Richard george Strauss

Richard george Strauss (11 June 1864 – 8 september 1949) was a top German composer of the late Romantic und early contemporary eras. He zu sein known weil das his operas, i m sorry include ns Rosenkavalier und Salome; his lieder, specifically his Four tonnage Songs; und his tone poems Death and Transfiguration, it spins Eulenspiegel’s merry Pranks, also sprach Zarathustra, in Alpine Symphony, und other orchestral works, such together Metamorphosen. Strauss was deshalb a prominent conductor transparent Germany und Austria.

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Strauss, along with Gustav Mahler, represents die late flowering of German Romanticism after richard Wagner, in which pioneering subtleties von orchestration are an unified with bei advanced harmonic style.


Strauss married soprano Pauline juni Ahna on 10 september 1894. She was famous zum being irascible, garrulous, eccentric and outspoken, but the marriage, zu all appearances, was essentially happy und she was a good source of inspiration kommen sie him. Transparent his life, native his earliest songs to die final Four tonnage Songs von 1948, that preferred die soprano voice to all others, and all his operas contain vital soprano roles.

The Strausses had one son, Franz, an 1897. Franz married Alice by Grab, a Jewish woman, an a Catholic ceremony an 1924. Franz und Alice had two sons, Richard und Christian.

Career as Composer

Solo and chamber works

Some des Strauss’s first compositions were solo and chamber works. These pieces include: beforehand compositions zum piano solo bei a conservative harmonic style, many des which are lost; a string quartet (opus 2); a cello sonata; a piano quartet; Violin Sonata in E level (1888); and a handful of late pieces.

After 1890 Strauss composed really infrequently for chamber groups, his energies gift almost completely absorbed with large-scale orchestral works und operas. Four von his room pieces room actually arrangements of portions of his operas, including die Daphne-Etude zum solo violin, und the string Sextet which is the overture to his final opera Capriccio. His tonnage independent room work, an Allegretto an E for violin and piano, days from 1940.

Tone poems and other orchestral works

Richard Strauss engraved über Ferdinand Schmutzer (1922) 

In 1905, Strauss developed Salome, a rather dissonant modernist opera based on ns play über Oscar Wilde, which developed a passionate reaction indigenous audiences. The premiere was a significant success, with the artists taking more than 38 curtain calls.  Many later performances von the opera were so successful, notfall only with die general windy but also with Strauss’s peers: Maurice Ravel said that Salome was “stupendous”, and Mahler defined it as “a direkte volcano, a subterranean fire”.Strauss reputedly sponsor his house in Garmisch-Partenkirchen totally from die revenues generated by the opera.

Strauss’s next opera was Elektra (1909), which took his use von dissonance even further, in particular with ns Elektra chord. Elektra was also the first opera an which Strauss collaborated with die poet Hugo über Hofmannsthal. Die two subsequently operated together on many occasions. Zum his letztere works v Hofmannsthal, Strauss moderated his harmonic language: he supplied a much more lush, melodic late-Romantic style based on Wagnerian chromatic harmonies that he had used bei his tone poems, with viel less dissonance, and exhibiting immense virtuosity an orchestral writing und tone color. This resulted in operas such as das Rosenkavalier (1911) having good public success. Strauss continued zu produce operas weist regular intervals till 1942. Through Hofmannsthal he produced Ariadne in Naxos (1912), ns Frau habe nicht Schatten (1918), die ägyptische helena (1927), and Arabella (1932). Zum Intermezzo (1923) Strauss provided his very own libretto. Die schweigsame maam (1934), was composed v Stefan geäst as librettist; Friedenstag (1935–6) und Daphne (1937) both had actually a libretto über Joseph Gregor und Stefan Zweig; and Die Liebe der Danae (1940) was with joseph Gregor. Strauss’s last opera, Capriccio (1942), had a libretto by Clemens Krauss, although the genesis zum it come from stefan Zweig und Joseph Gregor.

According to statistics compiled by Operabase, bei number von operas performed worldwide over ns five periods from 2008/09 zu 2012/13, Strauss was the second most-performed 20th-century opera composer; Puccini was die first und Benjamin Britten die third. Strauss bound with handel as the eighth most-performed opera composer from any kind of century over those five seasons.  Over the five periods from 2008/09 zu 2012/13, Strauss’s oberteil five most-performed operas to be Salome, Ariadne an Naxos, der Rosenkavalier, Elektra, und Die frau ohne Schatten.

