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Title: Richard Strauss - Herbert F. Peyser
Author: Peyser, Herbert F.
Language: English
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                            Richard Strauss


                           HERBERT F. PEYSER

                          [Illustration: Logo]

                      Written for and dedicated to
                                  the
                             RADIO MEMBERS
                                   of
                   THE PHILHARMONIC-SYMPHONY SOCIETY
                              of NEW YORK

                             Copyright 1952
                   THE PHILHARMONIC-SYMPHONY SOCIETY
                              of NEW YORK
                          113 West 57th Street
                           New York 19, N. Y.

            [Illustration: Richard Strauss at the age of 39]



                                FOREWORD


The writer of a thumb-nail biography of Richard Strauss finds himself
confronted with a troublesome assignment. Strauss lived well beyond the
scriptural age allotted the average man. He would have been 86 had he
reached his next birthday. There was nothing romantic or sensational
about his passing, for he died of a complication of the illnesses of old
age. There was not much truly spectacular about the course of his life,
which was most happily free from the material troubles which bedeviled
the existence of so many great masters; and he was not called upon to
starve or to struggle to achieve the material rewards of his gifts. He
had not to pass through the conflicts which embittered the lives of
Wagner or Berlioz, and he was never compelled to suffer like Mozart or
Schubert. There is no record of his ever humiliating himself or
performing degrading chores for publishers in return for a wretched
pittance. He had wealth enough without compromising his art to keep the
pot boiling—and for this one can only feel devoutly thankful. What if he
was taxed with sensationalism? How many of the masters of music has not
had at one time or another to endure this reproach? If “Salome” and
“Elektra”, “Ein Heldenleben” and “Till Eulenspiegel” were in their day
scandalously “sensational” did not the whirligig of time reveal them as
incontestable products of genius, irrespective of inequalities and
flaws? However Richard Strauss compares in the last analysis with this
or that master he contributed to the language of music idioms,
procedures and technical accomplishments typical of the confused years
and conflicting ideals out of which they were born. His works are most
decidedly of an age, whether or not they are for all time! In a way he
was almost as fortunate as Mendelssohn. Need anyone begrudge him this?

                                                                H. F. P.



                            RICHARD STRAUSS


                                  _By_
                           HERBERT F. PEYSER

The late spring of 1864 brought two events which, though seemingly
unrelated, actually had a kind of mystic kinship and were to stir the
surfaces of music. Early in May of that year Richard Wagner was summoned
to Munich to become the friend and protégé of the young Bavarian
sovereign, Ludwig II, whose real mission on earth was to save the
composer for the world. Hardly more than a month later there was born in
the same city a boy likewise named Richard who was destined in the
fullness of time to become in a sense an heir and continuator of the
older master, though by no means a vain copy of his artistic and
spiritual lineaments. And long before the span of his days reached its
end he had taken an undisputed place in history as a seminal force in
music, for all the disagreements and conflicts his art was to engender
through a large part of his more than four-score years.

Richard Strauss first saw the light on June 11, 1864, in a house on the
Altheimer Eck, Munich, at the center of the town and a stone’s throw
from the twin steeples of the Frauenkirche. The edifice in which the
future composer of _Salome_, _Elektra_ and _Der Rosenkavalier_ was born
forms part of a complex of buildings in which a number of larger and
smaller beer halls and restaurants, separated by cobbled courtyards,
house the brewery of Georg Pschorr, senior, whose son, Georg Pschorr,
junior, enlarged the establishment. Furthermore, he improved the quality
of its products till Pschorrbrau beer became, it seemed to many
(including the writer of these pages) the most incomparable refreshment
this side of heaven, despite the close proximity of the Hofbrauhaus, the
Löwenbrau, the Augustiner Brau and the unnumbered other Munich breweries
and affiliated Bierstuben. At this point the writer ought, logically, to
confess that he bases his present recollections on what he remembers
from his wanderings in the Bavarian capital prior to the Second World
War, since which time changes without number may well have changed the
picture. But one thing is reasonably certain—if the old house at
Altheimer Eck (Number 2) still stands it continues to have affixed to
its wall the decorative inscription: “Am 11 Juni 1864 wurde hier Richard
Strauss geboren.” (“On June 11, 1864, Richard Strauss was born here.”)

                                 * * *

The Pschorrs apart from being excellent brewers were excellent
musicians. One of the four daughters, Josephine, later Richard’s mother,
a fairly accomplished pianist, taught her son piano in his fifth year. A
noted harpist, August Tombo, continued the lessons and by the time the
boy was seven he was administered violin instruction. Franz Strauss,
Richard’s father, was an individual of a fibre as tough as Josephine
Pschorr, who became his wife, was mild-mannered and sensitive. But he
was an amazingly fine horn player, for the sake of whose virtuosity and
musicianship greater men than he put up with his ill manners and
incredible tantrums. A venomous reactionary, his particular detestation
was Wagner, against whom he never hesitated to exhibit the meanest
traits of which he was capable. Even when the author of _Tristan_
expressed himself as overjoyed with the sound of the orchestra at a
first rehearsal of his work in the little Residenz Theatre Franz Strauss
retorted: “That’s not true! It sounded like an old tin kettle!” He
pronounced Wagner’s horn parts “unplayable” so that Wagner had to call
upon Hans Richter to try out for him some passages in _Die
Meistersinger_ in order to demonstrate that they were anything but
“impossible”. With the elder Strauss Hans von Bülow was repeatedly at
loggerheads. And when he once attempted to thank Bülow for some favor
the latter had shown young Richard Strauss Bülow exploded with the
words: “You have no right to thank me! I did your son a favor not on
your account but only because I consider his talent deserves it!” To the
end of his days Franz Strauss remained a cantankerous individual.

