Ruhe, meine Seele!

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Ruhe, meine Seele!, Op. 27 No. 1, is the first in a set of four songs composed by Richard Strauss in 1894. It was originally for voice and piano, and not orchestrated by Strauss until 1948, after he had completed one of his Four Last Songs, "Im Abendrot".[1] The words are from a poem "Ruhe, meine Seele!" (Rest, my soul) written by the poet Karl Henckell.


Strauss composed the song in May 1894, and that September he gave it as a wedding present to his wife the soprano Pauline de Ahna.

Instrumentation and accompaniment[edit]

The instrumentation is: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets in B, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, 3 trombones, tuba, 3 timpani, celesta, harp and the orchestral string section.[2]

The accompaniment has sombre and ambiguous harmonies, with contrasting calm and tempestuous episodes, and ends peacefully in the home key of C major.


Ruhe, meine Seele![3]

Nicht ein Lüftchen
Regt sich leise,
Sanft entschlummert
Ruht der Hain;
Durch der Blätter
Dunkle Hülle
Stiehlt sich lichter

Ruhe, ruhe,
Meine Seele,
Deine Stürme
Gingen wild,
Hast getobt und
Hast gezittert,
Wie die Brandung,
Wenn sie schwillt.

Diese Zeiten
Sind gewaltig,
Bringen Herz
Und Hirn in Not –
Ruhe, ruhe,
Meine Seele,
Und vergiß,
Was dich bedroht!

Opus 27[edit]

The other songs of Strauss' Opus 27:

  • Op. 27 No. 2 "Cäcilie" (Wenn du es wüßtest)
  • Op. 27 No. 3 "Heimliche Aufforderung" (Auf, hebe die funkelnde Schale)
  • Op. 27 No. 4 "Morgen!" (Und morgen wird die Sonne wieder scheinen)



Orchestral accompaniment:

Piano accompaniment:

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ This is discussed in the essay "Ruhe, meine Seele! and the Letzte Orchesterlieder" by Timothy L. Jackson, in Richard Strauss and his World by Bryan Randolph Gilliam. Strauss orchestrated "Ruhe, meine Seele" just after completing "Im Abendrot" but before completing the other of the Last Four Songs: "Frühling", "Beim Schlafengehen" and "September". The author suggests that the five songs form a unified cycle, with reasons for "Ruhe, meine Seele!" to be performed as a prelude to "Im Abendrot".
  2. ^ Richard Strauss Lieder, Complete Edition Vol. IV, London, 1965, Boosey & Hawkes
  3. ^ "Ruhe, meine Seele!", in Moderne Dichter-Charaktere, p. 288, Leipzig 1885

External links[edit]