Richard Strauss
Overview
 
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic
Romantic music
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in Western music history, from 1810 to 1900....

 and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier
Der Rosenkavalier
Der Rosenkavalier is a comic opera in three acts by Richard Strauss to an original German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It is loosely adapted from the novel Les amours du chevalier de Faublas by Louvet de Couvrai and Molière’s comedy Monsieur de Pourceaugnac...

and Salome
Salome (opera)
Salome is an opera in one act by Richard Strauss to a German libretto by the composer, based on Hedwig Lachmann’s German translation of the French play Salomé by Oscar Wilde. Strauss dedicated the opera to his friend Sir Edgar Speyer....

; his Lied
Lied
is a German word literally meaning "song", usually used to describe romantic songs setting German poems of reasonably high literary aspirations, especially during the nineteenth century, beginning with Carl Loewe, Heinrich Marschner, and Franz Schubert and culminating with Hugo Wolf...

er
, especially his Four Last Songs
Four Last Songs
The Four Last Songs for soprano and orchestra were the final completed works of Richard Strauss, composed in 1948 when the composer was 84. Strauss did not live to hear the premiere, given at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 22 May 1950 by the soprano Kirsten Flagstad accompanied by the...

; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Also sprach Zarathustra
Also sprach Zarathustra (Richard Strauss)
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 is a tone poem by Richard Strauss, composed in 1896 and inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical treatise of the same name. The composer conducted its first performance on 27 November 1896 in Frankfurt...

, An Alpine Symphony, and Metamorphosen
Metamorphosen
Metamorphosen, Study for 23 Solo Strings, subtitled "In memoriam", is a composition by Richard Strauss, scored for ten violins, five violas, five cellos, and three double basses. It was composed during the closing months of the Second World War, from August 1944 to March 1945. Strauss dedicated it...

. Strauss was also a prominent conductor throughout Germany and Austria.

Strauss, along with Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

, represents the late flowering of German Romanticism
German Romanticism
For the general context, see Romanticism.In the philosophy, art, and culture of German-speaking countries, German Romanticism was the dominant movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. German Romanticism developed relatively late compared to its English counterpart, coinciding in its...

 after Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

, in which pioneering subtleties of orchestration are combined with an advanced harmonic style.
Strauss was born on 11 June 1864, in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, the son of Franz Strauss
Franz Strauss
Franz Joseph Strauss was a German musician. He was a composer, a virtuoso horn player and accomplished performer on the guitar, clarinet and viola...

, who was the principal horn
Horn (instrument)
The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

 player at the Court Opera in Munich.
Encyclopedia
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic
Romantic music
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in Western music history, from 1810 to 1900....

 and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier
Der Rosenkavalier
Der Rosenkavalier is a comic opera in three acts by Richard Strauss to an original German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It is loosely adapted from the novel Les amours du chevalier de Faublas by Louvet de Couvrai and Molière’s comedy Monsieur de Pourceaugnac...

and Salome
Salome (opera)
Salome is an opera in one act by Richard Strauss to a German libretto by the composer, based on Hedwig Lachmann’s German translation of the French play Salomé by Oscar Wilde. Strauss dedicated the opera to his friend Sir Edgar Speyer....

; his Lied
Lied
is a German word literally meaning "song", usually used to describe romantic songs setting German poems of reasonably high literary aspirations, especially during the nineteenth century, beginning with Carl Loewe, Heinrich Marschner, and Franz Schubert and culminating with Hugo Wolf...

er
, especially his Four Last Songs
Four Last Songs
The Four Last Songs for soprano and orchestra were the final completed works of Richard Strauss, composed in 1948 when the composer was 84. Strauss did not live to hear the premiere, given at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 22 May 1950 by the soprano Kirsten Flagstad accompanied by the...

; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Also sprach Zarathustra
Also sprach Zarathustra (Richard Strauss)
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 is a tone poem by Richard Strauss, composed in 1896 and inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical treatise of the same name. The composer conducted its first performance on 27 November 1896 in Frankfurt...

, An Alpine Symphony, and Metamorphosen
Metamorphosen
Metamorphosen, Study for 23 Solo Strings, subtitled "In memoriam", is a composition by Richard Strauss, scored for ten violins, five violas, five cellos, and three double basses. It was composed during the closing months of the Second World War, from August 1944 to March 1945. Strauss dedicated it...

. Strauss was also a prominent conductor throughout Germany and Austria.

Strauss, along with Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

, represents the late flowering of German Romanticism
German Romanticism
For the general context, see Romanticism.In the philosophy, art, and culture of German-speaking countries, German Romanticism was the dominant movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. German Romanticism developed relatively late compared to its English counterpart, coinciding in its...

 after Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

, in which pioneering subtleties of orchestration are combined with an advanced harmonic style.

Early life and family

Strauss was born on 11 June 1864, in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, the son of Franz Strauss
Franz Strauss
Franz Joseph Strauss was a German musician. He was a composer, a virtuoso horn player and accomplished performer on the guitar, clarinet and viola...

, who was the principal horn
Horn (instrument)
The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

 player at the Court Opera in Munich. In his youth, he received a thorough musical education from his father. He wrote his first composition at the age of six, and continued to write music almost until his death.

During his boyhood Strauss attended orchestra rehearsals of the Munich Court Orchestra, and he also received private instruction in music theory and orchestration from an assistant conductor there. In 1874 Strauss heard his first Wagner operas, Lohengrin
Lohengrin (opera)
Lohengrin is a romantic opera in three acts composed and written by Richard Wagner, first performed in 1850. The story of the eponymous character is taken from medieval German romance, notably the Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach and its sequel, Lohengrin, written by a different author, itself...

and Tannhäuser
Tannhäuser (opera)
Tannhäuser is an opera in three acts, music and text by Richard Wagner, based on the two German legends of Tannhäuser and the song contest at Wartburg...

. The influence of Wagner's music on Strauss's style was to be profound, but at first his musically conservative father forbade him to study it. Indeed, in the Strauss household, the music of Richard Wagner was viewed with deep suspicion, and it was not until the age of 16 that Strauss was able to obtain a score of Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde is an opera, or music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner to a German libretto by the composer, based largely on the romance by Gottfried von Straßburg. It was composed between 1857 and 1859 and premiered in Munich on 10 June 1865 with Hans von Bülow conducting...

. In later life, Richard Strauss said that he deeply regretted the conservative hostility to Wagner's progressive works. Nevertheless, Strauss's father undoubtedly had a crucial influence on his son's developing taste, not least in Strauss's abiding love for the horn.

In 1882 he entered Munich University, where he studied Philosophy and Art History, but not music. He left a year later to go to Berlin, where he studied briefly before securing a post as assistant conductor to Hans von Bülow
Hans von Bülow
Hans Guido Freiherr von Bülow was a German conductor, virtuoso pianist, and composer of the Romantic era. He was one of the most famous conductors of the 19th century, and his activity was critical for establishing the successes of several major composers of the time, including Richard...