        [Illustration: Birthplace of Richard Strauss in Munich]

Young Richard may not have exhibited the precocity of a Mozart or a
Mendelssohn but there could be no doubt that musical impulses stirred in
the child. He piled up a considerable quantity of juvenilia, beginning
as a six-year-old. In 1871 he turned out a “Schneiderpolka”—a “Tailor’s
Polka”. There followed dance pieces for piano, “wedding music” for
keyboard and children’s instruments, some marches and more miscellany of
the sort. It was related by his naturally proud relations that the lad
could write notes even before he had learned the alphabet. There would
be no particular point in detailing these boyish accomplishments, yet
when Richard was twelve an uncle paid for the publication by Breitkopf
und Härtel of a “Festival March”, which gained the distinction of
appearing as “Opus 1”. It need hardly be said that he participated in
domestic performances of chamber music with regularity. All the same his
school work maintained a high level, even if it did not consume a
needless amount of time. He also found leisure to jot in the pages of
his mathematics copybook whole passages of a violin concerto which
appears to have been set down during his classroom lessons. According to
his biographer, Willy Brandl, the piece was written so rapidly that the
student contrived a three-line staff instead of the usual five-line one.

At this period his musical tastes were colored by those of his father.
Thus there is no reason for surprise that the compositions he turned out
up to the end of his high school days were the customary platitudes of
classical and romantic models. Especially Schumann and Mendelssohn were
rather colorlessly reflected in the products the youth fashioned. Even
considering his father’s poisonous detestation of Wagner it still
remains hard to grasp how weak was the pressure the creator of _Tristan_
and _Meistersinger_ exercised on the son precisely when the Wagnerian
idiom was beginning to permeate the language of music. More than that,
it took time for the boy Strauss to rid his system of the ludicrous
prejudices he parroted for a while. To his friend the composer, Ludwig
Thuille, he confided that _Lohengrin_ (which he heard at fifteen) was
“sweet and sickly, in all but the action”; and after his first exposure
to _Siegfried_ he lamented that he was “more cruelly bored than I can
tell!” Then he concluded with this burst of prophecy: “You can be
assured that in ten years nobody will remember who Richard Wagner was!”

Young Strauss was to outlive such heresies by the sensible process of
steeping himself in Wagner’s scores rather than by viewing inadequate
performances as truths of Holy Writ. It is hardly necessary to emphasize
the dismay of Franz Strauss as, little by little, he became aware of the
turn things were taking. He who had striven to bring up his son in his
own Philistine ways was gradually brought face to face with the
upsetting fact that the young man might be getting out of hand! Richard
was no music school or conservatory pupil, and had presumably none too
many academic precepts to unlearn. One advantage of this was that
nothing tempted him to cut short other phases of his education; and in
the autumn of 1882 he began to attend philosophical, literary and other
cultural lectures at the University of Munich, so that there were no
serious gaps in his schooling. He continued to compose industriously (a
chorus in the _Elektra_ of Sophocles was one of his creations in this
period); but in after years he warned against “rushing before the public
with unripe efforts.” Subsequently he visited upon the works of his
salad days this judgment: “In them I lost much real freshness and
force.” So much for those who question even today the soundness of this
early verdict.

                                 * * *

One advantage he came early to enjoy—the good will of Hermann Levi, the
Munich conductor (or, let us give him his more imposing official title
of “Generalmusikdirektor”) who first presided in Bayreuth over Wagner’s
_Parsifal_. In 1881 the outstanding chamber music organization of the
Bavarian capital performed a string quartet of young Strauss and very
shortly afterwards Levi sponsored the first public hearing of a rather
more ambitious effort, a symphony in D minor. Before a capacity audience
the noted conductor went so far as to congratulate the high school
student. It should be set down to the credit of the scarcely
seventeen-year-old composer that he did not for a moment suffer the
tribute to turn his head. Next morning the student was back in his
classroom, as unconcerned with his triumphs of the preceding evening as
if they had all been no more than an agreeable dream. The usually
peppery father appears to have been somewhat less balanced than his son
and a little earlier took it upon himself to dispatch Richard’s
_Serenade for Wind Instruments_, Opus 7, to Hans von Bülow. “Not a
genius, but at the most a talent of the kind that grows on every bush,”
shot back the latter after a glimpse at the score of this adolescent
production. But Bülow’s irritable mood softened before long and he was
considerably more flattering about other of the composer’s works which
came to his attention. All the same Bülow grew to like the _Serenade_
well enough to make room for it on one of his programs. Meantime—on
November 27, 1882—Franz Wüllner produced it in Dresden. And it was a
strange quirk of fate which made of this piece the unexpected vehicle
for Richard’s first exploit as a conductor! It so happened that Bülow
eventually scheduled it (1884) for one of his concerts. At the eleventh
hour the older musician, suffering from an indisposition, appealed to
his young friend to direct his own work. Trusting to luck Richard
suffered a baton to be thrust into his hands, and almost in a dream
state, hardly knowing how things would turn out, piloted the players
through the score. “All that I realize,” he afterwards said, “is that I
did not break down!”

Young Strauss was not idling. The products of his energetic young
manhood if they do not bulk large in his exploits indicate clearly how
carefully he was striving to learn his craft without, at the same time,
seeking to blaze trails. One finds him turning out in 1881 five piano
pieces as well as the string quartet just mentioned; a piano sonata, a
sonata for cello and piano, a concerto for violin and orchestra, _Mood
Pictures_ for piano, a concerto for horn and orchestra, and a symphony
in F minor. This symphony, incidentally, was first produced by Theodore
Thomas, on December 13, 1884, at a concert of the New York Philharmonic
Society. Perhaps more important, however, were the songs Strauss was
writing at this stage. For they have preserved a vitality which
Strauss’s instrumental products of that early period have long since
lost. It is not easy to grasp at this date that it was the early Strauss
the world has to thank for such masterpieces of song literature as the
incorrigibly popular (one might almost say hackneyed), _Lieder_ as
“Zueignung”, “Die Nacht”, “Die Georgine”, “Geduld”, “Allerseelen”,
“Ständchen”, and a number of other such lyric specimens, many of them in
the truest tradition of the German art song. Indeed, the boldness, the
diversity, declamatory, rhythmic and melodic features of Strauss’s
achievements in this field might almost be said to have preceded the
more sensational aspects of his orchestral works.

