Morning Glories: Richard Strauss

by Rex Levang, Minnesota Public Radio
June 9, 2014

St. Paul, Minn. — Every weekday at 10 a.m., the hosts at Classical MPR play a standout work based on the theme for the week. We call these works Morning Glories.

This week on Morning Glories, we note the 150th birthday of Richard Strauss. His operas and tone poems achieved spectacular success during his lifetime, and today, they're performed, recorded, and discussed as widely as ever.

On Morning Glories, we'll bring you five Strauss pieces, familiar and unfamiliar. And to find out more about this multi-faceted, enigmatic man, tune in to Classical MPR on Monday at noon, for the Strauss documentary, "Music Is a Holy Art," with soprano Deborah Voigt.

Monday

Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks
Many of Strauss's tone poems celebrate characters who stand slightly outside of society: Don Juan, Don Quixote, or the medieval prankster, Till Eulenspiegel.

Tuesday

Josephslegende (The Legend of Joseph)
One of Strauss's outings into the world of ballet, written for none other than Nijinsky, though he was never to perform it.

Wednesday

Also sprach Zarathustra
Today is Strauss's 150th birthday, and we offer this piece, which opens with the most famous bars of music that he ever wrote — thanks to Stanley Kubrick and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Thursday

Burleske
For all his prolific output, Strauss never wrote a piece called "piano concerto." Here's a showpiece for piano that may be as close as we'll come.

Friday

Horn Concerto No. 2
At the end of his long life, Strauss entered his "Indian summer" period, which includes this concerto. As he wrote it, he no doubt recalled his own father, an outstanding horn player.


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