, who had been enormously impressed by the young composer's Serenade for wind instruments, composed when he was only 16 years of age. Strauss learned the art of conducting by observing Bülow in rehearsal. Bülow was very fond of the young man and decided that Strauss should be his successor as conductor of the Meiningen orchestra when Bülow resigned in 1885. Strauss's compositions at this time were indebted to the style of Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era....

 or Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

, true to his father's teachings. His remarkably mature Horn Concerto No. 1, Op. 11, is representative of this period and is a staple of modern horn repertoire.

Richard Strauss married soprano Pauline de Ahna
Pauline de Ahna
Pauline Maria de Ahna was a German operatic soprano. She is best remembered today as the wife of composer Richard Strauss who wrote several of his works for her.-Biography:...

 on 10 September 1894. She was famous for being irascible, garrulous, eccentric and outspoken, but the marriage, to all appearances, was essentially happy and she was a great source of inspiration to him. Throughout his life, from his earliest songs to the final Four Last Songs
Four Last Songs
The Four Last Songs for soprano and orchestra were the final completed works of Richard Strauss, composed in 1948 when the composer was 84. Strauss did not live to hear the premiere, given at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 22 May 1950 by the soprano Kirsten Flagstad accompanied by the...

of 1948, he preferred the soprano voice
Soprano
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

 to all others, and all his operas contain important soprano roles.

The Strausses had one son, Franz, in 1897. Franz married Alice von Grab, a Jewish woman, in a Catholic ceremony in 1924. Franz and Alice had two sons, Richard and Christian.

Solo and chamber works

Some of Strauss's first compositions were solo and chamber works. These pieces include: early compositions for piano solo in a conservative harmonic style, many of which are lost; a string quartet (opus 2); a cello sonata; a piano quartet; Violin Sonata in E flat
Violin Sonata (Strauss)
The Violin Sonata in E-flat, Op. 18 was written by Richard Strauss between 1887-1888. Although not considered a milestone in violin literature, it is frequently performed and recorded. It is often noted for its lyrical beauty and its technical demands made on both violinist and pianist...

 (1888); as well as a handful of late pieces.

After 1890 Strauss composed very infrequently for chamber groups, his energies being almost completely absorbed with large-scale orchestral works and operas. Four of his chamber pieces are actually arrangements of portions of his operas, including the Daphne-Etude for solo violin, and the string Sextet which is the overture to his final opera Capriccio
Capriccio (opera)
Capriccio is the final opera by German composer Richard Strauss, subtitled "A Conversation Piece for Music". The opera received its premiere performance at the Nationaltheater München on October 28, 1942. Clemens Krauss and Strauss himself wrote the German libretto...

. His last independent chamber work, an Allegretto in E for violin and piano, dates from 1940.

Tone poems and other orchestral works

Strauss's style began to truly develop and change when, in 1885, he met Alexander Ritter
Alexander Ritter
Alexander Sascha Ritter was a German composer and violinist.He was born in Narva, Estonia. He studied in Frankfurt am Main under Joachim Raff. In 1854 he married Wagner's niece Franziska...

, a noted composer and violinist, and the husband of one of Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

's nieces. It was Ritter who persuaded Strauss to abandon the conservative style of his youth, and begin writing tone poems. He also introduced Strauss to the essays of Richard Wagner and the writings of Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

. Strauss went on to conduct one of Ritter's operas, and at Strauss's request Ritter later wrote a poem describing the events depicted in Strauss's tone poem Death and Transfiguration.

The new influences from Ritter resulted in what is widely regarded as Strauss's first piece to show his mature personality, the tone poem Don Juan
Don Juan (Strauss)
Don Juan, Op. 20 is a tone poem for large orchestra by the German composer Richard Strauss, written in 1888. The composer conducted its premiere on 11 November 1889 with the orchestra of the Weimar Opera, where he served as Court Kapellmeister....

(1888), which displays a new kind of virtuosity in its bravura orchestral manner. Strauss went on to write a series of increasingly ambitious tone poems: Death and Transfiguration (Tod und Verklärung, 1889), Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks (Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, 1895), Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Also sprach Zarathustra (Richard Strauss)
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 is a tone poem by Richard Strauss, composed in 1896 and inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical treatise of the same name. The composer conducted its first performance on 27 November 1896 in Frankfurt...

(Also sprach Zarathustra, 1896), Don Quixote
Don Quixote (Strauss)
Don Quixote, Op. 35, is a composition by Richard Strauss for cello, viola and large orchestra. Subtitled Phantastische Variationen über ein Thema ritterlichen Charakters , the work is based on the novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. Strauss composed this work in Munich in 1897...

(1897), Ein Heldenleben
Ein Heldenleben
Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40, is a tone poem by Richard Strauss. The work was completed in 1898, and heralds the composer's more mature period in this genre...

(A Hero's Life, 1898), Sinfonia Domestica
Symphonia Domestica
Symphonia Domestica, Op. 53 is a tone poem for large orchestra by Richard Strauss. The work is a musical reflection of the secure domestic life so valued by the composer himself and, as such, harmoniously conveys daily events and family life.-History and composition:In 1898, Strauss became the...

(Domestic Symphony, 1903) and An Alpine Symphony (Eine Alpensinfonie, 1911–1915). One commentator has observed of these works that "no orchestra could exist without his tone poems, written to celebrate the glories of the post-Wagnerian symphony orchestra."

Solo instrument with orchestra

Strauss's output of works for solo instrument or instruments with orchestra was fairly extensive. The most famous include two concertos for horn
Horn (instrument)
The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

, which are still part of the standard repertoire of most horn soloists; a Violin Concerto in D minor
Violin Concerto (Strauss)
Richard Strauss's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor, Op. 8, was written in 1881-1882.This violin concerto was written during the composer's teenage years while he was still attending his last two years of school, and is less distinctive than many of his later orchestral works...

; the Burleske for piano and orchestra
Burleske (Richard Strauss)
The Burleske in D minor is a composition for piano and orchestra by Richard Strauss in 1885-86, when he was 21.-Original title and dedication:...

; the tone poem Don Quixote
Don Quixote (Strauss)
Don Quixote, Op. 35, is a composition by Richard Strauss for cello, viola and large orchestra. Subtitled Phantastische Variationen über ein Thema ritterlichen Charakters , the work is based on the novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. Strauss composed this work in Munich in 1897...

for cello, viola and orchestra; the well-known late Oboe Concerto in D major
Oboe Concerto (Richard Strauss)
The Concerto in D major for Oboe and Small Orchestra, AV 144, TrV 292, was written by Richard Strauss in 1945. It was one of the last works he composed near the end of his life, during what is often described by biographers, journalists and music critics as his "Indian summer."-Instrumentation and...

