With the dead woman’s voice in mind

Richard Strauss is a prominent Viennese composer but has no tribal affiliation with the Vienna Strauss dynasty who are known for their waltzes and entertaining music of the time. He lived between 1864 and 1949 as a composer and conductor of symphony music and was nicknamed the father of 20th century opera, especially with his famous operas “Electra” and “Solome”. He was also distinguished in the genre of symphonic poem, and especially with the Till Eulenshpigel Poem (1895), (Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche) Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 1896 (Thus Spoke Zarathustra) Don Quixote Don Quixote (1897), Chamber Symphony (1903) ( Symphonia Domestica) and the Alpine Symphony (1911–1915). (An Alpine Symphony)

Raised in a wealthy family, he soon turned to music. His first teacher was Wilhelm Meyer Rémy. a prominent composer and lecturer of Bohemian origin. In 1883 he began to live between the towns of Dresden and Berlin and also knew Hans von Bülov and Jonnes Brahms. Initially in a style close to the German romanticists Bragms and Shuman Strauss began to find individuality especially after acquaintance with violinist Alexander Ritter, approaching Wagner in what is called late romanticism.

In the later period Strauss wrote some Lieder (songs) which are also considered his masterpieces. It is thought that the last four songs he had written had in mind the voice of his deceased wife. She was Pauline de Ahna a soprano who gave him inspiration and happiness.

The Four Last Songs, composed shortly before Strauss’s death, deal with the subject of dying. The last one, “Im Abendrot” (At Sunset), ends with the line “Is this perhaps death?” The question is not answered in words, but instead Strauss quotes the “transfiguration theme” from his earlier tone poem, Death and Transfiguration—meant to symbolize the transfiguration and fulfilment of the soul after death.


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