Song of the Day: August 12

Written by Christopher Reynolds


In category: Song of the Day

Published August 12, 2015

(Curator: Christopher Reynolds)

Leontyne Price is the love of my life. I find myself coming back to her in times of trouble, in times of happiness, in times of doubt. Price and the German language are not two things usually thought of as going together, as she made her career out of singing Puccini, Verdi, and Samuel Barber. Here we find her out of her element, yet at the same time completely in her element. This is one of my favorite songs – Strauss sets a poem told from the male perspective – a husband speaks to his wife as she dies – thanking her for everything she has done, comforting her, telling her that she will visit him in dreams. Such a sad song is full of utterances of “Oh Glück” (oh, happiness). It seems strange at first that this is part of an otherwise morbid subject, however the way Leontyne delivers it is anywhere from cheerful. I think one of the greatest moments in musical performance comes towards the end when, on “weinen” (cry), she drops suddenly to the quietest possible dynamic before delivering one of the greatest crescendos in the history of music. This live performance is a rare treat, and contrary to popular belief Leontyne Price delivers one of the greatest performances of a Strauss song.

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