; and the Duet-Concertino for bassoon, clarinet and orchestra, which was one of his last works (1947).

Opera

Around the end of the 19th century, Strauss turned his attention to opera. His first two attempts in the genre, Guntram
Guntram (opera)
Guntram is an opera in three acts by Richard Strauss with a German libretto written by the composer.It was Strauss' first opera and shows a strong Wagnerian influence. The music of Guntram is quoted in Strauss's tone-poem Ein Heldenleben...

(1894) and Feuersnot
Feuersnot
Feuersnot , Op. 50, is a Singgedicht or opera in one act by Richard Strauss. The German libretto was written by Ernst von Wolzogen, based on J. Ketel's report "Das erloschene Feuer zu Audenaerde" in the Oudenaarde Gazette, Leipzig, 1843...

(1901), were controversial works: Guntram was the first significant critical failure of Strauss's career, and Feuersnot was considered obscene by some critics.

In 1905, Strauss produced Salome
Salome (opera)
Salome is an opera in one act by Richard Strauss to a German libretto by the composer, based on Hedwig Lachmann’s German translation of the French play Salomé by Oscar Wilde. Strauss dedicated the opera to his friend Sir Edgar Speyer....

, based on the play by Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

, which produced a passionate reaction from audiences. The premiere was a major success, with the artists taking more than 38 curtain calls. Many later performances of the opera were also successful, not only with the general public but also with Strauss's peers: Maurice Ravel
Maurice Ravel
Joseph-Maurice Ravel was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects...

 said that Salome was "stupendous", and Mahler described it as "a live volcano, a subterranean fire". Strauss reputedly financed his house in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a mountain resort town in Bavaria, southern Germany. It is the administrative centre of the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the Oberbayern region, and the district is on the border with Austria...

 completely from the revenues generated by the opera.

Strauss's next opera was Elektra
Elektra (opera)
Elektra is a one-act opera by Richard Strauss, to a German-language libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, which he adapted from his 1903 drama Elektra. The opera was the first of many collaborations between Strauss and Hofmannsthal...

(1909), which took his use of dissonance even further, in particular with the Elektra chord
Elektra chord
The Elektra chord is a "complexly dissonant signature-chord" and motivic elaboration used by composer Richard Strauss to represent the title character of his opera Elektra that is a "bitonal synthesis of E major and C-sharp major" and may be regarded as a polychord related to conventional chords...

. Elektra was also the first opera in which Strauss collaborated with the poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Hugo Laurenz August Hofmann von Hofmannsthal ; , was an Austrian novelist, librettist, poet, dramatist, narrator, and essayist.-Early life:...

. The two subsequently worked together on numerous occasions. For his later works with Hofmannsthal, Strauss moderated his harmonic language somewhat, which resulted in operas such as Der Rosenkavalier
Der Rosenkavalier
Der Rosenkavalier is a comic opera in three acts by Richard Strauss to an original German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It is loosely adapted from the novel Les amours du chevalier de Faublas by Louvet de Couvrai and Molière’s comedy Monsieur de Pourceaugnac...

(1911) having great public success. Strauss continued to produce operas at regular intervals until 1942. With Hofmannsthal he created Ariadne auf Naxos
Ariadne auf Naxos
Ariadne auf Naxos is an opera by Richard Strauss with a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Bringing together slapstick comedy and consuming beautiful music, the opera's theme is the competition between high and low art for the public's attention.- First version :The opera was originally...

(1912), Die Frau ohne Schatten
Die Frau ohne Schatten
Die Frau ohne Schatten is an opera in three acts by Richard Strauss with a libretto by his long-time collaborator, the poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It was written between 1911 and either 1915 or 1917...

(1918), Die ägyptische Helena
Die ägyptische Helena
Die ägyptische Helena is an opera in two acts by Richard Strauss to a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It premiered at the Dresden Semperoper on June 6, 1928...

(1927), and Arabella
Arabella
Arabella is a lyric comedy or opera in 3 acts by Richard Strauss to a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, their sixth and last operatic collaboration. It was first performed on 1 July 1933, at the Dresden Sächsisches Staatstheater....

(1932). For Intermezzo
Intermezzo (opera)
Intermezzo is an opera in two acts by Richard Strauss to his own German libretto, described as a Bürgerliche Komödie mit sinfonischen Zwischenspielen . It premiered at the Dresden Semperoper on November 4, 1924, with sets that reproduced Strauss' home in Garmisch...

(1923) Strauss provided his own libretto. Die schweigsame Frau
Die schweigsame Frau
Die schweigsame Frau is an opera in three acts by Richard Strauss with libretto by Stefan Zweig after Ben Jonson's Epicoene, or the Silent Woman.-Performance history:...

(1934), was composed with Stefan Zweig
Stefan Zweig
Stefan Zweig was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer. At the height of his literary career, in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most famous writers in the world.- Biography :...

 as librettist; Friedenstag
Friedenstag
Friedenstag is an opera in one act by Richard Strauss, his Opus 81, to a German libretto by Joseph Gregor. Strauss had hoped to work again with Stefan Zweig on a new project after their previous collaboration of Die schweigsame Frau, but the Nazi authorities had harassed Strauss over his...

(1935–6) and Daphne
Daphne (opera)
Daphne is an opera in one act by Richard Strauss, his 13th opera, subtitled "A Bucolic Tragedy in One Act". The German libretto was by Joseph Gregor. The opera is based loosely on a myth from Ovid's Metamorphoses, and also includes elements taken from The Bacchae by Euripides...

(1937) both had a libretto by Joseph Gregor and Stefan Zweig; and Die Liebe der Danae
Die Liebe der Danae
Die Liebe der Danae is an opera in three acts by Richard Strauss to a February 1937 German libretto by Joseph Gregor, based on an outline written in 1920, "Danae, or The Marriage of Convenience", by Hugo Hofmannsthal...

(1940) was with Joseph Gregor. Strauss's final opera, Capriccio
Capriccio (opera)
Capriccio is the final opera by German composer Richard Strauss, subtitled "A Conversation Piece for Music". The opera received its premiere performance at the Nationaltheater München on October 28, 1942. Clemens Krauss and Strauss himself wrote the German libretto...

(1942), had a libretto by Clemens Krauss
Clemens Krauss
Clemens Heinrich Krauss was an Austrian conductor and opera impresario, particularly associated with the music of Richard Strauss.-Biography:...

, although the genesis for it came from Stefan Zweig and Joseph Gregor.