Lieder und Choral

All his life Strauss developed Lieder. The Four tonnage Songs are among his best known, together with Zueignung, Cäcilie, Morgen!, Allerseelen, und others. Bei 1948, Strauss composed his last work, ns Four last Songs zum soprano and orchestra. He supposedly composed them through Kirsten Flagstad in mind, and she gave the erste performance, which was recorded. Strauss’s songs have always been popular with audiences and performers, und are typically considered von musicologists—along with many von his other compositions—to it is in masterpieces.

Strauss in Nazi Germany


In march 1933, wie Strauss was 68, Adolf Hitler und the nazi- Party kommissar to power. Strauss never ever joined the nazi- party, und studiously avoided nazi- forms of greeting. Zum reasons des expediency, however, he was initially attracted into cooperating with die early nazi regime in the hope that Hitler—an ardent Wagnerian and music lover who had admired Strauss’s arbeit since the town hall Salome in 1907—would encourage German art und culture. Strauss’s need kommen sie protect his Jewish daughter-in-law and Jewish grandchildren so motivated his behavior, in addition to his determination kommen sie preserve und conduct ns music of banned composers such together Mahler and Debussy.

In 1933, Strauss wrote in his privatgelände notebook:

I consider the Streicher-Goebbels Jew-baiting as a disgrace zu German honour, as evidence von incompetence—the basest weapon von untalented, lazy mediocrity against a greater intelligence und greater talent.

Meanwhile, far from being in admirer von Strauss’s work, joseph Goebbels kept expedient cordiality with Strauss only for a period. Goebbels wrote an his diary:

Unfortunately we blieb need him, however one day we shall schutz our own music und then us shall oase no additional need of this decadent neurotic.
Strauss was on the startseite of TIME in 1927 and (here) 1938 

Nevertheless, because of Strauss’s international eminence, bei November 1933 he was appointed to ns post of president des the newly established Reichsmusikkammer, the zustand Music Bureau. Strauss, who had actually lived through numerous political regimes and had no interest bei politics, decided zu accept the position but to remain apolitical, a decision which would eventually become untenable. He wrote to his family, “I do music under ns Kaiser, und under Ebert. I’ll endure under this one as well.” In 1935 he wrote in his journal:

In november of 1933, ns minister Goebbels nominated me president des the Reichsmusikkammer there is no obtaining mine prior agreement. Ich was not consulted. I accepted this honorary office because i hoped that i would it is in able kommen sie do part good and prevent worse misfortunes, if from jetzt onwards German music life were going kommen sie be, as it was said, “reorganized” über amateurs and ignorant place-seekers.

Strauss attempted zu ignore nazi bans on performances of works by Debussy, Mahler, and Mendelssohn. He so continued zu work on a comic opera, das schweigsame Frau, v his Jewish friend und librettist stefan Zweig. When ns opera was premiered an Dresden in 1935, Strauss insisted that Zweig’s name appear on die theatrical billing, much to the ire von the nazi- regime. Hitler und Goebbels avoided attending die opera, and it was halted after three performances and subsequently banned by the third Reich.

On 17 June 1935, Strauss created a letter to stefan Zweig, in which that stated:

Do you believe I bei der ever, in any von my actions, guided by the believed that I bei der ‘German’? Do sie suppose Mozart was consciously ‘Aryan’ wie he composed? i recognise only two types des people: those who schutz talent und those who have none.

This letter to geäst was intercepted von the Gestapo and sent to Hitler. Strauss was subsequently dismissed indigenous his post as Reichsmusikkammer president in 1935. Die 1936 berlin Summer Olympics however used Strauss’s Olympische Hymne, i beg your pardon he had composed in 1934. Strauss’s seeming connection with ns Nazis in the 1930s attracted criticism native some noted musicians, consisting of Arturo Toscanini, who in 1933 had said, “To Strauss die composer ich take off my hat; to Strauss ns man ich put it back on again,” wie man Strauss had accepted the presidency von the Reichsmusikkammer. Viel of Strauss’s motivation in his conduct during die Third Reich was, however, to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law Alice und his Jewish grandchildren indigenous persecution. Both des his grandsons were bullied punkt school, however Strauss offered his significant influence kommen sie prevent the boys or their mommy being sent zu concentration camps.


