The four Mädchenblumen
Op 22 are to texts by Felix Dahn, who also provided the verses for Schlichte Weisen
Op 21. Although lacking the obvious charm and immediacy of the latter group, their rather literary sensibility and refined outlines seem to look forward to the Jugendstil or Art Nouveau, an aesthetic that derived its decorative motifs almost entirely from floral imagery. If one can get beyond the slightly sentimental, if not patronizing mindset inherent in comparing girls to particular flowers—in which Dahn’s verses have something of the professorial—the songs themselves deserve better than the comparative neglect with which they have generally been treated (to which admittedly their high tessitura has probably contributed). The complete set was dedicated to Hans Giessen, principal tenor at the Weimar Court Opera to which Strauss was appointed in 1889, and a regular performer of Strauss’s Lieder with the composer himself at the piano.
from notes by Roger Vignoles © 2011