Lieder

All his life Strauss produced Lied
Lied
is a German word literally meaning "song", usually used to describe romantic songs setting German poems of reasonably high literary aspirations, especially during the nineteenth century, beginning with Carl Loewe, Heinrich Marschner, and Franz Schubert and culminating with Hugo Wolf...

er
. The Four Last Songs
Four Last Songs
The Four Last Songs for soprano and orchestra were the final completed works of Richard Strauss, composed in 1948 when the composer was 84. Strauss did not live to hear the premiere, given at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 22 May 1950 by the soprano Kirsten Flagstad accompanied by the...

are among his best known, along with "Zueignung", "Cäcilie
Cäcilie (Richard Strauss)
Cäcilie, Op. 27 No. 2, is the second in a set of four songs composed by Richard Strauss in 1894.The words are from a love poem "Cäcilie" written by Heinrich Hart , a German dramatic critic and journalist who also wrote poetry...

"
, "Morgen!", "Allerseelen", and others. In 1948, Strauss wrote his last work, the masterful and haunting Four Last Songs for soprano and orchestra. He reportedly composed them with Kirsten Flagstad
Kirsten Flagstad
Kirsten Målfrid Flagstad was a Norwegian opera singer and a highly regarded Wagnerian soprano...

 in mind, and she gave the first performance, which was recorded. Strauss's songs have always been popular with audiences and performers, and are generally considered – along with many of his other compositions – to be masterpieces of the first rank.

The Nazi Reich forms the Reichsmusikkammer

In March 1933, when Richard Strauss was 68, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and the Nazi Party rose to power. Strauss never joined the Nazi party, and studiously avoided Nazi forms of greeting. For reasons of expediency, however, he was initially drawn into cooperating with the early Nazi regime in the hope that Hitler – an ardent Wagnerian and music lover who had admired Strauss's work since viewing Salome in 1907 – would promote German art and culture. Strauss's need to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law and Jewish grandchildren also motivated his behavior, in addition to his determination to preserve and conduct the music of banned composers such as Mahler and Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy
Claude-Achille Debussy was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures working within the field of impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions...

.

In 1933, Strauss wrote in his private notebook:


I consider the Streicher-Goebbels Jew-baiting as a disgrace to German honour, as evidence of incompetence – the basest weapon of untalented, lazy mediocrity against a higher intelligence and greater talent.


Meanwhile, far from being an admirer of Strauss's work, Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

 maintained expedient cordiality with Strauss only for a period. Goebbels wrote in his diary:

Unfortunately we still need him, but one day we shall have our own music and then we shall have no further need of this decadent neurotic.

Nevertheless, because of Strauss's international eminence, in November 1933 he was appointed to the post of president of the Reichsmusikkammer
Reichsmusikkammer
The Reichsmusikkammer was a Nazi institution. It promoted "good German music" which was composed by Aryans and seen as consistent with Nazi ideals, while suppressing other, "degenerate" music, which included atonal music, jazz, and music by Jewish composers...

, the State Music Bureau. Strauss, who had lived through numerous political regimes and had no interest in politics, decided to accept the position but to remain apolitical, a decision which would eventually become untenable. He wrote to his family, "I made music under the Kaiser, and under Ebert
Friedrich Ebert
Friedrich Ebert was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany .When Ebert was elected as the leader of the SPD after the death of August Bebel, the party members of the SPD were deeply divided because of the party's support for World War I. Ebert supported the Burgfrieden and...

. I'll survive under this one as well." In 1935 he wrote in his journal:

In November of 1933, the minister Goebbels nominated me president of the Reichsmusikkammer without obtaining my prior agreement. I was not consulted. I accepted this honorary office because I hoped that I would be able to do some good and prevent worse misfortunes, if from now onwards German musical life were going to be, as it was said, "reorganized" by amateurs and ignorant place-seekers.


Strauss privately scorned Goebbels and called him "a pipsqueak." Strauss wanted Goebbels' cooperation, however, in extending the German music copyright laws from 30 years to 50 years, so in 1933 Strauss dedicated an orchestral song, Das Bächlein ("The Little Brook") to him.

Strauss attempted to ignore Nazi bans on performances of works by Debussy, Mahler, and Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

. He also continued to work on a comic opera, Die schweigsame Frau
Die schweigsame Frau
Die schweigsame Frau is an opera in three acts by Richard Strauss with libretto by Stefan Zweig after Ben Jonson's Epicoene, or the Silent Woman.-Performance history:...

, with his Jewish friend and librettist Stefan Zweig
Stefan Zweig
Stefan Zweig was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer. At the height of his literary career, in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most famous writers in the world.- Biography :...

. When the opera was premiered in Dresden in 1935, Strauss insisted that Zweig's name appear on the theatrical billing, much to the ire of the Nazi regime. Hitler and Goebbels avoided attending the opera, and it was halted after three performances and subsequently banned by the Third Reich.

On 17 June 1935, Strauss wrote a letter to Stefan Zweig, in which he stated:


Do you believe I am ever, in any of my actions, guided by the thought that I am 'German'? Do you suppose Mozart was consciously 'Aryan' when he composed? I recognise only two types of people: those who have talent and those who have none.


This letter to Zweig was intercepted by the Gestapo
Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

 and sent to Hitler. Strauss was subsequently dismissed as Reichsmusikkammer president in 1935. The 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics
1936 Summer Olympics
The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona...

 nevertheless used Strauss's Olympische Hymne
Olympische Hymne
Olympische Hymne is a composition for orchestra and mixed chorus by Richard Strauss.In 1932, Richard Strauss was approached by Dr. Theodor Lewald, the German Olympic Committee’s representative to the International Olympic Committee . The German committee desired an anthem composed for the 1936...

, which he had composed in 1934. Strauss's seeming relationship with the Nazis in the 1930s attracted criticism from some noted musicians, including Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini was an Italian conductor. One of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and 20th century, he was renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his photographic memory...

. When Strauss accepted the presidency of the Reichsmusikkammer in 1933, Toscanini had said, "To Strauss the composer I take off my hat; to Strauss the man I put it back on again." Much of Strauss's motivation in his conduct during the Third Reich was, however, to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law Alice and his Jewish grandchildren from persecution. Both of his grandsons were bullied at school, but Strauss used his considerable influence to prevent the boys or their mother from being sent to concentration camps
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps set up in Germany were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime...

.

Friedenstag

In 1938, when the entire nation was preparing for war, Strauss created Friedenstag
Friedenstag
Friedenstag is an opera in one act by Richard Strauss, his Opus 81, to a German libretto by Joseph Gregor. Strauss had hoped to work again with Stefan Zweig on a new project after their previous collaboration of Die schweigsame Frau, but the Nazi authorities had harassed Strauss over his...