                                 * * *

The songs of Strauss, the earliest specimens of which date from 1882,
and which span (though in steadily diminishing numbers), the most
fruitful years of his life, aggregate something like 150. If the better
known ones are with piano accompaniment, not a few are scored for an
orchestral one. A large number long ago became musical household words,
along with the _Lieder_ of Schubert, Schumann and Brahms, though having
a physiognomy quite their own. The woman who became his wife, Pauline de
Ahna, was an accomplished vocalist and that circumstance goes far to
account for the diversity of his efforts in this province. The joint
recitals of the pair stimulated for a considerable period the composer’s
lyric imagination. If his inspiration eventually sought expression in
larger frames it must be noted that the slant of his genius habitually
ran to larger conceptions. In any event the _Lieder Abende_ of Strauss
and his betrothed help explain the creative impulses which at this stage
found so much of their outlet in song-writing. The composer was later to
explain that a new song might be dashed off at any half-way idle
moment—might even be scribbled down in the twinkling of an eye between
the acts of an opera performance or during a concert intermission. And
as spontaneously as Schubert, Richard Strauss busied himself with poems
of the most varied character.

                                 * * *

On the young man’s twenty-first birthday Hans von Bülow recommended to
Duke George of Meiningen “an uncommonly gifted” musician as substitute
while he himself went on a journey for his shattered health. Bülow
referred to the suggested deputy as “Richard III”, since after Richard
Wagner, “there could be no Richard II.” Strauss arrived in Meiningen in
October, 1885. The little ducal capital boasted a high artistic
standing. Its theatrical company enjoyed international fame. The town,
to be sure, had no opera, but the orchestra, though numbering only 48
instrumentalists, had been so trained by the suffering yet exigent Bülow
that it was virtually unrivalled in Germany. The newcomer was encouraged
to submit under his mentor’s eye to an intensive training. Bülow’s
rehearsals ran from nine in the morning till one in the afternoon and
his disciple from Munich was invariably on hand from the first to the
last note. The rest of the day was devoted to score reading and to every
subtlety of conductor’s technic. The young man was absolutely
overwhelmed by “the exhaustive manner in which Bülow sought out the
ultimate poetic content of the scores of Beethoven and Wagner.” And a
favorite saying of the older musician was never to be forgotten by his
disciple from Munich: “First learn to read the score of a Beethoven
symphony with absolute correctness, and you will already have its
interpretation.”

                                 * * *

Strauss made other friends and valuable connections in Meiningen. One of
the most important and influential of these was an impassioned devotee
of Wagner, Alexander Ritter. Like so many apostles of the creator of
_Parsifal_ at that period, Ritter was a violent opponent of Brahms.
Besides he was the composer of a comic opera, “Der faule Hans”, and of a
symphonic poem that once enjoyed a vogue in Germany, “Kaiser Rudolfs
Ritt zum Grabe”. It was Ritter’s service to familiarize Strauss with
some of the deepest secrets of the scores and writings of Wagner as well
as of Liszt, and he understood how to fire his young friend with soaring
enthusiasm for his own ideals. He also did much to inspire the budding
conductor with a taste for the writings of Schopenhauer, an inclination
he himself had inherited from Wagner. Ritter’s influence, in short, was
one of the luckiest developments at this stage of Strauss’s career.

The first concert the youth from Munich conducted in Meiningen took
place on October 18, 1885. It afforded him a chance to exploit his
talents as pianist and batonist as well as composer, what with a program
that included Beethoven’s _Coriolanus_ Overture and Seventh Symphony,
Mozart’s C minor Piano Concerto and that F minor Symphony of his own
which Theodore Thomas had conducted the previous year in New York.
Strauss had every reason to be pleased with the outcome. Bülow speaking
of his debut as pianist and conductor had referred to it as “geradezu
verblüffend” (“simply stunning”); even the hard-shelled Brahms, who
chanced to be on hand, had deigned to encourage him with a cordial “very
nice, young man!” When on December 1 of that year Bülow gave up the
orchestra’s leadership, Strauss inherited the post, conducted all
concerts and had to direct, sometimes on the spur of the moment, almost
anything this or that high placed personage might suddenly take a fancy
to hear. With the courage of despair he repeatedly attempted
compositions he hardly knew or had not directed publicly. Yet he never
made a botch of the job, inwardly as he may have quaked.

                                 * * *

To this period belongs a composition which has survived and at intervals
turns up on our symphonic programs—the curious _Burleske_ for piano and
orchestra. The piece is something of a problem but it is one of the most
yeasty and original products of its composer’s youth. It possesses a
type of wit and bold humor worthy of the subsequent author of _Till
Eulenspiegel_. If it still betrays Brahmsian influences some of those
dialogues between piano and kettledrums depart sharply from the more
flabby romantic effusions of the youth who still clung to the coat tails
of Schumann, Mendelssohn and some lesser romantics. Rightly or wrongly
the composer always harbored a dislike for the _Burleske_ though when he
created it his original instinct led him aright, if more or less
unconsciously. Not till four years later did the pianist, Eugen
d’Albert, give it a public hearing in Eisenach; at that, Strauss himself
never brought himself to dignify the _Burleske_ with an opus number and
insisted he would not have consented to its publication but for his need
of funds. Today the saucy little score seems more alive than certain
other early efforts which were rather closer to their composer’s heart.

