2016年8月26日 星期五

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

Festive Prelude for large orchestra & organ, Op. 61
Richard Strauss: a composer’s life
Richard Strauss (1864-1949) lived through several musical eras - and shaped them deeply. "Others compose; I make music history," the maestro said at age 80 - with his typical blend of self-confidence and wit.
Richard Strauss
1864 - on June 11, Richard Strauss is born in Munich as the son of horn player Franz Strauss and his wife Josephine.
1881 - In Munich, Hermann Levi conducts the premiere of the D Minor Symphony by 16-year-old Strauss.

1882 - first visit to Bayreuth. Strauss witnesses the world premiere of Richard Wagner‘s "Parsifal." Hermann Levi is the conductor.

1884- First meeting with conductor Hans von Bülow

1885-1886 - At von Bülow’s recommendation, Strauss is named court orchestra director in Meiningen.

1886-1889 - Strauss - along with Hermann Levi and Franz von Fischer - is named third orchestra director at the Munich Court Opera.
1889 - Musical assistant at a performance of "Parsifal" in Bayreuth.

1889-1894 - Court orchestra director in Weimar.
- With the symphonic poem "Don Juan," Strauss achieves his breakthrough as one of Germany's most significant young composers.
1894 - Conducting debut in Bayreuth: Wagner‘s "Tannhäuser." After Hans von Bülow's death, Strauss temporarily takes over as music director of the Berlin Philharmonic's concerts.
- Marriage to soprano Pauline de Ahna.

1896 - Strauss is named principal music director at the Munich Court Opera.
1895-1898 - Premiere of the symphonic poems "Till Eulenspiegel," "Thus Spake Zarathustra" and "Don Quixote" in Cologne and Frankfurt.
1896年11月27日 理查.史特勞斯《查拉圖斯特拉如是說》首演
1898 - Named first royal Prussian court orchestra director at the Berlin Court Opera.
1900 - Meets Austrian poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal in Paris; plans made for a joint effort.
1901 - Made president of the General German Music Association.

1903 - Co-founder of the German Composers' Society, established to represent composers' rights.
1904 - Trip to the US. Strauss conducts the world premiere of the "Symphonia domestica" in New York's Carnegie Hall.
1905 - Premiere of "Salome" at the Dresden Court Opera, now the Semper Opera. Critics are appalled. About his court orchestra director, Emperor Wilhelm II. fumes, "I've nourished a beautiful snake at my breast!" Gustav Mahler enthuses: "An utterly ingenious, very strong work."

Starting in 1906 - First collaboration with librettist Hugo Hofmannsthal; several operas ensue in the following years.
1908 - General music director in Berlin and director of the court orchestra.
1909 - January 25: premiere of the tragedy "Elektra" in Dresden.

1911 - January 26: premiere of the comedy "Der Rosenkavalier" in Dresden. Ernst von Schuch, who conducted the performance, reports: "An unprecedented outburst of ovations in the theater. Probably the most beautiful thing ever written."

1915 - Premiere of Strauss' symphonic poem "An Alpine Symphony" in Berlin: "A kitschy post card in notes," is the verdict of some, while others call it "an Alpine tapestry in sound."
- Co-founder of the "Society for Musical Performance Rights" (now known as GEMA).

1917 - Strauss, Hofmannsthal and Max Reinhardt co-initiate the Salzburg Festival.
1919 - Along with conductor Franz Schalk, Strauss is named director of the Vienna State Opera.
1924 - Strauss resigns from the Vienna Opera and lives as a freelance composer and conductor in Vienna and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

1929 - The death of his partner Hugo von Hofmannsthal upsets Strauss deeply. He begins to look for a new librettist.
1931 - First meeting with Jewish-born writer Stefan Zweig.

1933 - Cooperation with the National Socialists: Strauss is named president of the Reich Music Chamber.
1935 - "Die schweigsame Frau" premieres in Dresden. Strauss' support of librettist Stefan Zweig causes friction with the regime. The opera is banned in Germany. Strauss is forced to step down as president of the Reich Music Chamber.
1936 - At the opening of the Olympic Games in Berlin, Strauss conducts his "Olympic Hymn," commissioned by the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne in 1932.
1939-1945 - Work mostly as a conductor during the Second World War in Vienna and elsewhere.
1945 - The composer witnesses the end of the war in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In "mourning over Munich," he writes his "Metamorphoses" for 23 solo strings, calling it “a reflection of my entire life."
- Strauss' mansion in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is occupied by American troops. Strauss moves to Switzerland to avoid being named a Nazi collaborator by the American war commission.
1948 - In June, the de-Nazification trial in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is adjourned: Strauss is classified as "not guilty."
- "Four Last Songs" composed and first performed post-mortem in London by soprano Kirsten Flagstad.
1949 - Return to Garmisch-Partenkirchen; on September 8 Richard Strauss dies, at age 85.

