Two of the three selected Richard Strauss (1864–1949) songs presented in this program are from a set of four that he composed in 1894, all presented as a wedding gift to his wife, soprano Pauline de Ahna, when they married that September. Strauss originally composed the quartet of songs for voice and piano, and finally orchestrated them in 1948. The title of first, “Ruhe, meine Seele!,” Op. 27, No. 1, means “Rest, my soul!” and is based on a poem by Karl Henckell. “Cäcilie,” Op. 27, No. 2, is the second in the set, and takes its text from a poem by Heinreich Hart that was written for his wife, the Cäcilie of the title. The third song, “Pilgers Morgenlied,” Op. 33, No. 4 (or “Pilgrim’s Morning Song”), composed in 1896–97, is one of the composer’s few settings of Goethe. The writer had dedicated this poem to Luise Henriette von Ziegler, whom he met in Darmstadt in 1772 and was a lady-in-waiting at court and one of the “sensitive souls” Goethe met in the city. The Philharmonic first performed “Ruhe, meine Seele” in September 1995, featuring Jessye Norman and conducted by Kurt Masur; most recently, Christoph Eschenbach led Barbara Bonney in the song in March 2001. The New York Symphony (a forebear of the New York Philharmonic) presented “Cäcille” for the first time in November 1904 by Etta De Montjau, conducted by Walter Damrosch; Renée Fleming was the Philharmonic’s most recent soloist for the piece, led by Kurt Masur in September 1997. Richard Strauss himself led David Scull Bispham in the Philharmonic’s first presentation of “Pilgers Mogenlied” in March 1904; Mr. Bispham was also soloist for the only other Philharmonic performances of the work, in February 1911, led by Gustav Mahler.