Meiningen had been a sort of stepping stone. Strongly against the advice
of Hans von Bülow, who detested Munich from the depths of his being,
Strauss, nevertheless, accepted a conductor’s post in his native city,
where he had the advantage of continuing his stimulating contact with
Alexander Ritter, who had followed him to the Bavarian capital. Yet he
did not look forward to a Munich position with particular joy. Before
entering on his duties he permitted himself a vacation in Naples and
Sorrento. In Munich he found the Royal Court Theatre bogged down in a
morass of routine. The musical direction of that establishment, though
in the capable hands of Hermann Levi, was unfired by real enthusiasm,
let alone true inspiration. The first of Strauss’s official assignments
was the direction of Boieldieu’s opéra comique, _Jean de Paris_, and a
quantity of similar old and harmless pieces. One promised duty which
augured well was a production of Wagner’s boyhood opera, _Die Feen_. He
would probably never have been promised anything so rewarding had not
the conductor for whom it had been intended in the first place fallen
ill. But even this unusual prize was in the end snatched from his grasp
after he had presided over the rehearsals. At the last moment the
direction of the Wagner curio was assigned to a certain Fischer. There
was a managerial conference concerning the matter at which, we are told,
“Strauss was like a lioness defending her young”; but the Intendant put
a stop to the argument by announcing that “he disliked conducting in the
Bülow style” and that, moreover, Strauss was becoming intolerable
because of his high pretensions “for one of his youth and lack of
experience!”

Meanwhile, the composer made the most of leisure he did not really want,
by occupying himself with more or less creative work. One of his
editorial feats of this period was a new stage version of Gluck’s
_Iphigénie en Tauride_, manifestly inspired by Wagner’s treatment of the
same master’s _Iphigénie en Aulide_. More important still was his first
really large-scale work, _Aus Italien_, to which he gave the subtitle
_Symphonic Fantasy for large Orchestra_. He had completed the score in
1886 and on March 2, 1887, he conducted it at the Munich Odeon. To his
uncle Horburger he wrote an amusing account of the first performance at
which, it appears, moderate applause followed the first three movements
and violent hissing competed with handclappings. “There has been much
ado here over the performance of my _Fantasy_” Strauss wrote his uncle
“and general amazement and wrath because I, too, have begun to go my own
way.” And his biographer, Max Steinitzer, told that the composer’s
father, outraged by the hisses, hurried to the artist’s room to see his
son and found him, far from disturbed, sitting on a table dangling his
legs! One detail the composer of this symphonic Italian excursion failed
to notice—namely that in utilizing the tune _Funiculi, Funicula_ for the
movement depicting the colorful life of Naples he was quoting, not as he
fancied a genuine Neapolitan folksong, but an only too familiar tune by
Luigi Denza, who lived much of his life in a London suburb!

Be all this as it may, Strauss had more to occupy his thoughts than the
fortunes of his Italian impressions to which he had given musical shape.
In 1886-87 he composed (besides a sonata in E flat for violin and piano
and a number of fine _Lieder_—among them the lovely and uplifting “Breit
über mein Haupt”) the tone poem, _Macbeth_ (least known of them all). He
revised it in 1890 and on October 13 of that year conducted it in
Weimar. But _Macbeth_ has been completely overshadowed by the next tone
poem (of earlier opus number but later composition), the glowing,
romantic, vibrant _Don Juan_ which has a spontaneity and an
indestructible freshness that give it a kind of electrical vitality none
of the orchestral works of their composer’s early manhood quite rival,
unless we except that masterpiece of humor, _Till Eulenspiegel_—itself a
different proposition. It had been the powerful impressions made on the
composer by some of the Shakespearian productions of the dramatic
company in Meiningen which gave the incentive for _Macbeth_. In the case
of _Don Juan_ the moving impulse was the poem of Nikolaus Lenau (whose
real name was Niembsch von Strahlenau), and who described the hero of
his work as “one longing to find one who represented incarnate
womanhood” in whom he could enjoy “all the women on earth whom he cannot
as individuals possess.” Unable in the nature of things to achieve this
tall order Lenau’s _Don Juan_ falls prey to “Disgust, and this Disgust
is the devil that fetches him.” Strauss gave no definite meanings to
specific phases of his music, though he was not to want for interpreters
and one of them, Wilhelm Mauke, found it preferable to discard the model
supplied by Lenau and to discover in the tone poem the various women who
inhabit Mozart’s _Don Giovanni_. Be this as it may, the score delighted
the first hearers when it was played in Weimar; they tried to have it
repeated on the spot. Hans von Bülow wrote that his protégé had, with
_Don Juan_ had an “almost unheard-of success”; and the young composer
might well have seen a good augury in the notorious Eduard Hanslick’s
outcries to the effect that the score was chiefly a “tumult of dazzling
color daubs” and in his shrieks that Strauss “had a great talent for
false music, for the musically ugly.”

It cannot be said that he was truly happy with his Munich experiences
and the disappointments which, if the truth were known, seemed for the
moment to dog his footsteps. He was, to be sure, adding to his
accomplishments as a composer and plans for an opera began to stir in
him. Moreover, he had more and more chances to accept guest engagements
as a conductor and such opportunities were taking him on more and more
tours in Germany. He had striven to do his best in the city of his birth
yet few seemed to be grateful for his efforts to clean up drab
accumulations of routine. Bülow realized from long and heart-breaking
experience what his friend was undergoing. Very few thanked the idealist
for his efforts to better the musical standing of his home town.