Richard Strauss and musical seduction

The composer, conductor, professional and maestro of self-promotion was born 150 years ago. But one shadow hangs over Richard Strauss: his ambivalent attitude to the Nazi regime.
Richard Strauss
The trumpet melody with its slow build and increasing force that accompanies the opening of Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" is a classic. Kubrik used the sensual and metaphysical power of the composition - originally scored by Richard Strauss as a sunrise in his rendition of Nietzsche's "Thus Spake Zarathustra" - as a backdrop to the gradual rise of the sun in his extra-terrestrial world.
Walter Werbeck, who has written a Richard Strauss handbook to mark this anniversary year, talks in terms of the composer's "sensual effects" and "orchestral brilliance," which he combines with drive and energy. "Music that appears to evoke a new era of music, and which in terms of orchestral and aural technique outdid everything - even by Wagner - heard theretofore."
Richard Strauss was born on June 11, 1864, and to mark the passing of 150 years, his operas, orchestral works and lieder are gracing stages up and down the country. His richly instrumented symphonic poems, songs, chamber music, and operas such as "Arabella," "Salome," "Elektra" and "The Woman without a Shadow" are known and loved all over the world.
Public relations genius
Richard Strauss
The young composer
Strauss had an unerring sense of what would help him and his music to success, and according Daniel Ender, whose book "Meister der Inszenierungen" (Master of Staging) was published this year, he was a man of considerable marketing talent.
"He ensured that he made it into the public eye," Ender told DW. "And he did it by establishing a network of journalist friends who painted a positive picture of him as a modest man who continued to churn out new works. They then went on to depict the details of these works, which made the public curious." His planned use of exotic musical instruments such as the wind machine in his "Alpine Symphony" was announced in the press. "He always had his fingers in the mix," Ender said.
Playbill for the premiere of Salome, 1905
The opera "Salome" was probably the most significant among his calculated scandals and successes. Its captivating, unsettling eroticism made it the stage event of 1905 and 1906. Although the seduction scene, the "Dance of the Seven Veils," led to its erstwhile prohibition, it remained a hit across Europe.
Werbeck says it was thoroughly in keeping for Strauss to combine "orchestral brilliance and a polished tone technique with a sensationalist plot." He describes the composer's decision to cast the biblical figure of Salome as a contemporary femme fatal "very modern and very attractive."
In other operas, such as "The Rosenkavalier," Strauss brought to the stage a world which Werbeck says "didn’t really exist any more by the time the piece premiered in 1911. Yet by looking at it through a nostalgic prism, he managed to make it seem intact."
A helping hand
In his capacity as a conductor, Strauss actively supported other composers. He was an energetic player on the cultural-political scene and an advocate of artists' rights. In order to improve the social status of composers, he pushed for the formulation of a new copyright law. As such, Werbeck told DW, the composer welcomed the 1933 political rise of Adolf Hitler - a Wagner lover and a self-professed artist. Strauss hoped the new leader would place greater importance on the arts, and on music in particular.
Richard Strauss as an old man at his home in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
At home in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Strauss was made president of the Reichsmusikkammer, the official state music bureau for the promotion of what the regime deemed to be good German music. He did not last long in that office however, which Ender attributes in part to the fact that after his success with the overhaul of copyright law, he was unable to implement further reform plans.
What's more, Strauss clashed with the regime in matters of taste and on questions of culture. "Strauss placed massive importance on being a cultivated human being, and was disappointed by the Nazis," Ender said. Although no longer Reichsmusikkammerpresident, Strauss did come to an understanding with the regime in the years to follow - in part to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law and grandchildren.
Table in a bookstore filled with books on Richard Strauss
No dearth of Strauss biographies this year
"From what we can tell, he was not a Nazi by conviction, and it is important to be clear on that point," Ender said, adding that what was important for him during the Hitler era was that his work be played. "His opportunistic approach worked well for the Nazis."
The here and now
Despite the ambivalence in his behavior, Strauss was always convinced that he was the last great composer of Western music tradition. His strong sense of ego bears hints of hubris, and his rigorous rejection of atonal and twelve-tone music brought him considerable criticism and contempt from 20th century composers and music theorists.
But he stuck to his own style, and continued in the late Romantic tradition decades after it had been declared history. His operas and instrumental pieces have survived the critics and the test of time, and they continue to touch and seduce music lovers a century later.

This coming week we'll be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss' birth. Take a deep dive into Strauss with this hour-long special that explores his dedication to his art, as reflected in his grand orchestral works and his unforgettable operas.
Richard Strauss was a hard man to pin down. As an artist, he was never tied to a single style. He embraced many musical forms during his lifetime. There was only one guiding principle: his belief that music is a holy art.