(Peace Day), a one-act opera set in a besieged fortress during the Thirty Years War. The work is essentially a hymn to peace and a thinly veiled criticism of the Third Reich. With its contrasts between freedom and enslavement, war and peace, light and dark, this work has a close affinity with Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

's Fidelio
Fidelio
Fidelio is a German opera in two acts by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is Beethoven's only opera. The German libretto is by Joseph Sonnleithner from the French of Jean-Nicolas Bouilly which had been used for the 1798 opera Léonore, ou L’amour conjugal by Pierre Gaveaux, and for the 1804 opera Leonora...

. Productions of the opera ceased shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939.
When his Jewish daughter-in-law Alice was placed under house arrest in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a mountain resort town in Bavaria, southern Germany. It is the administrative centre of the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the Oberbayern region, and the district is on the border with Austria...

 in 1938, Strauss used his connections in Berlin, including the Berlin intendant Heinz Tietjen
Heinz Tietjen
Heinz Tietjen was a German conductor and music producer born in Tangier, Morocco.- Biography :At age twenty-three, he held the position of producer at the Opera House in Trier and was appointed its director in 1907, holding the dual roles until 1922...

, to secure her safety. He drove to the Theresienstadt concentration camp
Theresienstadt concentration camp
Theresienstadt concentration camp was a Nazi German ghetto during World War II. It was established by the Gestapo in the fortress and garrison city of Terezín , located in what is now the Czech Republic.-History:The fortress of Terezín was constructed between the years 1780 and 1790 by the orders...

 in order to argue, albeit unsuccessfully, for the release of his son Franz's Jewish mother-in-law, Marie von Grab. Strauss also wrote several letters to the SS
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 pleading for the release of her children who were also held in camps; his letters were ignored.

In 1942, Strauss moved with his family back to Vienna, where Alice and her children could be protected by Baldur von Schirach
Baldur von Schirach
Baldur Benedikt von Schirach was a Nazi youth leader later convicted of being a war criminal. Schirach was the head of the Hitler-Jugend and Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter of Vienna....

, the Gauleiter
Gauleiter
A Gauleiter was the party leader of a regional branch of the NSDAP or the head of a Gau or of a Reichsgau.-Creation and Early Usage:...

 of Vienna. Strauss was unable, however, to protect his Jewish relatives completely; in early 1944, while Strauss was away, Alice and his son Franz were abducted by the Gestapo and imprisoned for two nights. Only Strauss's personal intervention at this point was able to save them, and he was able to take the two of them back to Garmisch, where they remained under house arrest until the end of the war.

Metamorphosen

Strauss completed the composition of Metamorphosen
Metamorphosen
Metamorphosen, Study for 23 Solo Strings, subtitled "In memoriam", is a composition by Richard Strauss, scored for ten violins, five violas, five cellos, and three double basses. It was composed during the closing months of the Second World War, from August 1944 to March 1945. Strauss dedicated it...

, a work for 23 solo strings, in 1945. The title and inspiration for the work comes from a profoundly self-examining poem by Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

, which Strauss had considered setting as a choral work. Generally regarded as one of the masterpieces of the string repertoire, Metamorphosen contains Strauss's most sustained outpouring of tragic emotion. Conceived and written during the blackest days of World War II, the piece is commonly seen as expression of Strauss's mourning of, among other things, the destruction of German culture – including the bombing of every great opera house in the nation; although this view may not be exactly accurate. At the end of the war, Strauss wrote in his private diary:


The most terrible period of human history is at an end, the twelve year reign of bestiality, ignorance and anti-culture under the greatest criminals, during which Germany's 2000 years of cultural evolution met its doom.


In April 1945, Strauss was apprehended by American soldiers at his Garmisch estate. As he descended the staircase he announced to Lieutenant Milton Weiss of the U.S. Army, "I am Richard Strauss, the composer of Rosenkavalier and Salome." Lt. Weiss, who, as it happened, was also a musician, nodded in recognition. An 'Off Limits' sign was subsequently placed on the lawn to protect Strauss. The American oboist
Oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

 John de Lancie
John de Lancie (oboist)
For his son, the actor, please see John de LancieJohn de Lancie was an American musician who served as the principal oboist of the Philadelphia Orchestra for many years.-Career:...

, who knew Strauss's orchestral writing for oboe thoroughly, was in the U.S. Army unit which occupied the area; he asked Strauss to compose an oboe concerto. Initially dismissive of the idea, Strauss completed this late masterpiece, his Oboe Concerto
Oboe Concerto (Richard Strauss)
The Concerto in D major for Oboe and Small Orchestra, AV 144, TrV 292, was written by Richard Strauss in 1945. It was one of the last works he composed near the end of his life, during what is often described by biographers, journalists and music critics as his "Indian summer."-Instrumentation and...

, before the end of the year.

Post World War II works

The metaphor "Indian Summer
Indian summer
An Indian summer is a meteorological phenomenon that occurs in the autumn. It refers to a period of considerably above normal temperatures, accompanied by dry and hazy conditions, usually after there has been a killing frost...

" is often used by journalists, biographers, and music critics to describe Strauss's late upsurge of genius from 1942 through the end of his life. The horrifying events of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 seemed to bring the composer – who had grown old, tired, and a little jaded – into focus. The major works of the last years of Strauss's life, written in his late 70s and 80s, have a luminosity which matches anything he had composed earlier in his life, and they surpass most of them in emotional depth. These pieces include, among others, his Horn Concerto No. 2, Metamorphosen, his Oboe Concerto, and his masterful and haunting Four Last Songs
Four Last Songs
The Four Last Songs for soprano and orchestra were the final completed works of Richard Strauss, composed in 1948 when the composer was 84. Strauss did not live to hear the premiere, given at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 22 May 1950 by the soprano Kirsten Flagstad accompanied by the...

.

The Four Last Songs, composed shortly before Strauss's death, deal poetically with the subject of dying. The last, "At Sunset" (Im Abendrot), ends with the line "Is this perhaps death?" The question is not answered in words, but instead Strauss quotes the "transfiguration theme" from his earlier tone poem, Death and Transfiguration – symbolizing the transfiguration and fulfillment of the soul after death.

Death and legacy

Richard Strauss died at the age of 85 on 8 September 1949, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a mountain resort town in Bavaria, southern Germany. It is the administrative centre of the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the Oberbayern region, and the district is on the border with Austria...

, Germany. Georg Solti
Georg Solti
Sir Georg Solti, KBE, was a Hungarian-British orchestral and operatic conductor. He was a major classical recording artist, holding the record for having received the most Grammy Awards, having personally won 31 as a conductor, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to his...

, who had arranged Strauss's 85th birthday celebration, also directed an orchestra during Strauss's burial. During the singing of the famous trio from Rosenkavalier, Solti described how "each singer broke down in tears and dropped out of the ensemble, but they recovered themselves and we all ended together." Strauss's wife, Paulina, died eight months later, on 13 May 1950, at the age of 88.

