Jessye Norman, born in Augusta, Georgia, was one of the greatest American operatic sopranos of our generation. Her recording of the Vier Letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) with Kurt Masur and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is absolutely sublime. These songs are the last published works of German Romantic composer Richard Strauss, a summation of his life and musical language. I know this sort of thing is not everybody’s cup of tea, but it is both an extraordinary piece of music and a legendary performance. I will ask that this recording be played at my funeral.

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