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Richard Strauss

 1864 - 1949Richard Strauss Photo: www.booseyprints.com

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Richard Strauss was a leading post-Romantic German composer, who created many of the most widely-performed 20th century operas * Son of horn player in Munich Court Orchestra * Gained conducting experience in Meiningen and Munich, leading to appointment as Kapellmeister in Weimar * Series of tone poems in 1890s marked him as radical successor to Wagner and Liszt * Successful premieres of Salome, Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier in Dresden established him as a leading opera composer * Collaborations with poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal on six operas 1905-29 * 1910s included works ranging from commedia dell'Arte lightness of Ariadne auf Naxos to complex psychology of Die Frau ohne Schatten * Further explorations of social comedy included Intermezzo, Arabella and Die schweigsame Frau * Last decade of life brought Indian summer with operas Daphne, Die Liebe der Danae and Capriccio, the Oboe Concerto, Metamorphosen and Four Last Songs * Music combines Wagnerian richness with Mozartian lyricism * Orchestration demonstrates great virtuosity and highly original chamber-like scoring * Output includes some of the greatest writing for the female voice

Works by Richard Strauss include:
Die Frau ohne Schatten (1914-17) Opera in three acts
Metamorphosen (1944-45) for 23 solo strings, or string septet
Oboe Concerto (1945) for oboe and chamber orchestra
Four Last Songs (1948) for soprano and orchestra

Looking Ahead: 150th anniversary of birth celebrated in 2014

"From first to last he put his trust in tonality, melody, dramatic instinct, and a vein of fantasy which belongs to all the greatest story-tellers." — Michael Kennedy

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Sergei Rachmaninoff

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