                                 * * *

At what might be described as a truly psychological moment of his career
Strauss was approached by Bülow’s old friend, the former Liszt pupil,
Hans von Bronsart, with an invitation to transfer his activities to
Weimar. He had every reason to look with favor on the project. Weimar
was hallowed in his eyes by its earlier literary and musical
associations. It had harbored Goethe and Schiller and been sanctified in
the young musician’s sight by the labors of Liszt. His Munich friend,
the tenor Heinrich Zeller, who had coached Wagner roles with him, had
settled there, and a young soprano, Pauline de Ahna, the daughter of a
Bavarian general with strong musical enthusiasms, soon followed him. In
proper course she was to become Richard Strauss’s wife. A high-spirited,
outspoken lady, never disposed to mince words, a source of innumerable
yarns and witticisms, and who saw to it that her celebrated husband
carefully toed the mark, Pauline Strauss was in every way a chapter by
herself. And when, not very long after his death she followed him to the
grave it seemed only a benign provision of fate that she should not too
long survive him.

Strauss almost instantly infused a new blood into the artistic life of
Weimar, where he settled in 1889 and remained till 1894. The worthy old
court Kapellmeister, Eduard Lassen, was sensible enough to allow his
energetic new associate complete freedom of action. True, the artistic
means at his disposal were relatively modest and at first they might
well have given the ambitious newcomer pause. The orchestra then
contained only six first violins; there was a painfully superannuated
little chorus and most of the leading singers had seen better days. But
the conductor from Munich was disturbed by none of these apparent
handicaps. In Bayreuth he had already learned the proper way of
producing Wagner, and even when the means were limited, he tolerated no
concessions; all Wagnerian performances had to be done without cuts or
at least with a minimum of curtailments. A wisecrack began to go the
rounds: “What is Richard Strauss doing?” to which the reply was:
“Strauss is opening cuts!” The moldy old settings were replaced by new
ones and once when there were insufficient funds to buy new stage
appointments Strauss approached the Grand Duke with a plea that he might
lay out of his own pocket a thousand Marks to freshen the settings. To
the credit of the ruler it should be told that he refused the offer and
disbursed the sum himself. But Strauss’s reforms were far from ending
there. He once confessed that in his comprehensive job he was not only
conductor but “coach, scene painter, stage manager and tailor”—in short,
a thoroughgoing Pooh-Bah. He threw himself heart and soul into the job,
so much so that in spite of a small stage and limited means he produced,
in the presence of none other than Cosima Wagner a _Lohengrin_ that
deeply gripped her.

                                 * * *

He had symphonic concerts as well as operas to occupy him. At one of the
former he transported his hearers with the world premiere of his _Don
Juan_. The date deserves to be noted—November 11, 1889. That same year
he had composed another tone poem, _Death and Transfiguration_, and on
June 21, 1889, he permitted an audience in nearby Eisenach to hear it.
The work is program music, if you will; but the idea that it originally
set out to illustrate the poem about the man dying in a “necessitous
little room” and, after his death struggles, translated to supernal
glories, is wrong. Moreover the long accepted notion, that the music is
based on lines by Alexander Ritter, is fallacious. For, in the first
place the composer did not aim to illustrate his friend’s word picture;
and in the second, Ritter wrote the poem only _after_ becoming
acquainted with the score. This is what explains a certain incongruity
between Ritter’s verses and the tones which, in reality were never
conceived in slavish illustration of them. Hanslick, wrong as usual, was
to write misleadingly: “Once again a previously printed poem makes it
certain that the listener cannot go awry; for the music follows this
poetic program step by step, quite as in a ballet scenario.” And he
spoke of the score as a gruesome combat of dissonances in which the
wood-wind howls in runs of chromatic thirds while the brass growls and
all the strings rage!

By this time accustomed to such critical nonsense the composer did not
suffer himself to be troubled. What disturbed him much more was that his
old champion, von Bülow, gave indications of no longer seeing eye to eye
with him. At Bülow’s suggestion Strauss had revised and newly
instrumented _Macbeth_ but the piece was to continue a stepchild. Soon
he was increasing his output of songs and enriching Liedersingers with
such treasures as “Ruhe, meine Seele”, “Caecilie”, “Heimliche
Aufforderung” and “Morgen”; while only a few short years ahead lay
“Traum durch die Dämmerung”, “Nachtgesang” and “Schlagende Herzen”, to
delight nearly two generations of recitalists.

                                 * * *

Strauss had always been blessed with a robust health. Unlike Wagner, for
instance, he never suffered from exacerbated nerves and violent extremes
of unbalanced mood. But at the period of which we speak he did
experience one of his rare periods of illness. What between his guest
engagements, his rehearsals, the strain of composing, attending to
details of publication and myriad other obligations of a traveling
conductor and virtuoso, he came down in May, 1891, with a menacing
grippe which sent him to bed and threatened serious complications. He
was resigned to anything, even if he did confess: “Dying would not be in
itself so bad, but first I should like to be able to conduct _Tristan_!”
He recovered and had his wish in 1892. But in the summer he was sick
once more, this time with pneumonia. Now it looked as if one lung were
seriously threatened. He was granted the vacation he requested, from
November, 1892, to July of the succeeding year. Taking some works and
sketches he started, on the advice of his physicians, for the south.

The convalescent, with a finished opera libretto in his baggage went to
repair his health in Italy, Greece and Egypt. In Egypt he recovered
completely. In the Anhalter railway station, Berlin, he was to see for
the last time the mortally sick von Bülow, likewise journeying to Egypt
in a last effort to repair his shattered constitution. Poor Bülow was
not to survive the trip. The wiry frame of Strauss helped him over any
threat of tuberculosis and not only defied any peril to his lungs but
seemed actually to renew his creative powers. The libretto which
occupied his attention was that of his opera, _Guntram_, the first and
least known of his productions for the lyric stage.

