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Strauss belongs, nonetheless, to the great tradition of German lieder. He confessed that sometimes the music within him was so compelling he had to hunt desperately for words to accommodate it. The impression, however, is of words and music belonging inextricably together. The duration of the songs is such that Strauss has no scope to indulge mannerisms that can become tiresome in more extended works. He is invariably concise and economical, rarely allowing the piano much by way of introduction or postlude. The shortest song on the CD is Die Verschwiegenen from Op 10. The words by Hermann von Gilm recount how a jilted girl has told her grief to a series of flowers: but there is no cause for concern, since they are now all dead. Strauss makes of the song a dramatic miniature, pointed and succinct [listen -- track 6, 0:00-0:55]. Most of the songs were written for soprano, with his wife's voice in mind. Op 27, of which there are two songs on the CD, was dedicated to her, and their joint recitals were notably successful, even if Pauline preferred applause to a postlude.

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Copyright © 20 March 2002 Robert Anderson, London, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 901751

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