Liza Lehmann’s song-cycle In a Persian Garden (1896) is a setting of the Rubáiyát by the Persian mathematician, poet and astronomer Omar Khayyám (1048–1131), as translated by the English poet Edward FitzGerald (1809–1883). In 22 linked parts, four voices convey the text in a number of solos, recitatives, quartets and duets.
Initially turned down by publishers who felt there was no market for this unusual combination, Lehmann’s friend, the society hostess Angelina Goetz, gave a private performance at her salon. Among the guests was music critic Hermann Klein who took the unusual step of writing an enthusiastic review of the work for The Sunday Times.
Publication and performances throughout Britain, the United States and beyond followed this review and the work, especially the tenor solo ‘Ah, moon of my delight’, achieved widespread popularity.