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Voices of Spring (Frühlingsstimmen) was written by Strauss himself for soprano and orchestra. The text, by the German conductor, librettist, and composer Richard Genée, is both expectant and melancholy (The first verse ends: “Spring awakens in splendor/ Ah! If only all pain/ Could be at an end/ All sorrow/ could fly far away!”). The waltz was originally composed for a performance by the soprano Bianca Bianchini at the Theater an der Wien in 1883; she must have had a tremendously agile voice to navigate the elaborate coloratura Strauss wrote for her.

-John Mangum