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Richard Strauss biography 
 

Richard Strauss

Artist: Richard Strauss 
Born:June 11, 1864, Munich
Died:September 8, 1949, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Summary:Richard Strauss (June 11, 1864 – September 8, 1949) was a German composer of classical music particularly noted for his tone poems and operas. He was also a noted conductor.
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Also Sprach Zarathustra - Intro (Easy Piano Version)
 
 


Richard Strauss Biography


Richard Strauss

Richard Strauss (June 11, 1864 – September 8, 1949) was a German composer of classical music particularly noted for his tone poems and operas. He was also a noted conductor.

He was born on June 11, 1864 in Munich, Germany, the son of Franz Strauss who was the principal French horn player at the Court Opera in Munich. He received a thorough, but conservative, musical education from his father in his youth, and began to compose at a very early age. In 1882 he entered Munich University, but left a year later to go to Berlin. There he studied briefly before securing a post as assistant conductor to Hans von Bülow taking over from him at Munich when he resigned in 1885. His compositions around this time were quite conservative, in the style of Robert Schumann or Felix Mendelssohn, true to his father's teachings. His Horn Concerto No. 1 from this period is of note and is still regularly played. Strauss' style began to change when he met Alexander Ritter, a noted violinist and the husband of one of Richard Wagner's nieces. It was he who first got Strauss seriously interested in the music of Wagner.

Contents

Tone poems

This newly found interest resulted in what is widely regarded as Strauss' first piece to show his mature personality, the tone poem Don Juan. When this was premiered in 1889, half of the audience cheered while the other half booed. Strauss knew he had found his own musical voice, saying 'I now comfort myself with the knowledge that I am on the road I want to take, fully conscious that there never has been an artist not considered crazy by thousands of his fellow men.' Strauss went on to write a series of other tone poems, including Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration, 1888–89), Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, 1894–95), Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra, 1896, well known today for its use in Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey), Don Quixote (1897) and Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life, 1897–98).

Opera

Around the end of the 19th century, Strauss turned his attention to opera. His first two attempts in the genre, Guntram in 1894 and Feuersnot in 1901 were critical failures. However, in 1905 he produced Salome (based on the play by Oscar Wilde), and the reaction was as passionate and extreme as it had been with Don Juan. When it opened at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, there was such a public outcry that it was closed after just one performance. Doubtless, much of this was due to the subject matter, however some of the outcry may have stemmed from Strauss's use of dissonance, rarely heard then at the opera house.

Strauss' next opera was Elektra, which took his use of dissonance even further. It was also the first opera in which Strauss collaborated with the poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal. The two would work together on numerous other occasions. For these later works, however, Strauss moderated his harmonic language somewhat, with the result that works such as Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose, 1910) were great public successes. Strauss continued to produce operas at regular intervals until 1940. These included Ariadne auf Naxos (1912), Die Frau ohne Schatten (1918), Intermezzo (1923), Die ägyptische Helena (1927), and Arabella (1932), all in collaboration with Hofmannsthal; and Die schweigsame Frau (1934), with Stefan Zweig as librettist; Friedenstag (1936) and Daphne (1937) (libretto by Joseph Gregor and Zweig); Die Liebe der Danae (1940) (with Gregor) and Capriccio (libretto by Clemens Krauss) (1941).

Strauss and the Nazis

There is much controversy surrounding Strauss' role in Germany after the Nazi Party came to power. Some say that he was constantly apolitical, and never cooperated with the Nazis completely. Others point out that he was an official of the Third Reich, and that although his post was largely ceremonial, he should have spoken out against the Nazis.

In November 1933, without any consultation with Strauss, Goebbels appointed him to the post of president of the Reichsmusikkammer, the State Music Bureau. Strauss decided to keep his post but to remain apolitical, a decision which has been criticized as naïve, but perhaps the most sensible one considering the circumstances. Strauss was forced to resign his position in 1935 after refusing to remove from the playbill for Die schweigsame Frau the name of the Jewish librettist, his friend Stefan Zweig.

His decision to produce Friedenstag in 1938, a one-act opera set in a besieged fortress during the Thirty Years War – essentially a hymn to peace and a thinly veiled criticism of the Third Reich--during a time when an entire nation was preparing for war, has been seen as extraordinarily brave. With its contrasts between freedom and enslavement, war and peace, light and dark, this work has been considered more related to Fidelio than to any of Strauss's other recent operas.

Since Strauss's daughter-in-law Alice was Jewish, he certainly realized the risk to his family; some have pointed out that this may have stopped him speaking out. There are also suggestions that he attempted to use his official position to protect Jewish friends and colleagues.

The Final Years

In 1948, Strauss wrote his last work, Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs) for soprano and orchestra. All his life he had produced lieder, but these are probably the best known. When compared to the work of younger composers, Strauss' harmonic and melodic language was looking somewhat old-fashioned by this time. Nevertheless, the songs have always been popular with audiences and performers.

