Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Richard Strauss

It's June 11th! Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Richard Strauss, one of the greats of the Late Romantic era. I just wanted to do a little blog here to mark the occasion, since he is one of my favourites, though I do have quite a complex relationship with his music! I'm no expert, but want to share some of his music while rambling about him.

Also Sprach Zarathustra has got one of the most-recognised openings in perhaps the entire history of western music, and yet the remaining half-hour of music is barely known, if it's even that lucky. This seems to sum up my relationship with his music, unfortunately, though. There are moments that I absolutely adore, the lush, grand sweep of the late Romantic glamour that envelops you and sends tingles all along your body, but then I find myself zoning out of the rest of it. I am quite often a very lazy listener, and have been trying to better my rapport with the man, but so far, not much has happened. 

The Dance of the Seven Veils is enough of a bleeding chunk that it is sufficiently well-known outside the context of the opera Salome, not least because of its raunchiness, but I find myself otherwise lost in this opera. Elektra is a bit more enjoyable, perhaps ironically, as it is much more dissonant and much less "late romantic".

But I suppose this really sums up how weird my feelings about Strauss' music are. I do enjoy the romantic "sweep", but I'm still discovering stuff, and I'm guilty of not trying, sometimes; of not giving it the time it deserves. As a final video snippet, something I've only recently discovered, but is really quite wonderful - the final trio from Der Rosenkavalier.

So there are some minor rambles on Richard Strauss, in celebration of his 150th. Hopefully I've inspired, at any rate!

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