Richard Strauss

Biography

Born: Jun 11, 1864; Germany   Died: Sep 8, 1949; Germany   Period: 20th Century
Though the long career of Richard Strauss spanned one of the most chaotic periods in political, social, and cultural history of the world, the composer retained his essentially Romantic aesthetic even into the age of television, jet engines, and atom bombs. Born in Munich in 1864, Strauss was the son of Franz Joseph Strauss, the principal hornist in the Munich Court Orchestra. Strauss demonstrated musical aptitude at an early age, and extensive Read more training in piano, violin, theory, harmony, and orchestration equipped him to produce music of extraordinary polish and maturity by the time he reached adulthood. His primary teachers had been his father, who was a musical conservative, and Ludwig Thuille, a Munich School composer and family friend. Strauss' Serenade for 13 Winds, Op. 7 (1881), written when he was 17, led conductor Hans von Bülow to pronounce him "by far the most striking personality since Brahms." Bülow was able to give Strauss his first commission and an assistant conductor position. Through new friendships, Strauss learned to admire the writings of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and the music of Wagner and Liszt. He embarked on a long career of conducting and composing, which take him all over Europe and the U.S.

From the beginning of Strauss' career as a composer, it was evident that the orchestra was his natural medium. With the composition of the "symphonic fantasy" Aus Italien in 1886, Strauss embarked on a series of works that represents both one of the pivotal phases of his career and a body of music of central importance in the late German Romantic repertoire. Though he did not invent the tone poem per se, he brought it to its pinnacle. In such works as Don Juan (1888-1889), Ein Heldenleben (1897-1898), and Also sprach Zarathustra (1895-1896) -- whose first minute or so, thanks to its use in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, is the composer's most readily recognizable music -- Strauss displayed his abundant gift for exploiting the coloristic possibilities of the orchestra as a dramatic device like few composers ever had (or have since).

With the arrival of the twentieth century, after becoming conductor at Berlin's Hofoper, Strauss' interest turned more fully to opera, resulting in a body of unforgettable works that have long been fixtures of the repertoire: Salome (1903-1905), Elektra (1906-1908), and Der Rosenkavalier (1909-1910) are just a few of his best-known efforts for the stage. In 1919, Strauss became co-director of the Vienna Staatsoper, but was forced to resign five years later by his partner, Franz Schalk, who resented being left with many of the operational duties while Strauss was frequently away guest conducting or being feted as a great composer. When the political situation in Europe became malignant in the 1930s, profound political naïveté led to Strauss' confused involvement with the Nazi propaganda machine, and the composer eventually alienated both the Nazis and their opponents. With the end of World War II, however, he was permitted to resume his professional life, although it would be a mere echo of his previous fame. He began to have serious health problems, his financial situation had been compromised, and the monuments that embodied great German art for him -- Goethe's Weimar house; the Dresden, Munich, and Vienna opera houses -- had been destroyed. Throughout his last years, works such as the Oboe Concerto (1945) and the gorgeously expressive Four Last Songs (1948) attest to Strauss' unwavering confidence in his singular musical voice.
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Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier / Solti, Crespin, Minton
Release Date: 09/11/2001   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 417493   Number of Discs: 3
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Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos / Masur, Norman, Gruberova
Release Date: 10/25/1990   Label: Philips  
Catalog: 422084   Number of Discs: 2
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R. Strauss: Die Liebe Der Danae / Krauss, Schöffler, Traxel
Release Date: 12/08/1994   Label: Orfeo D'or  
Catalog: 292923   Number of Discs: 3
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Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos / Bohm, Della Casa, Gueden
Release Date: 07/01/1994   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 445332   Number of Discs: 2
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R. Strauss: Salome / Böhm, Jones, Fischer-Dieskau, Hamburg State Opera
Release Date: 07/01/1994   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 445319   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Elektra, Op. 58

Browse 26-37 of 37 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Strauss: Elektra  / Kraus, Varnay, Rysanek, Hotter
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5008 Release Date: 02/24/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Heiner Horn,  Kathe Retzmann,  Gertie Charlent,  Helene Petrich  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Kraus
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Chorus,  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 27.
    Strauss: Elektra / Wolfgang Sawallisch, Cheryl Studer, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 09190 Release Date: 02/26/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Kurt Moll,  Victoria Wheeler,  Dorothea Giepel,  Ulrich Ress  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Strauss: Elektra / Solti, Nilsson, Resnik, Collier, Krause
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000830302 Release Date: 05/08/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Marie Collier,  Tom Krause,  Gerhard Stolze,  Regina Resnik  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 29.
    Strauss: Elektra / Levine, Nilsson, Rysanek, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000747509 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Leonie Rysanek,  Mignon Dunn,  Donald McIntyre
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 30.
    Strauss: Elektra / Varnay, Rysanek, Böhm, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000508209 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Astrid Varnay,  Leonie Rysanek,  Catarina Ligendza
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Strauss: Elektra / Mitropoulos, Varnay, Nicolaidi, Et Al
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2213/14 Release Date: 07/30/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Herbert Janssen,  Michael Rhodes,  Miriam Stockton,  Irene Jessner  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 32.
    Strauss: Elektra / Andersson, Borkh, Resnik, Et Al
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1170 Release Date: 11/30/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Inge Borkh,  Audrey Schuh,  Benjamin Rayson,  Regina Resnik
    Conductor:  Knud Andersson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Orleans Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $34.98
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  • 33.
    R. Strauss: Elektra / Mitropoulos, Borkh, Della Casa, Et Al
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 456972 Release Date: 01/25/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Inge Borkh,  Jean Madeira,  Lisa Della Casa,  Max Lorenz  ... 
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 34.
    Strauss: Elektra / Ozawa, Behrens, Ludwig, Hynninen, BSO
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 422574 Release Date: 10/30/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Nadine Secunde,  Jorma Hynninen,  Emily Rawlins,  Brian Matthews  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Tanglewood Festival Chorus
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  • 35.
    Strauss: Elektra / Sinopoli, Marc, Voigt, Schwarz, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 453429 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Alessandra Marc,  Elisabeth Wilke,  Goran Simic,  Siegfried Jerusalem  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Strauss: Elektra / Barenboim, Meier, Polaski, Marc, Et Al
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 99175 Release Date: 06/04/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Alessandra Marc,  Carola Nossek,  Johan Botha,  Magdalena Falewicz  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Berlin Staatskapelle Chorus
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  • 37.
    R. Strauss: Elektra / Karajan, Mödl, Varnay, Hillebrecht
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 298922 Release Date: 08/22/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  James King,  Eberhard Wächter,  Margarete Sjösted,  Cvetka Ahlin  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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