The songs were written individually in 1948, just a year before Strauss died, aged 84. The popular title was given posthumously.
Strauss’s wish was that the songs be premiered by legendary Norwegian soprano Kirsten Flagstad, and this took place at the Royal Albert Hall soon after. It had an intriguing side-story, being funded to the tune of $4,800 by the Maharajah of Mysore so the songs could be recorded for his collection of 20,000 records.
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