but wonderful. (BTW: Strauss wrote much more Lieder, if you spend some hours at the University’s Bibliotheque, you should find some Songs perfect for your needs.)
    And a last advice: You mentioned Wagner. Sing his “Wesendonck-Lieder” again and again: Two of these songs are a kind of miniatures of the Tristan, but not composed for such heavy voices: they should be in perfect harmony with you (tessitura, difficulty, interest in German Lied of the 20th Century: these songs opened the doors for a man like Richard Strauss).
    But also give a Chance to the Lieder of Gustav Mahler. They are as impressive as the works of Strauss, both in the tradition of Wagner, both written at the same time and in the same (historical) greater Germany.
    But to come to an end: You have shown the best possibilities of performing a “Kunstlied”. A beautiful, warm and elegant voice, high capabilities of fascinating your audience only through your voice and all the intelligence that is in need to understand: A Lied is more than another Aria or one-person chorus. You must and have combined the smooth style of a cello solo, the restrictions of an invisible opera singer, the dynamic range of a Wagner orchestra, the ability to understand the text as well as make it understandible like a teacher of a foreign language at an university and the perfect coordination with your partner on the piano (lied is not opera or symphony: the orchestra has to follow your style, not vice versa).
    So, you presented an astonishing and almost perfect performed Lied. Most of the great opera singers also are great Lied singers. Keep on with your studies, your beautiful voice, your enthousiasm and your disciplened way of performing. I’m sure, you have all what is in need to stay and grow to a great opera / Lied / sacral music singer!
    Best wishes: Sascha

  15. 

    Wonderful performance Charlotte. What a very thorough and informative addition to your post by Saschaz3, I enjoyed reading the whole post well done Charlotte.

  16. 

    Enjoyed it Charlotte! The ending verses were very powerful.

    For some reason, I found your ice bucket challenge video too! I must be a proven sadist because I had to laugh at your reaction! Ha ha!

    Have a good week and get ready for some fun filled weather that the U.S. will be sending across the pond soon! Freeeeeezing!

    • 

      That ALS challenge video got more views than my singing lol. I must admit it makes me laugh when I’ve seen it. We’ve been braced for bad weather for a week, it will come when we’re least expecting it. Very windy today.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  17. 

    Bravo dear , sorry no idea but I know Love Can Make The Heart Sick or Thence Love Sick ❤

  18. 

    Wonderful Charlotte! 🙂

  19. 

    I greatly enjoyed your posting performance and it was greatly enhanced by the comments by Saschag3. After his comments I listened again and found my own interest in growing understanding of what you do, and do so well. Miss Piggy would be proud.

    • 

      It’s lovely to hear from you John, yes Sashas comments were most useful for me. If you see Miss Piggy again and she would like a duet Mini Me and I would be there in a flash. 🙂

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  20. 

    Congratulations!!! I listened to your piece! Wonderful

  21. 

    How amazing! Love listening to you 🙂 And hey I learned a new German word (and I am German,lol). I first thought it was a typo for Zuneigung (affection). Your performance is lovely!

  22. 

    Impressive post, as per usual dear Charlotte!. Thanks for sharing… All my best wishes to you!~ Aquileana 😀

  23. 

    Voice of the future is the voice of the present as well ~ beautiful post and once again such a powerful and melodic voice… an incredible and wonderful performance.

  24. 

    Wonderfully captivating

  25. 

    A beautiful performance and a very informative post, Charlotte! 🙂

  26. 

    Charlotte you have got a great voice and you look great great looking young girl

  27. 

    Hat mich sehr zufrieden!

  28. 

    Wunderbar!
    Charlotte, du hast eine fantastische Stimme, die perfekt passend ist für dieses schöne Lied.
    Der Gesangsvortrag gefällt mir sehr, er ist inbrünstig, klar und voller Emphatie. Sehr schön.
    Und ich mag auch dein hübsches Kleid :-).
    Viele Grüße aus dem Land Richard Wagners….
    Rosie

  29. 

    thank you for following my blog. How delightful to learn about your blog.

  30. 

    I was wondering what your source was that states Strauss wrote this for his wife? The dates that I’ve been researching don’t match up as he composed Op. 10 in 1885 and Strauss didn’t meet his wife until 1887 according to http://www.richardstrauss.at/biography.html

    I do believe he wrote other songs for his wife!

    • 

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention, I’ve just been learning and researching Op 27 which were a wedding present for his wife which suggests that Op10 was from a much earlier stage. I didn’t do this research for an essay so I didn’t record the sources. I will edit the post in light of this new information, thank you.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

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