_Guntram_ is without question a “Stiefkind” among Richard Strauss’s
operas. The average Strauss enthusiast’s acquaintance with its music may
be said to be confined to the brief phrase from it cited in the section
called _The Hero’s Works of Peace_ in the tone poem _Ein Heldenleben_.
Nevertheless, the opera cost the composer six long years of his time. It
received a performance in Weimar, July 12, 1894. On October 29, 1940, it
was to be heard again, and once more in Weimar. Strauss tells in his
little volume, _Betrachtungen und Erinnerungen_, that it had “no more
than a _succès d’estime_ and that its failure to gain a foothold
anywhere (even with generous cuts) took from him all courage to write
operas.” Efforts were made late in its creator’s life to revive it, all
of them as good as futile. As recently as June 13, 1942, the Berlin
State Opera tried, with the help of the conductor, Robert Heger, to pump
life into it. Strauss found not a little of the opera “still vital”
(“_lebensfähig_”) and felt sure it would produce a fine effect given a
large orchestra. He liked particularly in his old age the second half of
the second act and the whole of the third. The book has been described
as revealing the influence of Wagner. Guntram, a member of a religious
order in the time of the Minnesingers, esteems the ruling duke, but
kills himself, after renouncing the duchess, the object of his
affection. Despite the dramatic resemblances to _Tannhäuser_ and
_Lohengrin_ Alexander Ritter found in the opera a departure from
Wagnerian influences.

Slowly as Strauss labored over the three acts of _Guntram_ he spent no
such time on the tone poems which now began to follow in rapid
succession. After the ill-fated opera and a quantity of fine new
_Lieder_, superbly diversified in expressive scope and lyric moods,
there followed the tone poem which, apart from _Don Juan_ continues even
in the present age to address itself most warmly to the public
heart—_Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks_. Analysts of one sort and
another have provided the work with a program, which has long been
accepted as standard. The composer himself declined to supply one,
maintaining that the listener himself should seek to “crack the hard nut
Till, the folk rogue of ancient tradition” had supplied his public. He
himself would say nothing to clear up the secrets of the lovable knave,
who came to his merited end on the gallows. If Strauss confided to his
public the nature of many of Eulenspiegel’s various ribaldries and
madcap adventures he might, he maintained, easily cause offense.
Concertgoers could cudgel their brains all they chose, Richard Strauss
would keep his own counsel! Naturally, his work acquired, rightly or
wrongly, regiments of “interpreters”. If “nasty, noisome, rollicking
Till, with the whirligig scale of a yellow clarinet in his brain,” as
the worthy William J. Henderson eventually described him, the
irrepressible “Volksnarr” was ultimately to become visualized as a kind
of medieval ballet fable sporting all the benefits of story-book scenery
and dramatic action. The result actually was not too remote from what
Strauss originally intended. Its popular musical elements, such as the
fetching polka tune (or “Gassenhauer”), the use of the folk melody (“Ich
hatt’ einen Kamaraden”) and a good deal else seemed theatrically
conceived. The use of the Rondeau form was ideally suited to the idea
which the composer strove to formulate. At one period Strauss, conscious
of the operatic elements of _Till_, was moved to give the work a
thoroughgoing dramatic setting and began to sketch the piece as a sort
of lyric drama, or rather a scherzo with staging and action. But he lost
interest in the scheme and did not progress beyond plans for a first
act. Franz Wüllner conducted the premiere of _Till Eulenspiegel_ in
Cologne, November 5, 1895.

                                 * * *

It has been pointed out that if the masculine element is idealized in
Strauss’s tone poems it is rather the feminine which he gives precedence
in his operas. Something of an exception to this is exemplified in the
next purely orchestral work, the tone poem _Thus Spake Zarathustra_,
which followed less than a year later and was produced under its
composer’s direction at one of the Museum concerts in
Frankfurt-on-the-Main, November 27, 1896. The score is described as
“freely after Nietzsche”. At once there arose protests that Strauss had
tried to set Nietzschean philosophy to music! Actually he had aimed to
do no such preposterous thing, and _Zarathustra_ posed no genuine
problems. If the score is the weaker for some of its syrupy and
sentimental pages it includes another, such as the magnificent sunrise
picture at the beginning, which can only be placed for overpowering
effect beside the passage “Let there be Light and there was Light” in
Haydn’s _Creation_. If ever anything could testify to Strauss’s
incontestable genius it is this grandiose page! Other portions, it may
be conceded, lapse into commonplace, but the close in two keys at once
(B and C) offered one of the early examples of polytonality that duly
outraged the timid. Today this clash of tonalities has quite lost its
power to frighten. In 1898 and for quite some time thereafter, it passed
for hardly less than an invention of Satan! Strauss intended this
juxtaposition to characterize “two conflicting worlds of ideas”.
Possibly it can be made to sound sharply dissonant on the piano; the
magic of Strauss’s orchestration, however, eliminates all suggestion of
crude cacophony.

On March 18, 1898, Cologne heard under the baton of Franz Wüllner, a
work of rather different order, _Don Quixote_, Fantastic Variations on a
Theme of Knightly Character. It is a set of orchestral variations on two
themes, the one heard in the solo cello and characterizing the Knight of
the Rueful Countenance, the second (solo viola) picturing his squire,
Sancho Panza. As a feat of individualizing these variations are a thing
apart. The tone painting is unrivalled in its composer’s achievements up
to that time. A number of special effects, which long invited attention
over and above their real musical worth called forth considerably more
astonishment than they really deserved. The pitiful bleatings of a flock
of sheep, violently scattered by the lance of the crack-brained Don, his
attacks on a company of itinerant monks, his ride through the air (amid
the whistlings of a “wind machine”)—these and other effects of the sort
are actually only minor phases of the score. Its memorable qualities,
aside from striking pictorial conceits, are rather to be found in the
moving and tender pages portraying the passing of Don Quixote as the
mists clear from his poor addled brain. There are episodes of a melting
tenderness in these which rank among the most eloquent utterances
Strauss has attained.