In 1938, when the entire nation was preparing zum war, Strauss created Friedenstag (Peace Day), a one-act opera set in a besieged fortress during ns Thirty Years’ War. Die work zu sein essentially a hymn zu peace and a thinly veiled criticism des the dritter Reich. Through its contrasts betwee freedom and enslavement, war and peace, light and dark, this arbeiten has a nearby affinity through Beethoven’s Fidelio. Productions of the opera ceased soon after the outbreak von war an 1939.

When his Jewish daughter-in-law Alice was placed under house arrest in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1938, Strauss supplied his connections in Berlin, including opera-house general Intendant Heinz Tietjen, zu secure herstellung safety. The drove to the Theresienstadt concentration camp an order zu argue, albeit unsuccessfully, weil das the release des his kid Franz’s Jewish mother-in-law, Marie von Grab. Strauss deshalb wrote several letters to die SS pleading zum the relax of herstellung children who were also held an camps; his letter were ignored.

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In 1942, Strauss moved with his family back to Vienna, where Alice und her children could be protected by Baldur von Schirach, the Gauleiter of Vienna. However, Strauss was unable to protect his Jewish relatives completely; in early 1944, if Strauss was away, Alice and his kid Franz to be abducted by the Gestapo und imprisoned zum two nights. Strauss’s personal beteiligung at this suggest saved them, and he was able zu take them zurück to Garmisch, where the two stayed under house arrest until the ende of the war.


Strauss completed ns composition of Metamorphosen, a work zum 23 solo strings, in 1945. Ns title und inspiration zum the arbeiten comes indigenous a profoundly self-examining poem über Goethe, i m sorry Strauss had considered setup as a choral work.  Generally pertained to as one von the masterpieces von the cable repertoire, Metamorphosen consists of Strauss’s many sustained outpouring von tragic emotion. Conceived and written during the blackest days von World war II, ns piece expresses Strauss’s mourning of, amongst other things, ns destruction von German culture—including the bombing des every an excellent opera house in the nation. Weist the end of ns war, Strauss wrote an his private diary:

The most devastating period des human history zu sein at an end, die twelve year reign des bestiality, ignorance und anti-culture under the greatest criminals, throughout which Germany’s 2000 years von cultural entwickeln met that is doom.

In april 1945, Strauss was apprehended über American soldiers punkt his Garmisch estate. As he descended the staircase he announced kommen sie Lieutenant Milton Weiss des the U.S. Army, “I in Richard Strauss, die composer des Rosenkavalier und Salome.” Lt. Weiss, who was deshalb a musician, nodded bei recognition. Bei “Off Limits” sign was subsequently placed on the lawn to protect Strauss.  The American oboist John de Lancie, that knew Strauss’s orchestral writing zum oboe thoroughly, was in the army unit, und asked Strauss zu compose an oboe concerto. Initially dismissive des the idea, Strauss completed this late work, his Oboe Concerto, prior to the end of the year.

Last works

The metaphor “Indian Summer” is often used von journalists, biographers, and music critics to describe Strauss’s late creative upsurge indigenous 1942 zu the ende of his life. The events des World zu sein II seemed to bring ns composer—who had grown old, tired, und a wenig jaded—into focus.  The significant works des the belastung years von Strauss’s life, written in his late 70s und 80s, include, among others, his horn Concerto No. 2, Metamorphosen, his Oboe Concerto, and his Four last Songs.

The Four belastung Songs, written shortly prior to Strauss’s death, deal with die subject von dying. Ns last, “At Sunset” (Im Abendrot), end with the line “Is this maybe death?” die question is not answered bei words, but instead Strauss quotes die “transfiguration theme” native his previously tone poem, Death and Transfiguration—meant to symbolize the transfiguration und fulfillment von the spirit after death.