During his lifetime Strauss was considered the greatest composer of the first half of the 20th century, and his music had a profound influence on the development of 20th-century music. There were few 20th-century composers who compared with Strauss in terms of orchestral imagination, and no composer since Wagner made a more significant contribution to the history of opera. And Strauss's late works, modelled on "the divine Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 at the end of a life full of thankfulness," are perhaps the most remarkable works by any octogenarian composer.

Strauss himself declared in 1947 with characteristic self-deprecation, "I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer." The Canadian pianist Glenn Gould described Strauss in 1962 as "the greatest musical figure who has lived in this century."

Strauss as a conductor

Strauss, as conductor, made a large number of recordings, both of his own music as well as music by German and Austrian composers.

His 1929 performances of Till Eulenspiegel and Don Juan
Don Juan (Strauss)
Don Juan, Op. 20 is a tone poem for large orchestra by the German composer Richard Strauss, written in 1888. The composer conducted its premiere on 11 November 1889 with the orchestra of the Weimar Opera, where he served as Court Kapellmeister....

with the Berlin State Opera Orchestra have long been considered the best of his early electrical recordings; even the original 78 rpm discs had superior sound for their time, and the performances were top-notch and quite exciting at times, despite a noticeable mistake by the Horn soloist in the famous opening passage of Till Eulenspiegel.

One of the more interesting of Strauss's recordings is perhaps the first complete performance of his An Alpine Symphony, made in 1941 and later released by EMI
EMI
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

, because Strauss used the full complement of percussion instruments required in this spectacular symphony. The intensity of the performance rivaled that of the digital recording Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan was an Austrian orchestra and opera conductor. To the wider world he was perhaps most famously associated with the Berlin Philharmonic, of which he was principal conductor for 35 years...

 made many years later with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Music critic Harold C. Schonberg
Harold C. Schonberg
Harold Charles Schonberg was an American music critic and journalist, most notably for The New York Times. He was the first music critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism...

 in The Great Conductors (1967), says that while Strauss was a very fine conductor, he often put scant effort into his recordings. Schonberg focused primarily on Strauss's recordings of Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G minor
Symphony No. 40 (Mozart)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his Symphony No. 40 in G minor, KV. 550, in 1788. It is sometimes referred to as the "Great G minor symphony," to distinguish it from the "Little G minor symphony," No. 25. The two are the only minor key symphonies Mozart wrote....

 and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7
Symphony No. 7 (Beethoven)
Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, in 1811, was the seventh of his nine symphonies. He worked on it while staying in the Bohemian spa town of Teplice in the hope of improving his health. It was completed in 1812, and was dedicated to Count Moritz von Fries.At its debut,...

, as well as noting that Strauss played a breakneck version of Beethoven's 9th Symphony
Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)
The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best known works of the Western classical repertoire, and has been adapted for use as the European Anthem...

 in about 45 minutes. Concerning the Beethoven 7th symphony, Schonberg wrote, "There is almost never a ritard or a change in expression or nuance. The slow movement is almost as fast as the following vivace; and the last movement, with a big cut in it, is finished in 4 minutes, 25 seconds. (It should run between 7 and 8 minutes.)" Schonberg also complained that the Mozart symphony had "no force, no charm, no inflection, with a metronomic rigidity."

Peter Gutmann's 1994 review for ClassicalNotes.com says the performances of the Beethoven 5th and 7th symphonies, as well as Mozart's last three symphonies, are actually quite good, even if they are sometimes unconventional. Gutman wrote:

The Koch
Koch Records
E1 Music , the primary subsidiary of E1 Entertainment LP, is the largest independent record label in the United States. It is also distributed by the Universal Music Group in Europe under the name E1 Universal...

 CDs represent all of Strauss's recordings of works by other composers. The best of his readings of his own famous tone poems and other music are collected on DGG 429 925-2, 3 CDs. It is true, as the critics suggest, that the readings forego overt emotion, but what emerges instead is a solid sense of structure, letting the music speak convincingly for itself. It is also true that Strauss's tempos are generally swift, but this, too, contributes to the structural cohesion and in any event is fully in keeping with our modern outlook in which speed is a virtue and attention spans are defined more by MTV clips and news sound bites than by evenings at the opera and thousand page novels.


Koch Legacy
Koch Records
E1 Music , the primary subsidiary of E1 Entertainment LP, is the largest independent record label in the United States. It is also distributed by the Universal Music Group in Europe under the name E1 Universal...

 has also released Strauss's recordings of overtures by Gluck
Christoph Willibald Gluck
Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck was an opera composer of the early classical period. After many years at the Habsburg court at Vienna, Gluck brought about the practical reform of opera's dramaturgical practices that many intellectuals had been campaigning for over the years...

, Carl Maria von Weber
Carl Maria von Weber
Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber was a German composer, conductor, pianist, guitarist and critic, one of the first significant composers of the Romantic school....

, Peter Cornelius
Peter Cornelius
Carl August Peter Cornelius was a German composer, writer about music, poet and translator. He was born and died in Mainz where his grave in the Hauptfriedhof survives....

, and Wagner. The preference for German and Austrian composers in Germany in the 1920s through the 1940s was typical of the German nationalism that existed after World War I. Strauss clearly capitalized on national pride for the great German-speaking composers.

There were many other recordings, including some taken from radio broadcasts and concerts, during the 1930s and early 1940s. The sheer volume of recorded performances would undoubtedly yield some definitive performances from a very capable and rather forward-looking conductor.

In 1944, Strauss celebrated his 80th birthday and conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in recordings of his own major orchestral works, as well as his seldom-heard Schlagobers ("Whipped Cream") ballet music. Some find more feeling in these performances than in Strauss's earlier recordings, which were recorded on the Magnetophon
Magnetophon
Magnetophon was the brand or model name of the pioneering reel-to-reel tape recorder developed by engineers of the German electronics company AEG in the 1930s, based on the magnetic tape invention by Fritz Pfleumer...

 tape recording equipment. Vanguard Records
Vanguard Records
Vanguard Records is a record label set up in 1950 by brothers Maynard and Seymour Solomon in New York. It started as a classical label, but is perhaps best known for its catalogue of recordings by a number of pivotal folk and blues artists from the 1960s; the Bach Guild was a subsidiary...

 later issued the recordings on LPs. Some of these recordings have been reissued on CD by Preiser and are of remarkable fidelity.

Strauss also made live-recording player piano
Player piano
A player piano is a self-playing piano, containing a pneumatic or electro-mechanical mechanism that operates the piano action via pre-programmed music perforated paper, or in rare instances, metallic rolls. The rise of the player piano grew with the rise of the mass-produced piano for the home in...

 music rolls for the Hupfeld system, all of which survive today.

Richard Strauss was the composer of the music on the first CD to be commercially released: Deutsche Grammophon
Deutsche Grammophon
Deutsche Grammophon is a German classical record label which was the foundation of the future corporation to be known as PolyGram. It is now part of Universal Music Group since its acquisition and absorption of PolyGram in 1999, and it is also UMG's oldest active label...

