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Friedrich Kuhlau (1786–1832), Die letzte Rose, op. 105

Helene Schulthess, Querflöte, die letzte Rose

Friedrich Kuhlau (1786 ‑ 1832)
The last rose, op. 105

Friedrich Kuhlau (1786 ‑ 1832)
The last rose, op. 105

Hardly any other composer of the 19th century wrote so much and at the same time such high-quality music for the flute. About a quarter of his complete works is dedicated to this instrument.

When Friedrich Kuhlau visited Beethoven in 1825, he was greeted with a musical canon in the form of a pun on his name: Cool not lukewarm. And to take the fun even further on this occasion, Beethoven converted this melody to the famous B-A-C-H motif. The melody of the song "die letzte Rose" also inspired Ludwig van Beethoven to write a small set of variations for the same instrumentation.

The Last Rose of Summer

by Suellen Fast, September 2022

Summer’s last rose beside the lily
leaning over the garden’s gate.
Rose and lily beside the vineyard
bow politely and greet their fate.

“Let me guard and watch humbly o’er you
resting near me beneath heavenly snow.”
Calls the black bird to bending lily
and the last rose where stays the crow.

Rosehip garlands around the trellis t
hrough the archway along the pond.
Wind and fall leaves mount up their shelter.
Moves in winter with slumber fond.

“Let me shield and enfold you meekly
Lily dearest and precious rambling rose.
Bows swan’s head before tender fifer,
in whose music, all seek repose.

Autumn pigments paint bare foot path
lined by rows of proud maple trees.
Frosted leaves air-kiss drooping petals
swept up into a shivering breeze.

“Let me keep you and bear you gently
throughout Winter’s long bleakly bitter storm.”
By her rose, slumbers peaceful lily
knowing Spring ‘wakens all new born.

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