Biography of Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

Richard Strauss.

German composer, born in 1864 and died on September 8, 1949.

His father was a musician, what did that since childhood he was in contact with the musical atmospheres. In 1870 he received classes of violin from his cousin Benno Walter, konzertmeister of the Court Orchestra, and since childhood, his mother took him to concerts and the opera. He studied music theory, composition and Instrumentation with Meyer, director of the Court Orchestra, and in 1882, joined the University of his native city, Munich. Then had already made some compositions, such as Symphony in d and solemn March (both from 1881). In 1884 he met Hans von Bülow, who directed one of his first works, Serenade for Woodwinds op. 7. a year later, Bülow offered moved to Meiningen for exercise as its second director of the Court Orchestra, becoming titular a year later. In 1886, he made a trip to Italy and on his return to Munich was third conductor in the Opera, starting then a period very fruitful in his training as a director. At that time he composed his first symphonic poems, Aus Italien (1886), and Don Juan (1888). In 1889 it was during a brief musical Assistant time in Bayreuth, and then moved to Weimar, where he was second conductor in the Court Theatre: there, as in the previous years in Munich, directed operas and symphonic concerts, to account for some of his works.

In the summer of 1891, he returned to Bayreuth as director of singing. The following year he made a long journey through Greece, Egypt and Sicily, during which he worked on his first opera, Guntram, premiered in Weimar in 1894. This same year he was appointed second director of the Munich Opera, which was first director in 1896 and succeeded Bülow as director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He made several tours of Europe, he directed his own compositions and classical and romantic works. He continued to write, mostly symphonic poems, such as Till Eulenspiegel, thus spoke Zarathustra, Don Quixote and life hero. From 1898 he was director of the Opera of Berlin and in 1904 with the Philharmonic Orchestra performed a tour by the United States of America, which was interpreted domestic Symphony (1903), work with which closed the cycle of their symphonic, although ten years later poems he composed Alpensinfonia.

At the same time he continued with his duties as director of the Philharmonic, took over the direction of the chapel of the Court of Berlin (1908), and was Professor of composition at the Academy of Arts in this city (1917-1920). He was also director of the Vienna State Opera, together with Schalk (1914-1924) and President of the Chamber music of the Reich (1933-1935).

The opera

He spent the first years of century mainly to operas. In 1901 Feuersnot, composed in Guantram and which is the influence of Wagner. In 1905 was premiered in Dresden which is considered his first major dramatic work, Salome, avant-garde opera on the text by Óscar Wilde. In collaboration with the librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal created operas Elektra (1909), the Knight of the rose (1911), Ariadne in Naxos (1912, revised in 1916), Frau ohne Schatten (1919), Elena of Egypt (1928) and Arabella (1933).

The Strauss work covers all genres, with the exception of religious music. Throughout his life, he wrote lieder. In his work he was a conservative and all their music is full of classicism and romanticism, to the point that can be held as the last important representative of the classical and romantic period. Even in his most daring works (operas Salome and Elektra, attacked the forms of traditional music).


-Richard Strauss: Friedenstag; soloists: Sabine Hass, Bernd Weikl; Bavarian State Opera Chorus, Bavarian Radio Chorus & Symphony Orchestra; Director: Wolfgang Sawallisch; EMI CDC 5-56850-2.

-Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier [monologue (Act I); trio and finale (Act III)]; Suite Arabella: duetto (Act I); Capriccio (music by the light of the Moon and final scene); soloists: Barbara Bonney, Susan Graham, Walter Berry, Renée Freming, Johannes Chum; Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; Director: Christoph Eschenbach; Decca 466 314-2 (ADD).

-Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier; soloists: Kurt Böhme, Maria Reining, Sena Jurinac, Hilde Gueden; Choir and Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera; Director: Hans Knappertsbusch; RCA Red Seal 74321 69420 2 ADD (3 discs).

-Richard Strauss: Die ägyptische Helena; soloists: Gwyneth Jones, Jess Thomas, Edita Gruberova; Orchestra and choir of the Vienna State Opera; Dir: Josef Krips; RCA Red Seal 74321 694302 (2 discs) (ADD).

-Richard Strauss: Salome; soloists: Grace Hoffman, Leonie Rysanek, Hans Hopf, Eberhard Wächter; The Vienna State Opera Orchestra; Director: Karl Böhm; RCA Red Seal 74321 69430 2 (2 discs) ADD.

-Richard Strauss: Capriccio; soloists: Wolfgang Schöne, Eberhard Büchner, Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Franz Grundheber; Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; Director: Horst Stein; ORFEO C 5189921 (2 discs) (ADD).

-Richard Strauss: Lieder; Susan van Grootel (soprano) and Kees Schul (piano); Globe GLO 5193.

-Richard Strauss: Lieder; You edita Gruberova (soprano) and Friedrich Haider (piano); Teldec 3984-26795-2.

Links on the Internet.;Website of Richard Strauss.