Richard Strauss died on September 8, 1949 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany at the age of 85.

Note. Richard Strauss was not related to and should not be confused with Johann Strauss or his sons, the Viennese composers of popular waltzes.

See also



This biography is published under the GNU Licence






Items to buy by Richard Strauss



"Concerto No. 1 In E Flat Major, Op. 11" (French Horn and Piano Reduction). By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). For horn (in F) and piano. Brass Solo. 20th Century. Difficulty: medium. Set of performance parts. Solo part and piano reduction. 24 pages. G. Schirmer #LB1888. Published by G. Schirmer

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Richard Strauss: 40 Songs "(The Vocal Library). By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Edited by Laura Ward and Richard Walters. For high voice solo and piano accompaniment (High Voice). The Vocal Library. Classical Period and 20th Century. Difficulty: difficult. Collection. Vocal melody

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4 Last Songs - 'Vier letzte Lieder' (Four Last Songs). By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Arranged by Max Wolff and Ernst Roth. For high voice solo and piano accompaniment (High Voice). Boosey & Hawkes Voice. 20th Century. Difficulty: medium. Collection. Vocal melody and lyrics. 28 pages. Boos

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50 Selected Songs - Low Voice "(Low Voice). By Franz Schubert (1797-1828), Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), Hugo Wolf (1860-1903), and Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Edited by Florence Easton. For low voice and piano. Vocal Collection. Classical Period. Difficulty: medium.

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Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-Flat Major (for Horn and Chamber Orchestra (Piano Reduction)). By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Edited by Harold Perry. For horn in Eb and piano reduction (Horn). Boosey & Hawkes Chamber Music. Set of performance parts. 44 pages. Boosey & Hawkes #M060025471. Publishe

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Richard Strauss: 40 Songs (The Vocal Library). By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Arranged by Laura Ward and Richard Walters. Medium/Low Voice. Vocal Collection. 176 pages. Published by Hal Leonard

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Concerto (for Oboe & Piano Reduction). By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Edited by Arthur Willner. Oboe. Boosey & Hawkes Chamber Music. 41 pages. Boosey & Hawkes #M060025495. Published by Boosey & Hawkes

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"Don Quixote, Op. 35" By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Edited by Janos Starker. For Cello and Piano. Score. Published by Masters Music Publications Inc.

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"Andante in F, Opus posthumous" (Horn and Piano). By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Horn. Boosey & Hawkes Chamber Music. 6 pages. Boosey & Hawkes #M060025303. Published by Boosey & Hawkes

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"Strauss, Sibelius and More - Volume IX (Trumpet)" "(The Orchestra Musician's CD-ROM Library, Volume 9). By Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) and Richard Strauss (1864-1949). For Trumpet. The Orchestra Musician's CD-ROM Library. CD-ROM only. Published by Hal Leonard"

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Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare "By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Arranged by Albert Ligotti. For 4 trumpets, 4 horns, 4 trombones, tuba and timpani. Score and Parts. Published by Wiltshire Music/Cor Publishing Co."

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"Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 18" By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). For Violin. Masterworks; Solo; String - Violin and Piano. Kalmus Edition. 20th Century; Masterwork; Romantic. Book. 60 pages. Published by Alfred Music Publishing

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"Till Eulenspiegel einmal anders!, Op. 28" "(Arranged as a frolic for 5 instruments). By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Arranged by Franz Hasenohrl. Mixed Ensemble. For violin (also used for conductor), clarinet, horn, bassoon and bass. Classical Period. Difficulty: medium-difficult. Set of performa

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"Ariadne auf Naxos, Op. 60" By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Vocal Score. BH Stage Works. 250 pages. Boosey & Hawkes #M060025365. Published by Boosey & Hawkes

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30 Songs -- Medium By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Edited by Sergius Kagen. For voice and piano (medium voice). Language: German and English. Published by International Music Company

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"Piano Pieces, Op. 3" By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). For Piano. Masterworks; Piano Solo; Solo. Kalmus Edition. 20th Century; Masterwork; Romantic. 28 pages. Published by Alfred Music Publishing

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30 Songs -- Low By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Edited by Sergius Kagen. For voice and piano (low voice). Language: German and English. Published by International Music Company

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"Richard Strauss' Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flat major, AV132" By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). For french horn. Instrumental Solo Part and CD. Published by Music Minus One

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"Also Sprach Zarathustra - From ""2001 A Space Odyssey""" By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). For solo piano. Keyboard Music. Classical Period. Single piece. Published by Magnamusic Distributors Inc

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"Romance in F Major, o. Op., AV 75" (for Cello and Orchestra). By Richard Strauss (1864-1949). Study Score. Eulenburg Taschenpartituren (Pocket Scores). Study Score. 37 pages. Schott Music #ETP1399. Published by Schott Music

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