"Allerseelen" ("All Souls' Day") is an art song for voice and piano composed by Richard Strauss in 1885, setting a poem by the Austrian poet Hermann von Gilm from his collection Letzte Blätter (Last Pages). It is the last in a collection of eight songs which were all settings of Gilm poems from the same volume entitled Acht Lieder aus Letzte Blätter (Eight Songs from Last Pages), the first collection of songs Strauss ever published as Op. 10 in 1885, including also "Zueignung" (Dedication) and "Die Nacht" (The Night). The song was orchestrated in 1932 by German conductor Robert Heger.
|Lied by Richard Strauss|
Am Allerseelentag, by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, 1839
|English||All Souls' Day|
|Catalogue||Op. 10 number 8, TrV 141|
|Text||Poem by Hermann von Gilm|
|Composed||31 October 1885|
|Scoring||Voice and piano|
In 1882, Strauss' friend, Ludwig Thuile, introduced Strauss to the poetry of Gilm contained in the volume Letzte Blätter (Last Pages), published in the year of the poet's death, (and the composer's birth), 1864, which contained the poem, Allerseelen. The Opus 10 songs were all intended for the tenor voice and were dedicated to the principal tenor of the Munich Court Opera, Heinrich Vogl. Gilm's poem Allerseelen was well known in Germany; Eduard Lassen had set it several years previously. Strauss completed the song on 3 October, 1885, whilst at Meiningen, where he had started his first job as conductor under Hans von Bülow. The song was given its first public performance at Meiningen in a chamber concert on 5 March, 1886, (along with three other Opus 10 songs ("Zueignung" ("Dedication"), "Nichts" ("Nothing"), and "Die Georgine" ("The Dahlia")), sung by the tenor Rudolf Engelhardt. Whilst Strauss originally conceived of the song as being for a tenor, he did perform it, as accompanist to his wife, Pauline in two concerts in Brussels given in November 1896, and other concerts around Germany in 1898 and 1899. In 1921, during his US tour, he also performed it with the soprano, Elena Gerhardt. Strauss conducted the song for a live radio concert recorded with Soprano Annette Brun and the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana on 11 June 1947.
Interpretations of poem are various. All Souls' Day, (2 November), is the day of the year when people commemorate and recall those dear to them, who have died. Alan Jefferson argues that "...the singer's character is trying to take advantage of the day to revive an old love affair which, it seems, has also died." Others see it more as a supernatural encounter: either the dead lover is communicating with the person setting the table, or the singer is communicating with a departed lover. Norman Del Mar, when discussing the Opus 10 collection, states that "Lastly comes the ever-popular Allerseelen... a broad effusion of Strauss' growing lyricism".
|Allerseelen||All Souls Day|
Stell auf den Tisch die duftenden Reseden,
Place on the table the fragrant mignonettes,
The 1932 orchestration by Heger has the following instrumentation:
- Two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons
- Four french horns, two trumpets, one trombone
- One harp
"Heger's version was acceptable to Strauss, and indeed he conducted it at his own concerts". In 1947 he made a live recording with this version.
- Trenner, page 43.
- Del Mar, pp. 264–7.
- Del Mar, p. 267
- Trenner, Page 48.
- Trenner, page 142-3, 173, 177
- Getz, page 375.
- CD Richard Strauss: Duett Concertino and Der Burger als Edelmann, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, CPO 7779902 (Bonus track 15).
- Jefferson, page 57.
- All Souls' Day: Richard Strauss' Allerseelen
- Del Mar, page 266.
- Jefferson, page 56-7.
- Jefferson, page 57.
- Strauss Allerseelen Opus 10 number 8, arranged for Brass band
- Getz, Christine (2003), The Lieder of Richard Strauss, Chapter 10 (pages 35–382) of The Richard Strauss Companion, Edited by Mark-Daniel Schmid, Praeger Publishers, Westport CT, ISBN 0-313-27901-2.
- Norman Del Mar, Richard Strauss. A Critical Commentary on his Life and Works, Volume 3, London: Faber and Faber (2009) (second edition), ISBN 978-0-571-25098-1.
- Jefferson, Alan. (1971) The Lieder of Richard Strauss, Cassel and Company, London. ISBN 0-304-93735-5
- Trenner, Franz (2003) Richard Strauss Chronik, Verlag Dr Richard Strauss Gmbh, Wien, ISBN 3-901974-01-6.