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Richard Strauss

(1864 - 1949)

Richard Strauss was both conductor and composer, and influenced by the work of Wagner. He developed the symphonic or tone-poem after 1900.
Strauss achieved great success with a series of impressive operas. 
His relationship with the National Socialist government in Germany was ambiguous, a fact that protected him but led to post-war difficulties and self-imposed exile in Switzerland, from which he returned home to Bavaria in 1949. 
That year he passed away.

Richard Strauss opera Salome was a great sensation, based on the play with the same name, by Oscar Wilde. 
A collaboration with Hugo von Hoffmannsthal followed, with the operas Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier in 1911. 

Then came Ariadne auf Naxos. Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose) remains the best known opera of Richard Strauss, familiar because of its famous concert waltz-sequence.

From Salome comes the orchestral Dance of the Seven Veils, an important moment in the drama. 
The late opera Die Liebe der Danae, completed in 1940, may also be known in part from orchestral excerpts.

Orchestral Music
In the decade from 1886 Strauss created a series of symphonic poems. 
He started of with Aus Italien (From Italy) and later came Don Juan, based on the poem by Lenau. 
The Shakespearian Macbeth, Tod und Verklarung (Death and Transfiguration), Till Eulenspiegel a study of a medieval prankster. 

Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra) , based on Nietzsche, a series of variations on the theme of Don Quixote and Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life). 
Concertos by Strauss include two for the French horn, an instrument which he was familiar with because his father's eminence, was one of the leading players of his time. 
There is an early violin concerto, the Oboe Concerto of 1945, revised in 1948, that has impressed audiences.

Vocal Music
Strauss was specifically composing German Lieder. 
Most moving of all, are the Vier letzte Lieder (The Four Last Songs).



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