Still another tone poem was to succeed—_A Hero’s Life_ (_Ein
Heldenleben_) performed under the composer’s direction in Frankfurt. The
work is autobiographical with the composer himself as its hero and his
helpmate, (obviously Frau Pauline, his “better half” as she was to be
called). For a long time _Ein Heldenleben_ passed as the prize horror
among Strauss’s creations, especially its fierce and rambunctious battle
scene, which some critics considered a kind of bugaboo with which to
frighten the wits out of grown-up concertgoers! For its day _A Hero’s
Life_ was unquestionably strong meat. If people were horrified by the
racket and cacophony of the battle scene they were no less disposed to
irritation at the cackling sounds with which Strauss pilloried his
benighted foes who resented his aims and accomplishments. And they were
displeased by the immodesty with which he exhibited himself as a real
and misprized hero by the citation of fragments from his own works.
Some, among them as staunch a Strauss admirer as Romain Rolland, were
disturbed not because the composer talked in his works “about himself”
but “because of the way in which he talked about himself.” All the same
Strauss was to boast no truer champion throughout his career than the
sympathetic and keenly understanding author of _Jean-Christophe_.

_Ein Heldenleben_ was the last but one of the series of tone poems which
were to lead to a new phase of Richard Strauss’s career. The last of
this series, the _Symphonia Domestica_, was completed in Charlottenburg,
Berlin, on December 31, 1903. Its first public hearing took place under
the composer’s direction in Carnegie Hall, New York, March 21, 1904. The
_Domestic Symphony_, “dedicated to my dear wife and our boy” is in “one
movement and three subdivisions. After an introduction and scherzo there
follow without break an _Adagio_, then a tumultuous double fugue and
finale.” The reviewers discovered all manner of programmatic
connotations in this depiction of a day in Strauss’s family life though
he was eventually to tell a New York reviewer that he “wanted the work
to be taken as music” pure and simple and not as an elaboration of a
specific program. He maintained his belief “that the anxious search on
the part of the public for the exactly corresponding passages in the
music and the program, the guessing as to significance of this or that,
the distraction of following a train of thought exterior to the music
are destructive to the musical enjoyment.” And he forbade the
publication of what he sought to express till after the concert.

               [Illustration: Richard Strauss and Family]

He might as well have saved himself the trouble! There is no room here
to point out even a small fraction of what the critics heard in the
work, encouraged by a casual note or two the conductor found it
necessary to set down at certain stages of the score. The youngster’s
aunts are supposed to remark that the infant is “just like his father”,
the uncles “just like his mother”. A glockenspiel announces that the
time, at one point is seven in the morning. The child gets his bath and
the ablutions are accompanied by shrieks and squeals. Husband and wife
discuss the future of the baby and there is a lively domestic argument
which ends happily. Ernest Newman, irritated like numerous other
reviewers by the torrents of vain talk the piece called forth, was to
complain that “Strauss behaved as foolishly over the _Domestica_ as he
might have been expected to do after his previous exploits in the same
line”...

The first organization to perform the work was the orchestra of Hermann
Hans Wetzler, in New York, and it took several months longer for the
music to reach Germany. Mr. Newman had found the texture of the whole is
“less interesting than in any other of Strauss’s works; the short and
snappy thematic fragments out of which the composer builds contrasting
badly with the great sweeping themes of the earlier symphonic poems ...
the realistic effects in the score are at once so atrociously ugly and
so pitiably foolish that one listens to them with regret that a composer
of genius should ever have fallen so low.”

      [Illustration: A page from the original score of “Elektra”]

                                 * * *

More than a decade was to elapse before Strauss was to concern himself
again with problems of symphonic music. Opera and ballet were to be the
chief business of those activities which one may look upon as the middle
period of his creative life. One may be permitted a short backward
glance to account for some of his previous creations. Songs (a number of
the best of them), an “Enoch Arden” setting (declamation with piano
accompaniment) occupy the late years of the 19th Century and the dawn of
the 20th, not to mention the choral ballad for mixed chorus and
orchestra _Taillefer_. More important, however, is a second operatic
venture. This opera in one act, called _Feuersnot_, is a setting of a
text by the noted Ernst von Wolzogen, who was associated with the vogue
of the so-called “Ueberbrettl”, a sort of up-to-date vaudeville, an
“arty” movement typical of the period. _Feuersnot_ is a picture of a
“fire famine” brought about by an irate sorcerer in revenge for the act
of a maiden who scorned his love. Thereby all the fires of the town are
extinguished! The piece is rather too long for a short opera and too
short for a full-length one. But the text is rich in word play, punning
satire, double meanings and topical allusions, interlarded with biting
reflections on the manner in which Munich had once turned against Wagner
and on the trouble the benighted burghers would have in similarly
ridding themselves of the troublesome Strauss! There is not a little of
the real Strauss in the music, though at that, less than one might
expect from the composer of _Till Eulenspiegel_ and _Ein Heldenleben_
which already lay some distance in the past. _Feuersnot_ was first
staged at the Dresden Opera on November 21, 1901, under the leadership
of Ernst von Schuch. And the consequence was that for years to come
Strauss’s operatic premieres took place in that gracious city.

