Work: Serenade for Winds in E flat major, Op. 7
About This Work
The Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments, Op. 7, from 1881, is the first work of the German composer Richard Strauss to have survived in the concert hall. Although a youthful work, its charm, vivacity, and technical assurance makes it a worthy successor
of Mozart's Gran Partita, upon which it is clearly modeled. Scored for the standard double winds plus four horns and contrabassoon, the Serenade is a single movement work in expansive sonata form. While the essentially conservative Serenade is not at all indicative of the magnificent series of tone poems and operas yet to come, it is still remarkably well composed for an 18 year old and far superior to the reactionary works he had heretofore composed.
It was also Strauss' first composition ever to be performed outside of Munich, where he was born and raised. This premiere took place in Dresden on November 27, 1882, under the direction of Franz Wullner. This was quite an honor for the young composer, as Wullner was a well-known and highly regarded conductor best known for conducting the premieres of Richard Wagner's operas Das Rheingold (1869) and Die Walküre (1870). The conductor's relationship with Strauss would last much longer, with Wullner later leading the premieres of Till Eulenspiegel (1896) and Don Quixote (1898).
-- James Leonard
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