Death and legacy

Strauss died at the age des 85 top top 8 september 1949, bei Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. George Solti, who had arranged Strauss’s 85th date of birth celebration, deshalb directed in orchestra throughout Strauss’s burial. Ns conductor danach described how, during ns singing des the famed trio from Rosenkavalier, “each singer broke down in tears and dropped out of the ensemble, but they recovered themselves and we all ended together.”  Strauss’s wife, Pauline dach Ahna, died eight month later, ~ above 13 might 1950, at ns age des 88.

During his lifetime Strauss was considered the best composer des the zuerst half des the 20th century, and his music had a profound influence on die development of 20th-century music. there were few 20th-century composers who compared with Strauss an terms von orchestral imagination, and that made a significant contribution to die history von post-Wagnerian opera. Strauss’s so late works, modelled ~ above “the divine Mozart weist the ende of a life full von thankfulness,”are extensively considered the greatest works by any octogenarian composer.

Strauss self declared in 1947 through characteristic self-deprecation: “I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer.” ns Canadian pianist valley Gould described Strauss an 1962 as “the biggest musical figure who has actually lived bei this century.”

Until the 1980s, Strauss was regarded über some post-modern musicologists together a conservative, backward-looking composer, but re-examination of und new study on die composer has actually re-evaluated his location as that of a modernist, albeit one who blieb utilized and sometimes revered tonality und lush orchestration. Strauss is noted zum his pioneering subtleties von orchestration, combined with bei advanced harmonic style, breakthroughs which influenced die composers who followed him.

Strauss together a Conductor

Strauss, as conductor, made a huge number des recordings, both von his own music and music by German und Austrian composers. His 1929 performances of Till Eulenspiegel and Don Juan with the berlin State Opera Orchestra oase long to be considered the best von his early electrical recordings. An the zuerst complete performance von his in Alpine Symphony, made bei 1941 and later released von EMI, Strauss used the full complement of percussion instruments required an this symphony.

Koch heritage has so released Strauss’s recordings des overtures by Gluck, Carl Maria by Weber, peter Cornelius, und Wagner. Ns preference for German and Austrian composers an Germany an the 1920s through ns 1940s was typical des the German nationalism the existed ~ World zu sein I. Strauss clearly capitalized on national pride weil das the good German-speaking composers.

There were plenty of other recordings, consisting of some take away from radio broadcasts und concerts, during die 1930s and early 1940s. Die sheer volume von recorded performances would undoubtedly yield part definitive performances indigenous a really capable and rather forward-looking conductor.

In 1944, Strauss celebrated his 80th birthday und conducted ns Vienna Philharmonic bei recordings of his own major orchestral works, as well as his seldom-heard Schlagobers (“Whipped Cream”) ballet music. Some find more feeling bei these performances than in Strauss’s earlier recordings, i beg your pardon were taped on the Magnetophon tape recording equipment. Vanguard Records danach issued die recordings on LPs. Some von these recordings oase been reissued ~ above CD by Preiser.

Strauss also made live-recording player piano music rolls weil das the Hupfeld system and in 1906 ten recordings weil das the reproducing piano Welte-Mignon all of which endure today. Strauss was also the composer of the music top top the zuerst CD zu be commercially released: deutsch Grammophon’s 1983 release des their 1980 recording von Herbert von Karajan conducting the Alpine Symphony.

Modern crucial reception von selected recordings conducted über Strauss

Pierre Boulez has actually said that Strauss die conductor was “a complete master von his trade”.  Music movie critic Harold C. Schonberg claims that, if Strauss was a very fine conductor, he often put scant initiative into his recordings.  Schonberg concentrated primarily ~ above Strauss’s recordings of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, and also noting that Strauss played a breakneck version of Beethoven’s ninth Symphony in about 45 minutes. Worrying Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, Schonberg wrote, “There zu sein almost never ever a ritard or a change an expression or nuance. Die slow movement zu sein almost as in der nähe des as die following vivace; and the tonnage movement, v a large cut in it, ist finished in 4 minutes, 25 seconds. (It need to run bolzen 7 and 8 minutes.)” He so complained that die Mozart symphony had actually “no force, no charm, no inflection, v a metronomic rigidity.”

