The Four Last Songs were among Richard Strauss’ last works. He composed them in 1948, shortly before his death. They are all set to poems, three of them by Hermann Hesse — Frühling (Spring), September, and Beim Schlafengehen (While Falling Asleep) — and one of them by Joseph von Eichendorff — Im Abendrot (At Twilight). These were not initially conceived of as a set of songs, but published in that form after his death and premiered in 1950.
The words and music are calm and contemplative; the last three songs evoke an acceptance of death. The music features melodic interplays between the soprano and the orchestra, subtle chromatic shifts, and lyrical horn passages.
Four Last Songs, Op. Post.
By Richard Strauss
Composed in 1949