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STRAUSS, R.: 4 Last Songs / 6 Lieder / Ariadne auf Naxos (excerpts)

Composer(s):Strauss, Richard
Artist(s) Halasz, Michael, Conductor • Weimar StaatskapelleMerbeth, Ricarda, soprano
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category OrchestralVocal
Catalogue 8.570283
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

A year before his death in 1948, Richard Strauss composed his masterpiece, Four Last Songs, expressing a calm acceptance of the inevitability of his own death. Meditations on life, death and the transition into ‘the magic circle of the night’, the songs among the most haunting music ever written. In contrast the six Brentano-Lieder are playful, incandescent and virtuosic settings of Clemens Brentano's deeply romantic poems.


Review By Leonard Link,,October 2008

Ricarda Merbeth, soprano - a Naxos discovery in Strauss

The super-budget Naxos label is constantly coming up with surprises, either in composer of whom nobody had ever heard, unusual repertory by "the masters," uncovering the arcane corners of the repertory, or featuring new performers of high quality in their earliest ventures into recording. Here's a Naxos discovery worth sharing: German soprano Ricarda Merbeth, the featured soloist in a new disc of music by Richard Strauss, joined by Michael Halasz and the Weimer Staatskapelle.


Review By ,Fono Forum,July 2008


Review By Mike Ashman,Gramophone,May 2008

Editor's Choice

A fine singer more than a match to the demands Strauss makes on her


Review By Mike Smith,Fine Music,April 2008

Ricarda Merbeth has appeared in a number of Strauss and Wagner roles and obviously has a voice of such power and sensitivity that it fulfills the myriad emotions demanded by such music. Her tone lends warmth to these songs, one can almost feel the residual glow of the setting sun in Im Abendrot and the heart-breaking realization that perhaps, after sharing all life’s troubles and joys, hand in hand, this is finally the approach of our own death. The delicate balancing of the orchestra with the gentle vocal entries allows us to wallow in the poignancy of the imagery. The lesser-known Brentano-Lieder and Aridne auf Naxos are a bonus. I would buy this CD on the strength of the sublime Four Last Songs alone.

Review By David Denton, Naxos,February 2008

There are two very differing ways to approach the Four Last Songs, available recordings almost equally divided between those who see them as orchestrated lieder, and those who take them as an extension to his operas. The German soprano, Ricarda Merbeth, is in operatic mode, her appearance on stage at the Vienna State Opera in some of Richard Strauss’s most sumptuous scores and Wagnerian performances at Beyreuth have created a voice that is fulsome. With a generous vibrato she takes the music straight off the chest, her approach robust and in the third song uses the double meaning that it could be the sleep of death. Thirty years earlier, in 1918, Strauss started work on six settings of poems by Clemens Brentano, the eventual orchestration only completed in 1940. They



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