Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

Episodes

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01A Star In The Ascendant20180226The composer embarks on his most important conducting job to date.

In 1894, aged 30, German composer and conductor Richard Strauss embarked on his most important conducting job to date, at the Munich Opera House. That year he reinforced his standing in the concert hall with another brilliantly colourful tone poem and married his soulmate and muse, Pauline de Ahna. But he was keen to establish himself on the operatic stage, too, and after the poor reception of his first two operas came Salome. It nearly caused a riot amongst the performers and Strauss was accused of sensationalism by his critics, but it was an instant success and immediately in demand from opera houses all over Europe.
Presented by Donald Macleod.

Morgen!, Op 27 No 4
Kiera Duffy (soprano)
Roger Vignoles (piano)

Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Conductor, Manfred Honeck

Wiegenlied, Op 41 No 1
Christine Brewer (soprano)
Roger Vignoles (piano)

Salome (excerpts)
Salome....Christine Brewer (soprano)
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Conductor, Donald Runnicles.

0220180227Donald Macleod introduces Strauss's partnership with the librettist Hugo von Hoffmannsthal

As General Director of the Berlin Court Opera and conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, Strauss was, by 1908, Germany's most powerful musician. With his next opera began one of the greatest partnerships between composer and librettist in operatic history, but also one of the most problematic. His second collaboration with the writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal produced Der Rosenkavalier which was a tremendous success when it was premiered in 1911. The next, with Molière's play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme as its inspiration, was fraught with difficulty and required several reinventions before it gained the popularity it would eventually achieve. Presented by Donald Macleod.

Mit deinem blauen Augen, Op 56 No 4
Christopher Maltman (baritone)
Roger Vignoles (piano)

Der Rosenkavalier (excerpt)
Marschallin....Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano)
Octavian....Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo)
Sophie....Barbara Hendricks (soprano)
Staatskappelle Dresden
Conductor, Bernard Haitink

Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (excerpt)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor, Simon Rattle

Ariadne auf Naxos (excerpt)
Composer....Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo)
Zerbinetta....Natalie Dessay (soprano)
Prima Donna....Deborah Voigt (soprano)
Music Master....Albert Dohmen (baritone)
Dancing Master....Michael Howard (tenor)
Staatskapelle Dresden
Conductor, Giuseppe Sinopoli.

03World War One And Its Aftermath20180228Donald Macleod looks at the effects of the war on Strauss's life.

Life carried on pretty much as normal for Strauss during the war. His strenuous conducting schedule continued at the Berlin Court Opera and he undertook punishing conducting tours. He met the soprano Elisabeth Schumann during his travels. Her voice inspired Strauss to write his first songs in 12 years, including three which trace Ophelia's descent into madness. After the war, life at the Berlin Opera House became untenable and he took on the co-directorship of the Vienna Opera, a move not without its own challenges. There, Strauss's opera Die Frau ohne Schatten received a lukewarm reception at its premiere. A few years later came his next opera, which featured the composer and his wife as the main characters and a farcical case of mistaken identity in his personal life.
Presented by Donald Macleod.

Amor (Brentano Lieder, Op 68)
Kiera Duffy (soprano)
Roger Vignoles (piano)

Die Frau ohne Schatten (excerpt)
Empress....Julia Varady (soprano)
Nurse....Reinhild Runkel (contralto)
Dyer's Wife....Hildegard Behrens (soprano)
Barak....José van Dam (baritone)
Vienna State Opera Chorus and Children's Choir
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor, Sir Georg Solti

Ophelia Lieder, Op 67
Christiane Karg (soprano)
Malcolm Martineau (piano)

Four Symphonic Interludes from 'Intermezzo'
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Conductor, Franz Welser-Möst.