What is your favorite Strauss The Last Four Songs?

The performances I enjoy are:

1. Karajan with Gundula Janowitz on DG
2. Tennstedt with Lucia Popp on EMI

Are there any other performances you recommend?

Thanks in advance and happy listening.


Truly intense music indeed. There is another recording by Klemperer. That album released by EMI contains Siegfried Idyll (very rare original orchestration version), Mahler Symphony No. 9 and Metamorphosen. As most of Klemperper's interpretations, it is "heavy".

Happy Listening!

I have opted for E. Schwarzkopf/Szell over the Ackerman. Even though Ackerman's earlier version offers a younger Schwarzkopf, I like the maturity of her voice in the Szell version & the classicism of the latter's conductiong.
For the Metamorphosen, I presently favour a Janowitz /Academy of London/R Stamp version on Virgin (which also has the Four Last Songs) -- but I'm sure I need to research this piece better...

Janowitz and Popp are my two favorites, but Barbara Bonney, with only piano accompaniment, is also delightful.

I've enjoyed Norman with Masur for a long time.

Also Schwarzkopf-Szell.

Another winner is the more recent Isokoski-Janowski recording suggested by Dave.



A clear winner for me is Gundula Janowitz with Von Karajan conducting.

One that I am also attached to is Jessye Norman with Kurt Massur conducting.

There are also a good number of others that I like in certain songs in the set but not all four. 

My satisfaction for the two named are because I can find nothing to criticize in them.