Sagrada Familia del pajarito - B. Murillo
Last year we closed the "Benjamin Britten Year" with two pieces of his A Ceremony of Carols; this week we are closing the "Richard Strauss Year" with two of his lieder, both about Christmas.

Richard Strauss wrote his first two works at the tender age of six. The first one was a polka and the second one was Weihnachtslied (Christmas Song), a short song from the first verse of a poem by Christian Schubart. As you can imagine it's a very simple song, and probably, it's merely an anecdote in Strauss's work but it's also a cute song and it's worth listening to it, at least once. Here you are, performed by Michelle Breedt and Nina Schumann.

Schlaf' wohl du Himmelsknabe du,
Schlaf' wohl du süßes Kind;
Dich fächeln Engelein in Ruh,
Mit sanftem Himmelswind.
Wir arme Hirten singen dir
Ein herzlich Wiegenliedlein für,
Schlafe, Himmelskindlein, schlafe.
Sleep well, you child of heaven,
sleep well, you sweet child;
little angels fan you calmly
with the gentle breeze of Heaven.
We poor shepherds sing for you
a little heartfelt lullaby;
sleep, little child of heaven, sleep. 

(translation by Emily Ezust)
The second Christmas song is Weihnachtsgefühl (Christmas Spirit), written in 1899 from a poem by Martin Greif. Strauss didn't publish it himself, though it belongs to his most prolific lieder composition time; it was published posthumously. I've sometimes mentioned that Strauss songs are characterized by being kind and calm, perhaps nostalgic but hardly ever sad (yes, there are some exceptions); so I was surprised the first time I heard Weihnachtsgefühl. I would say that it's a very sad song, and you might think it isn’t the most appropriate to celebrate Christmas, but there has to be a bit of everything...

I don't want to take too much of your Christmas time, I just wanted to share these two songs. Just one more thing: if possible, don't miss the next week's post. Although released Wednesday 31, it has to do with Twelfth Night and children. If you are busy on the 31st  and you are only on the mood for some waltz on the 1st, then, save it for the 2nd!

And now, Weihnachtsgefühl, performed by Edit Gruberova accompanied by Friedrich Haider.

Merry Christmas!

Naht die jubelvolle Zeit,
Kommt auch mir ein Sehnen,
Längst entfloh'ner Seligkeit
Denk' ich nach mit Tränen.

Und ich schaue wie im Traum
Ihren fernen Schimmer
Weben um den Weihnachtsbaum,
Kehrt sie selbst auch nimmer.

With the time of joy
 There comes to me an image:
 Far-flung bliss,
 And I think of it afterwards with tears.
 And I see, as if in a dream,
 Its far-off glimmer
 Weave around the Christmas tree,
 Never trimming itself. 

(translation by Hyperion Records)


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