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Vier Abschiedslieder, Op 14

First line:
Lass Liebster, wenn ich tot bin

The Abschiedslieder, with their burnished Mahlerian colours and wide-spun melodic arcs, date from the old Vienna rather than the new. They were written in 1920 when the 23-year-old composer was enjoying his greatest successes in the concert hall and opera house; Die tote Stadt was premiered in December that year. The First World War had left a profound impact on his impressionable psyche. Korngold escaped seeing action in the war; aged 18, he was drafted, but was fortunate enough to be recognised by the doctor in charge of his military medical examination; he subsequently became musical director of his regiment. But in the war he lost a favourite uncle and several friends, as well as seeing the city he loved reduced from the heart of Habsburg Europe to a powerless backwater.

Another, more personal situation fed into the tenderness and sorrow of these songs: Korngold was in love with Luzi von Sonnenthal, a young actress from an important Viennese family of thespians, whom he eventually married in 1924; the match initially met with intense disapproval from both families, though, and for some time the pair were forbidden to see each other. The farewell of Korngold’s title is not only to Vienna but to Luzi, for whom he coined a symbolic ‘signature’ motif that appears in the first song. The Abschiedslieder as a whole bring together disparately written texts on the theme of death, love and farewell, beginning with Christina Rossetti’s famous Requiem. The melody of Mond, so geh’st du wieder auf also appears in Korngold’s Piano Quintet, where it forms the basis of the slow movement.

from notes by Jessica Duchen © 2008


Korngold: Sonnett für Wien & other songs
SIGCD160Download only
The exquisite hour
Studio Master: SIGCD072Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


No 1: Sterbelied  Lass Liebster, wenn ich tot bin
author of text
When I am dead, my dearest
translator of text

Track 16 on SIGCD072 [3'46] Download only
Track 2 on SIGCD160 [4'16] Download only
No 2: Dies eine kann mein Sehnen nimmer fassen
author of text

Track 3 on SIGCD160 [2'29] Download only
No 3: Mond, so gehst du wieder auf
author of text

Track 4 on SIGCD160 [4'03] Download only
No 4: Gefasster Abschied  Weine nicht, dass ich jetzt gehe
author of text

Track 17 on SIGCD072 [3'22] Download only
Track 5 on SIGCD160 [3'51] Download only

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