Behind Richard Strauss's Murky Relationship with the Nazis

Thursday, June 05, 2014

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June 11 is the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss's birth—an occasion to celebrate and also to raise questions about the composer and his actions during the Nazi era.
In 1933, Strauss accepted a high-profile job from the Nazis, when propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels named him president of the Reichsmusikkammer, the State Music Bureau. Strauss wrote pieces for the Nazis including "Das Bächlein," a song dedicated to Goebbels. And he even wrote at least one letter pledging his loyalty to Hitler.
But Strauss's defenders note that he eventually lost the Nazi post for insisting that Stefan Zweig – the Jewish librettist of his comic opera Die Schweigsame Frau – should appear in the program at the premiere in Dresden, in 1935. And Strauss may have helped save several Jewish lives later in the war. He emerged from his postwar de-Nazification hearing with no official taint.
So was Strauss a hero, a bad actor, or something else? In this week's episode, we’re joined by two Strauss experts to sort through these questions:
  • Erik Levi, author of Mozart and the Nazis and Music in the Third Reich, and a professor of music at Royal Holloway, University of London.
  • Bryan Gilliam, a professor of humanities at Duke University and author of several books on Strauss including Rounding Wagner's Mountain: Richard Strauss and Modern German Opera.

Segment Highlights

On Strauss's relationship to the Nazis
Levi: Initially he was an enthusiastic advocate [of the Nazis]. Remember that we were experiencing in the 1920s a period of tremendous economic fluctuation and a lot of composers on the bread line. What Strauss wanted to do was bring stability to the composing profession, and this was what was promised to him.
Gilliam: I wouldn't say he was pro-Nazi ideology; he was pro-Richard Strauss ideology. He was an opportunist. I don't think he was excited ever about any government. He'd be excited over a government that gave him opportunities for work and commissions and the like. His ideology was Richard Strauss. There's an exception here: his son, Franz, was enthusiastic...

The Music That Strauss Composed for the Nazis
Levi on the Olympic Hymn of 1936: He didn't share much enthusiasm for the idea of writing something for the sporting event. But he was keen to promote himself and a big event like the Berlin Olympic games was an event where he could occupy center stage. It's a piece of jobbery really.
Gilliam: The Olympic Hymn poem was by a half-Jewish poet. He sat next to Hitler at the ceremony.

On the Moral Implications of the Music Strauss wrote under the Nazi regime
Levi: We have to divorce the music from the man. Some past composers in history have been terribly unpleasant people with unpleasant views. It is a thicket. We need to mention a piece like Metamorphosen, written at the end of the war, where you really sense the agony and the grief for the destruction of Germany. The destruction of Germany was wrought by Hitler and his gang, and this music really speaks to the heart that few other works of the 20th century do.
Gilliam: I don't find anything heroic about Strauss, but as a musician, I am absolutely mesmerized by one of the most brilliant artistic individuals of the 20th century.
Listen to the segment above and leave a comment below: Should Strauss have spoken out more forcefully against the Nazis? Do you find his Nazi-era works problematic?

 . Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen
Composed in 1945, Strauss’s Metamorphosen, a work for 23 solo strings, contains Strauss's most sustained outpouring of tragic emotion. The work was written as a statement of mourning for Germany's destruction during the war, in particular the bombing of the Munich Opera House and the Goethehaus. According to Michael Kennedy's biography Richard Strauss: Man, Musician, Enigma (1999), one hostile early critic interpreted the composition as mourning Hitler and the Nazi regime. But Strauss had written the words "In Memoriam" over a quotation from Beethoven's Eroica Symphony as a way to symbolize the toll of war on the German culture and aesthetic in general. As he wrote in his diary:
    "The most terrible period of human history (is at) an end, the twelve year reign of bestiality, ignorance and anti-culture under the greatest criminals, during which Germany's 2000 years of cultural evolution met its doom."

2014;the 150th birthday of Richard Strauss.
Richard Strauss: Wilhelm, Kurt

Richard Strauss

Wilhelm, Kurt

Published by Thames & Hudson, 1989
 Richard Strauss。這本書Richard Strauss: An Intimate Portrait,在圖片等方面更好。


Richard Strauss: An Intimate Portrait

Front Cover
Thames and Hudson, 1989 - Biography & Autobiography - 312 pages
Richard Strauss (1864-1949) always claimed that his music was a self-portrait, that he depicted himself, his nature, and his world in musical notes. From the charming autobiographical opera Intermezzo, based on a domestic misunderstanding, to the self-confident tone poem Ein Heldenleben, the composer's works relate to his personal experience as closely as those of any

nineteenth-century Romantic. For the huge audience that enjoys the music of Strauss, Kurt Wilhelm's book has proved to be a cornucopia of information.
Many of the numerous illustration -- taken from the private archive of the Strauss family -- have never been published previously, and all are of immense historical interest. Skillfully woven around them is a detailed and revealing text, rich in anecdotes, quotations, and personal reminiscences by members of the Strauss family and contemporaries. The result is an intimate investigation of the private life, opinions, background, and works of Strauss that comes as close to the man as one is likely to get.