The German love poem Morgen! which is the text of the song was written by Strauss's contemporary, John Henry Mackay, of partly Scottish descent but brought up in Germany.
Strauss had met Mackay in Berlin, and set Morgen! to music on 21 May 1894. It was the one of his four Lieder Opus 27, a wedding present to his wife Pauline. Initially, he set the accompaniment for piano alone, and for piano with violin. It was not until three years later, in 1897, that he arranged the accompaniment for orchestra, still with the violin solo, which is its feature. It remains one of Strauss's best-known and most widely recorded works, and one of his most beautiful songs.
Strauss wrote the serene accompaniment for orchestral strings, with the addition of a solo violin, a harp and three horns. The orchestral strings are muted, and the dynamic throughout is pianissimo or softer. The harp, playing arpeggios, and the solo violin accompany continuously, and the horns do not play until the last few bars when the violin pauses before ending with an ascending phrase. The last chord is joined by a solo horn.
More pieces by Strauss
- Horn Concerto No. 2