Morgen (Richard Strauss)

My church home group decided once that we would each share a piece of music that “has touched us in our soul.” For soul music, I nominate Richard Strauss’s songs for soprano and orchestra—almost all of them. I chose Morgen! (Op. 27, no. 4) and Befriet (Op. 39 no. 4). Ravishing is a word that I can use for Strauss’s vocal music. Soul food indeed.

Morgen!is a setting of a poem by Strauss’s contemporary John Henry Mackay (1864-1933), a Scots-born German poet, and is one of a set of four songs composed in 1894 as a wedding for Strauss’s wife.


There are many recordings. I think the best is that made in 1990 by Gundula Janowitz with Richard Stamp and the Academy of London (Virgin Classics). There are many translations of the text. I prefer the English in that by Arlette de Grouchy, used in Janowitz’s recording

Und morgen wird die Sonne wieder scheinen,
und auf dem Wege, den ich gehen werde,
wird uns, die Glücklichen, sie wieder einen,
immitten dieser sonnenatmenden Erde…

Und zu dem Strand, dem weiten, wogenblauen,
werden wir still und langsam niedersteigen.
Stumm werden wir uns in die Augen schauen,
und auf uns sinkt des Glückes stummes Schweigen.
– John Henry Mackay

And tomorrow the sun will shine again,
and on the path that I shall tread
it will again unite us in our happiness
in the midst of this sun breathing earth.

And to the shore, broad and blue with waves,
we shall climb down, softly, slowly.
Silently we shall gaze into each other’s eyes,
and upon us will fall the wordless silence of happiness.
tr. Arlette de Grouchy