In Philip Roth's latest novel, Exit Ghost
, his literary alter-ego, Nathan Zuckerman, exclaims after hearing Richard Strauss's "Four Last Songs" that "the composer drops all masks and, at the age of 82, stands before you naked. And you dissolve."
Renee Fleming performs Im Abendrot
, Beim Schlafengehen
. Head Butler
provides some interesting background on Strauss and the different performances.
Through trouble and joy we have
walked hand in hand;
we can rest from our wanderings
now, above the peaceful countryside.
The valleys fall away around us,
the sky is already darkening,
Only a pair of larks still rise
dreamily into the scented air.
Come here, and let them fly
For soon it will be time to sleep
and we must not lose our way
in this solitude.
O broad, contented peace!
So deep in the sunset glow,
How exhausted we are with our wandering
--- can this then be death?