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Richard Strauss: A Master Musicians Biography cover
  • ISBN: 9780028645179
  • ISBN10: 0028645170

Richard Strauss: A Master Musicians Biography

by Kennedy, Michael A

  • List Price: $30.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Schirmer Books
  • Publish date: 01/01/1996
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Description
"I cannot bear the tragedy of the present time", wrote Richard Strauss in 1924. "I want to create joy. I need it". In a career that extended from the age of Wagner and Brahms to the middle of the twentieth century, Strauss wrote music that kept alive the German Romantic ideals of melody and emotional expressiveness. Among his fifteen operas are the beloved Der Rosenkavalier with its bittersweet evocation of bygone days in imperial Vienna, the ingenious Ariadne auf Naxos, and other works that hold the stage to this day. His brilliant tone poems for orchestra include such staples of the repertory as Death and Transfiguration, Don Juan, Ein Heldenleben, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, and Also sprach Zarathustra - source of the famous "sunrise" music used in the film 2001. A distinguished composer of songs, chamber music, and ballets as well, Strauss was also one of the outstanding conductors of his time, directing opera companies in Weimar, Munich, Berlin, and Vienna. In his young manhood, Strauss was regarded by many as a leader of the dissonant avant-garde; his early operas Salome and Elektra feature a harmonic vocabulary that ventures to the brink of the atonal, as well as subject matter considered scandalous at the time. But by the 1930s, Strauss's refusal to follow in the footsteps of Schoenberg and the modernists had led to his being written off as a reactionary. Michael Kennedy challenges this verdict with a comprehensive appreciation of Strauss's music and an evenhanded assessment of his life, including his tempestuous marriage to Pauline de Ahna and his controversial relationship with the Nazi regime. Contradicting the received opinion that Strauss's genius declined after DerRosenkavalier, this authoritative study makes the case for Strauss as a key figure in the history of the last hundred years of music, widely misrepresented and misunderstood.
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