Sunday, October 31, 2010


I have always thought that this is georgeous. It is a setting of a love poem by the German poet, John Henry Mackay (he was born in Scotland to a Scottish father).

Mackay is an intriguing figure. He was an individualist anarchist and his most successful book, The Anarchists: a picture of civilization at the close of the nineteenth century, is a marvellous first-hand description of the anarchist movement in the London of his day and is a dramatisation of the debate between the individualist and communist variants of anarchism. He wrote one more political book, The Freedomseeker, which met with little commercial success. As well as his poetry he also wrote defences of pederasty, his own sexual preference, under the pseudonym, Sagitta.

Jessye Norman sings this beautifully, with intensity and tenderness. Richard Strauss wrote the music to express his love for his wife. To whom, though, was the original poem addressed?

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