Peter Gutmann’s 1994 review zum says the performances von the Beethoven 5th and 7th symphonies, and also Mozart’s last three symphonies, space actually rather good, also if lock are sometimes unconventional. Gutmann wrote:

It ist true, as the critics suggest, that ns readings forego overt emotion, but what increase instead zu sein a solid sense von structure, letting the music speak convincingly zum itself. It is also true the Strauss’s tempos are usually swift, but this, too, contributes to die structural cohesion and an any event ist fully bei keeping v our contemporary outlook an which speed zu sein a virtue und attention spans are characterized more über MTV clips und news sound bites than von evenings at ns opera und thousand seite novels.

Selected works

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Burleske (1885–86), performed von Neal O’Doan v the seattle Philharmonic Orchestra

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Keyboard und chamber

Fünf Klavierstücke, Op. 3 (1880–81)Sonata for piano an B minor, Op. 5 (1880–81)Sonata zum Cello und Piano an F, Op. 6 (1883)Violin Sonata in E-flat, Op. 18 (1888)Stimmungsbilder, Op. 9 (piano)

Tone poems und other orchestral works

See also: tone poems (Strauss)
First cycle von tone poems
Aus Italien (From Italy), Op. 16 (1886)Don Juan, Op. 20 (1888)Macbeth, Op. 23 (1888/90)Tod und Verklärung (Death und Transfiguration), Op. 24 (1888–89)
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel’s merry Pranks), Op. 28 (1895)Also gesprochen Zarathustra (Thus speak Zarathustra), Op. 30 (1896)Don Quixote, Op. 35 (1898)Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life), Op. 40 (1899)Symphonia Domestica (Domestic Symphony), Op. 53 (1904)Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony), Op. 64 (1915)
Josephslegende (The Legend von Joseph), Op. 63 (1914)Schlagobers (Whipped Cream), Op. 70 (1921/2)Verklungene Feste: Tanzvisionen aus zwei Jahrhunderten, (Bygone Celebrations: dance Visions from 2 Centuries), (1940).
Symphony an D boy (1880)Symphony No. 2 in F minor, Op. 12 (1883)Festive Prelude for orchestra with organ (1913)Le bourgeois gentilhomme, suite zum orchestra Op. 60 (1917)Dance suite from keyboard pieces von François Couperin, TrV 245, 1923.Film music for der Rosenkavalier (1925)Japanese Festival Music (1940)Divertimento zum chamber orchestra after keyboard pieces von Couperin, Op.86 (1942)Metamorphosen, for 23 solo strings (1945)
OperaRomance zum Clarinet and Orchestra (1879)Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 8 (1882)Horn Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 11 (1882/83)Romance zum Cello and Orchestra (1883)Burleske weil das piano and orchestra (1886–1890)Don Quixote zum cello, viola und orchestraParergon zum Symphonia Domestica, for piano (left hand) and orchestra, Op. 73 (1925; ded. Paul Wittgenstein)Panathenäenzug, weil das piano (left hand) und orchestra, Op. 74 (1926–1927; ded. Wittgenstein)Horn Concerto No. 2 in E flat major (1942)Oboe Concerto an D significant (1945)Duett-Concertino, weil das clarinet und bassoon v string orchestra (1947)
Acht Lieder das ende Letzte Blätter, Op. 10 (1885)Ruhe, bergwerk Seele! (“Rest, my Soul!”), Op. 27 No. 1Cäcilie, Op. 27 No. 2Heimliche anfrage (“Secret Invitation”), Op. 27 No. 3Morgen! (“Tomorrow!”), Op. 27 No. 4Zwei Gesänge, Op. 34 (1896/97) – 1. Ns Abend 2. HymneWiegenlied (“Lullaby”), Op. 41 No. 1Deutsche Motette, Op. 62 (1913)Zueignung, Op. 10 No. 1Olympische Hymne, zum chorus and orchestra (1934)Die Göttin in dem Putzzimmer (1935)Männerchöre (1935)An den baum Daphne (1943)Allerseelen, Op. 10 No. 8Vier letzte Lieder (Four last Songs) (1948)

Cited sourcesReferences

Selective bibliography

External links

“Strauss, Richard”. New international Encyclopedia. 1905. Persondata
NameStrauss, Richard
Alternative names
Short descriptionGerman composer and conductor
Date von birth11 June 1864
Place of birthMunich, Kingdom des Bavaria
Date von death8 september 1949
Place des deathGarmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany