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Erich Wolfgang Korngold
1897 - 1957
Czech Republic | Austria
E.W. Korngold
Erich Korngold (29/05/1897 - 29/11/1957), an Austrian composer, from Brno. He wrote operas (e.g. Die tote Stadt (1920), orchestral music, music for piano, violin, songs, etc.
Source:Grove's dictionary of music and musicians
Sterbelied - Requiem
Composed in:1921
Musical form:song
Text/libretto:Christina Rossetti
Label(s):Chandos 9171
In 1993 Chandos released a Korngold album that included the orchestral version of the opus 14 Abschiedslieder (Songs of Farewell), in the quasi-operatic style of Strauss and Mahler, hauntingly sung by contralto Linda Finnie with the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Sir Edward Downes. I wholeheartedly agree with Brendan Carroll who suggests, "They are probably his finest work in the genre". The songs were inspired by the huge loss of life in World War I. Here we have original 1921 version.
'Sterbelied' (Requiem) is a setting of Christina Rossetti's famous verses – "When I am dead, my dearest, Sing no sad songs for me…", the music heartrendingly beautiful in its mournfulness. 'Dies eine kann mein Sehen nimmer fassen' (This one thing my yearning can never understand) mixes defiance, longing and hopelessness; the accompaniment is ravishing. 'Mond, so gehst du wieder auf' (Moon, thus you rise once more) has a beauty that is silvery yet also numb and desolate, the piano part is particularly affecting – a wonderful song. 'Gefasster Abschied' (Resigned Farewell) brings some sign of hope for a new life and future love.
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) was a female British poet. She wrote a poem called Requiem or Song

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

Chr. Rossetti