's 1983 release of their 1980 recording of Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan was an Austrian orchestra and opera conductor. To the wider world he was perhaps most famously associated with the Berlin Philharmonic, of which he was principal conductor for 35 years...

 conducting the Alpine Symphony.

Ballet music

  • Josephslegende (The Legend of Joseph), Op. 63 (1914)
  • Schlagobers (Whipped Cream), Op. 70 (1921/2)

Tone poems

  • Aus Italien
    Aus Italien
    Aus Italien, Op. 16 is a tone poem for full orchestra composed by Richard Strauss in 1886. It was inspired by the composer's visit to Italy in the summer of the same year, where he travelled to Rome, Bologna, Naples, Sorrento, Salerno, and Capri...

    (From Italy), Op. 16 (1886)
  • Don Juan
    Don Juan (Strauss)
    Don Juan, Op. 20 is a tone poem for large orchestra by the German composer Richard Strauss, written in 1888. The composer conducted its premiere on 11 November 1889 with the orchestra of the Weimar Opera, where he served as Court Kapellmeister....

    , Op. 20 (1889)
  • Macbeth
    Macbeth (Strauss)
    Macbeth is a symphonic poem written by Richard Strauss between 1886 and 1888. The work was his first tone poem, which Strauss described as "a completely new path" for him compositionally...

    , Op. 23 (1888/90)
  • Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration), Op. 24 (1888–89)
  • Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks), Op. 28 (1895)
  • Also sprach Zarathustra
    Also sprach Zarathustra (Richard Strauss)
    Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 is a tone poem by Richard Strauss, composed in 1896 and inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical treatise of the same name. The composer conducted its first performance on 27 November 1896 in Frankfurt...

    (Thus Spake Zarathustra), Op. 30 (1896)
  • Don Quixote
    Don Quixote (Strauss)
    Don Quixote, Op. 35, is a composition by Richard Strauss for cello, viola and large orchestra. Subtitled Phantastische Variationen über ein Thema ritterlichen Charakters , the work is based on the novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. Strauss composed this work in Munich in 1897...

    , Op. 35 (1898)
  • Ein Heldenleben
    Ein Heldenleben
    Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40, is a tone poem by Richard Strauss. The work was completed in 1898, and heralds the composer's more mature period in this genre...

    (A Hero's Life), Op. 40 (1899)
  • Symphonia Domestica
    Symphonia Domestica
    Symphonia Domestica, Op. 53 is a tone poem for large orchestra by Richard Strauss. The work is a musical reflection of the secure domestic life so valued by the composer himself and, as such, harmoniously conveys daily events and family life.-History and composition:In 1898, Strauss became the...

    (Domestic Symphony), Op. 53 (1904)
  • Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony), Op. 64 (1915)

Other orchestral works

  • Symphony in D minor (1880)
  • Symphony No. 2 in F minor
    Symphony No. 2 (Strauss)
    The Symphony No. 2 in F minor was written by Richard Strauss between 1883 and 1884. It is sometimes referred to as just Symphony in F minor. He gave it the Opus number 12, and it also appears in other catalogues as TrV 126 and Hanstein A.I.2...

    , Op. 12 (1883)
  • Festive Prelude for orchestra with organ (1913)
  • Le Bourgeois gentilhomme
    Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (Strauss)
    Le bourgeois gentilhomme, Op. 60, is an orchestral suite written by Richard Strauss between 1911 and 1917. The original idea of Hugo von Hofmannsthal was to revive Molière's 1670 play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, simplify the plot and introduce a commedia dell'arte troupe, add some incidental music...

    , suite
    Suite
    In music, a suite is an ordered set of instrumental or orchestral pieces normally performed in a concert setting rather than as accompaniment; they may be extracts from an opera, ballet , or incidental music to a play or film , or they may be entirely original movements .In the...

     for orchestra Op. 60 (1917)
  • Film music for Der Rosenkavalier
    Der Rosenkavalier
    Der Rosenkavalier is a comic opera in three acts by Richard Strauss to an original German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It is loosely adapted from the novel Les amours du chevalier de Faublas by Louvet de Couvrai and Molière’s comedy Monsieur de Pourceaugnac...

    (1925)
  • Japanese Festival Music
    Japanese Festival Music
    Japanese Festival Music, Op. 84 , is a composition by Richard Strauss. The full title is Festmusik zur Feier des 2600jährigen Bestehens des Kaiserreichs Japan für großes Orchester ....

    (1940)
  • Metamorphosen
    Metamorphosen
    Metamorphosen, Study for 23 Solo Strings, subtitled "In memoriam", is a composition by Richard Strauss, scored for ten violins, five violas, five cellos, and three double basses. It was composed during the closing months of the Second World War, from August 1944 to March 1945. Strauss dedicated it...

    , for 23 solo strings (1945)

Keyboard

  • Funf Klavierstucke, Op. 3 (1880–81)
  • Sonata for piano in B minor, Op. 5 (1880–81)

Concertante

  • Romance for Clarinet and Orchestra (1879)
  • Violin Concerto in D minor
    Violin Concerto (Strauss)
    Richard Strauss's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor, Op. 8, was written in 1881-1882.This violin concerto was written during the composer's teenage years while he was still attending his last two years of school, and is less distinctive than many of his later orchestral works...

    , Op. 8 (1882)
  • Horn Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 11 (1882/83)
  • Romance for Cello and Orchestra (1883)
  • Burleske
    Burleske (Richard Strauss)
    The Burleske in D minor is a composition for piano and orchestra by Richard Strauss in 1885-86, when he was 21.-Original title and dedication:...

     for piano and orchestra (1886–1890)
  • Parergon zur Symphonia Domestica
    Symphonia Domestica
    Symphonia Domestica, Op. 53 is a tone poem for large orchestra by Richard Strauss. The work is a musical reflection of the secure domestic life so valued by the composer himself and, as such, harmoniously conveys daily events and family life.-History and composition:In 1898, Strauss became the...

    , for piano (left hand) and orchestra, Op. 73 (1925; ded. Paul Wittgenstein
    Paul Wittgenstein
    Paul Wittgenstein was an Austrian-born concert pianist, who became known for his ability to play with just his left hand, after he lost his right arm during the First World War. He devised novel techniques, including pedal and hand-movement combinations, that allowed him to play chords previously...

    )
  • Panathenäenzug, for piano (left hand) and orchestra, Op. 74 (1926–1927; ded. Wittgenstein)
  • Horn Concerto No. 2 in E flat major (1942)
  • Oboe Concerto in D major
    Oboe Concerto (Richard Strauss)
    The Concerto in D major for Oboe and Small Orchestra, AV 144, TrV 292, was written by Richard Strauss in 1945. It was one of the last works he composed near the end of his life, during what is often described by biographers, journalists and music critics as his "Indian summer."-Instrumentation and...

