Strauss Four Last Songs
Stephen Johnson considers two works by Richard Strauss, his early tone poem "Death and Transfiguration" and the Four Last Songs with the soprano Katie Van Kooten and the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Juanjo Mena.
These two great works were composed at opposite ends of the composer's life but both are occupied with philosophical ideas of death and the passing over to the next world. "Tod und Verklarung" - Death and Transfiguration - is a symphonic depiction of the subject and was a work that clearly came to mind when the Strauss composed his Four Last Songs in the final years of his life, as he quotes from the tone poem in the music.
Stephen Johnson considers Strauss's attitude to the subject as depicted at the begining and at the end of his life and and unpicks both pieces offering an insight in to their background and musical workings. Complete performances of both pieces were given before an audience at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall.