These 1995 settings were the culmination of a lifetime's interest in the work of the great German poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Twice before, Elliot Weisgarber had sought to create a musical interpretation of Rilke's words, the first when he was just 29 years old with an ambitious setting of nine poems for tenor DuBose Robertson and the Vielle Trio. On that occasion he used Jessie Lemont's English translation for his text. In 1962 he began another set of "Rilke Lieder", this time in the original German, completing Eingang that year and Einsamkeit two years later. A third song, Herbsttag was barely begun before he abandoned the project. It was around that time that he was overwhelmed by an unanticipated and intense study of Japanese music and language that would change the direction of his life for many years. In 1995, now in his 70s and having substantially returned to his own cultural roots, Weisgarber once again turned his hand to a setting of Rilke. He chose four dark and mysterious poems. In Herbst, the poet wonders at the earth's annual demise, conjured by the piano in deep, reverential, November-like sonorities. An die Musik, an address to that most fleeting and intangible of arts, is recitative-like in the vocal line with chordal structures predominating once again in the piano. The restlessly moving lines of Herbsttag mark the inevitability of Autumn's swift decline into the long sleep of Winter. In Abend Weisgarber may have saved his best for last. Here, poet and composer together express in lyric beauty the terror and enormity of eternity's transformation.