|01||A Star In The Ascendant||20180226|
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.
Morgen!, Op 27 No 4
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche
Wiegenlied, Op 41 No 1
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
Der Rosenkavalier (excerpt)
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (excerpt)
Ariadne auf Naxos (excerpt)
|03||World War One And Its Aftermath||20180228|
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.
Amor (Brentano Lieder, Op 68)
Die Frau ohne Schatten (excerpt)
Ophelia Lieder, Op 67
Four Symphonic Interludes from 'Intermezzo'
|04||The Third Reich||20180301|
Soon after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, he wasted no time in setting up the Reich's Culture Chamber, of which Strauss was invited to take on the role of president of the music section. Strauss believed he could improve the country's musical affairs through his official position but his close association with the Nazi regime would ultimately prove to be both a blessing and a curse. When Strauss wrote an ill-advised letter to his new librettist, the Jewish writer Stefan Zweig, criticising the regime, it was intercepted by the Gestapo and Strauss was ordered to resign from his official position less than two years after taking on the role. Presented by Donald Macleod.
Das Bächlein, Op 88 No 1
Schlagobers Waltz (excerpt)
Die Göttin im Putzzimmer
Richard Strauss was 75 when war was declared in September 1939. The years leading up to his death, a decade later, would be some of the most challenging of his life.
Capriccio - final aria, 'Kein andres, das mir so im Herzen loht'
Horn Concerto No 2 (final mvt)
Beim Schlafengehen (Four Last Songs)