     (1945)
  • Duett-Concertino, for clarinet and bassoon with string orchestra (1947)

Vocal/Choral

  • Acht Lieder aus Letzte Blätter, Op. 10 (1885)
  • Ruhe, meine Seele!
    Ruhe, meine Seele!
    Ruhe, meine Seele!, Op. 27 No. 1, is the first in a set of four songs composed by Richard Strauss in 1894. It was originally for voice and piano, and not orchestrated by Strauss until 1948, after he had completed one of his Four Last Songs "Im Abendrot"...

    ("Rest, My Soul!") Op. 27 No. 1
  • Cäcilie
    Cäcilie (Richard Strauss)
    Cäcilie, Op. 27 No. 2, is the second in a set of four songs composed by Richard Strauss in 1894.The words are from a love poem "Cäcilie" written by Heinrich Hart , a German dramatic critic and journalist who also wrote poetry...

    , Op. 27 No. 2
  • Heimliche Aufforderung
    Heimliche Aufforderung
    Heimliche Aufforderung, Op. 27 No. 3, is one of a set of four songs composed by Richard Strauss in 1894. It was originally for voice and piano, and not orchestrated by Strauss until 1948, a year before his death...

    ("Secret Invitation"), Op. 27 No. 3
  • Morgen! ("Tomorrow!"), Op. 27 No. 4
  • Zwei Gesänge, Op. 34 (1896/97) – 1. Der Abend 2. Hymne
  • Wiegenlied ("Lullaby"), Op. 41 No. 1
  • Deutsche Motette, Op. 62 (1913)
  • Olympische Hymne
    Olympische Hymne
    Olympische Hymne is a composition for orchestra and mixed chorus by Richard Strauss.In 1932, Richard Strauss was approached by Dr. Theodor Lewald, the German Olympic Committee’s representative to the International Olympic Committee . The German committee desired an anthem composed for the 1936...

    , for chorus and orchestra (1934)
  • Die Göttin im Putzzimmer (1935)
  • Männerchöre (1935)
  • An den Baum Daphne (1943)
  • Vier letzte Lieder
    Four Last Songs
    The Four Last Songs for soprano and orchestra were the final completed works of Richard Strauss, composed in 1948 when the composer was 84. Strauss did not live to hear the premiere, given at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 22 May 1950 by the soprano Kirsten Flagstad accompanied by the...

    (Four Last Songs) (1948)

Chamber

  • Sonata for Cello and Piano in F, Op. 6 (1883)
  • Violin Sonata in E-flat
    Violin Sonata (Strauss)
    The Violin Sonata in E-flat, Op. 18 was written by Richard Strauss between 1887-1888. Although not considered a milestone in violin literature, it is frequently performed and recorded. It is often noted for its lyrical beauty and its technical demands made on both violinist and pianist...

    , Op. 18 (1888)

Sources

  • Kennedy, Michael
    Michael Kennedy (music critic)
    Dr. George Michael Sinclair Kennedy CBE is an English biographer, journalist and writer on classical music. He joined the Daily Telegraph at the age of 15 in 1941, and began writing music criticism for it in 1948...

     (1999). Richard Strauss: Man, Musician, Enigma. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    . ISBN 0-521-58173-7.
  • Kennedy, Michael. "Richard Strauss", in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie. 20 vol. London, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1980. ISBN 1-56159-174-2
  • Kennedy, Michael (2006). The Oxford Dictionary of Music, 985 pages, ISBN 0-19-861459-4
  • Gilliam, Bryan. "Richard Strauss", in Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed 19 August 2005), (subscription access) (This article is very different from the one in the 1980 Grove; in particular, the analysis of Strauss's behavior during the Nazi period is more detailed.)
  • Dubal, David
    David Dubal
    David Dubal is an American pianist, teacher, author, broadcaster and painter.Dubal has taught at the Juilliard School in New York since 1983 and the Manhattan School of Music since 1994. Mr. Dubal is the host of "The Piano Matters" a program of comparative piano performances that can be heard on ...

    . The Essential Canon of Classical Music, North Point Press, 2003. ISBN 0-86547-664-0


Selective bibliography

  • Kennedy, Michael
    Michael Kennedy (music critic)
    Dr. George Michael Sinclair Kennedy CBE is an English biographer, journalist and writer on classical music. He joined the Daily Telegraph at the age of 15 in 1941, and began writing music criticism for it in 1948...

     (1999). Richard Strauss: Man, Musician, Enigma. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    . ISBN 0-521-58173-7.
  • Del Mar, Norman
    Norman Del Mar
    Norman Del Mar CBE was a British conductor, horn player, and biographer. As a conductor, he specialized in the music of late romantic composers; including Edward Elgar, Gustav Mahler, and Richard Strauss. He left a great legacy of recordings of British music, in particular Elgar, Vaughan Williams,...

     (1962). Richard Strauss. London: Barrie & Jenkins. ISBN 0-214-15735-0.
  • Tuchman, Barbara W. (1966, reprinted 1980). The Proud Tower chapter 6. Macmillan, London. ISBN 0-333-30645-7.
  • Gilliam, Bryan (1999). The Life of Richard Strauss. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-57895-7.
  • Osborne, Charles
    Charles Osborne (music writer)
    Charles Thomas Osborne, born 24 November 1927 in Brisbane, Australia, is a journalist, critic, poet and novelist, and a recognised authority on opera. He was assistant editor of The London Magazine from 1958 until 1966, literature director of the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1971 until 1986,...

     (1991). The Complete Operas of Richard Strauss. New York City: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80459-X.
  • Wilhelm, Kurt (1989). Richard Strauss: An Intimate Portrait. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-01459-0.
  • Youmans, Charles (2005). Richard Strauss's Orchestral Music and the German Intellectual Tradition: the Philosophical Roots of Musical Modernism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-34573-1.
  • Karpath, Ludwig and Strauss, Richard (1905–1936). The handwritten correspondence between Richard Strauss and Ludwig Karpath, covering 31 years was acquired by the National Library of Austria in 1962 from the daughters of Dr. Alfred Marill who was Mr. Karpath's attorney. It consists of approximately 150 items covering Strauss relationships with the Vienna State Opera and other musical events of the period. It stops at the death of Ludwig Karpath in 1936. Dr. Alfred Marill was Mr. Karpath's executor. The terms of Karpath's will stipulated that the correspondence between Karpath and Strauss not be published until after Richard Strauss's death. In keeping with these terms Dr. Marill transported it to the United States when he emigrated in 1940. After Dr. Marill's death his daughters provided the letters to the library so that Mr. Karpath's wishes could be carried out. There is no evidence that these letters have been published.

External links

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