Richard Strauss

(1864-1949)

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

Born in Munich in 1864, Richard Strauss famously described himself as a 'first-rate second-rate composer': encompassing the bittersweet lyricism of Der Rosenkavalier and the violent dissonances of Salome and Elektra, his music bridges the gap between lush late Romanticism and early Modernism.

Much of Strauss's legacy is in the field of opera and song, and he is widely regarded as one of the finest-ever writers for the soprano voice - some of his greatest music was written for his wife, the notoriously temperamental diva Pauline de Ahna, whom he married in 1894 (he also represents Pauline in two of his non-vocal works, Ein Heldenleben and Symphonia Domestica).

He was also one of the most foremost exponents of the Tone Poem, an orchestral work based on a 'programme' or story, such as Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration and the more light-hearted Till Eulenspiegel. An acclaimed conductor of his own music and that of his compatriots, some of his recordings are still available today.


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