                                 * * *

We now come into view of a milestone of modern music drama. In 1902
Strauss attended a performance of Oscar Wilde’s play, “Salome”, at Max
Reinhardt’s Kleines Theater in Berlin. Gertrude Eysoldt had the title
role. The Swiss musicologist, Willy Schuh, relates that the composer,
after the performance was accosted by his friend, Heinrich Grünfeld, who
remarked: “Strauss, this would be an operatic subject for you!” “I am
already composing it,” was the reply. And the composer went on to tell:
“The Viennese writer, Anton Lindner, had already sent me the play and
offered to make an opera text of it for me. Upon my agreement he sent me
some cleverly versified opening scenes which did not, however, inspire
me with an urge to composition; till one day the question shaped itself
in my mind: ‘Why do I not compose at once, without further
preliminaries: Wie schön ist die Prinzessin Salome heute Nacht!’ From
then on it was not difficult to cleanse the piece of ‘literature’, so
that it has become a thoroughly fine libretto!

“Necessity gave me a really exotic scheme of harmony, which, showed
itself especially in odd, heterogeneous cadences having the effect of
changeable silk. It was the desire for the sharpest kind of individual
characterization that led me to bitonality. One can look upon this as a
solitary experiment as applied in a special case but not recommend it
for imitation.”

Difficulties began with von Schuch’s first piano rehearsals. A number of
singers sought to give back their parts till Karl Burrian shamed them by
answering, when asked how he was progressing with the role of Herod: “I
already know it by heart!” A little later the Salome, Frau Wittich,
threatened to go on strike because of the taxing part and the massive
orchestra. Soon, too, she began to rail against “perversity and impiety
of the opera, refused to do this or that ‘because I am a decent woman’,”
and drove the stage manager almost frantic. Strauss remarked that her
figure was ‘not really suited to the 16-year-old Princess with the
Isolde voice’ and complained that in subsequent performances her dance
and her actions with Jochanaan’s head overstepped all bounds of
propriety and taste.”

In Berlin, according to Strauss, the Kaiser would permit the performance
of the work, only after Intendant von Hülsen had the idea of “indicating
at the close by a sudden shining of the morning star the coming of the
Three Holy Kings.” Nevertheless, Wilhelm II remarked to Hülsen: “I am
sorry that Strauss composed this _Salome_. I like him, but he is going
to do himself terrible harm with it!” At the dress rehearsal the famous
high B flat of the double basses so filled Count Seebach with the fear
of an outbreak of hilarity, that he prevailed upon the player of the
English horn to mitigate the effect, somewhat, “by means of a sustained
B flat on that instrument.” Strauss’s own father, hearing his son play a
portion of the opera on the piano, exclaimed a short time before his
death: “My God, this nervous music! It is as if beetles were crawling
about in one’s clothing!” And Cosima Wagner declared after listening to
the closing scene: “This is madness!” The clergy, too, was up in arms
and the first performance at the Vienna State Opera in October, 1918,
took place only after an agitated exchange of letters with Archbishop
Piffl. The orchestra of _Salome_ in all numbers 112 players. Strauss,
however eventually arranged the opera for fewer players and Willy Schuh
tells of the composer having conducted it in Innsbruck with an orchestra
of only 56 players, winds in twos but highly efficient solo
instrumentalists.

At all events, Strauss has been described as an inimitable conductor of
_Salome_. Willy Schuh (whom Strauss designated late in his life as his
“official” biographer, when the time came to prepare his “standard” life
story) alludes to Strauss as an “allegro composer”, whose direction of
_Salome_ was of altogether remarkable “tranquillity” and finds that the
real secret of his direction of this music drama was to be sought in the
“restfulness” and creative aspects of his interpretation, “which avoids
every excess of whipped up, overheated effects and sensationalism.” It
is, therefore, illuminating to consider the modifications the years have
wrought on the interpretative treatment proper to the work. Little by
little the legend of the decadent, hysterical, hyper-sensual work was
replaced by the assurance of its almost classical character; and the
truth of Oscar Wilde’s declaration to Sarah Bernhardt when the play was
new: “I aimed only to create something curious and sensual” has at
length come to the fore.

                                 * * *

There is scarcely any need to recount in any detail the early
difficulties of _Salome_ in America, when the scandalized cries that
arose after the work received a single representation at the
Metropolitan Opera House, in New York, only to be shelved as
“detrimental to the best interests of the institution” after a solitary
representation still ranks among the notorious and less creditable
legends of the American stage. Strauss soon after this taste of the
operations of American puritanism accused Americans of “hypocrisy, the
most loathsome of all vices.” He was handsomely avenged, however, when
on January 28, 1909, Oscar Hammerstein revived the work (with Mary
Garden as Salome) at his Manhattan Opera House and started it on a
triumphant American career, which confounded all the ludicrous
prognostications and horrified shouts with which it has been greeted
only a short time earlier.

The work which followed _Salome_ was _Elektra_, the text of which was
the creation of Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Here began a collaboration
between poet and musician which was to last with fruitful results until
the latter’s death, and to mark some of the high points of Strauss’s
achievements. The story of their joint labors is detailed in a priceless
series of letters, brought out in 1925 under the editorial supervision
of the composer’s son, Dr. Franz Strauss. These letters afford glimpses
into the workshop of librettist and composer which rank with some of the
most illuminating exchanges of the sort the history of music supplies.
From them we learn that before settling on the tragedy of the house of
Agamemnon the collaborators seriously pondered as operatic material
Calderon’s _Daughter of the Air_ and also _Semiramis_. Then, early in
1908, they seem to have agreed on _Elektra_. Hofmannsthal’s version of
the Greek legend (based on Sophocles) had been acted in Berlin (again
with Gertrude Eysolt in the title role); and no sooner had Strauss
witnessed the production than he concluded that the tragedy in this form
was virtually made to order for his music.

On July 6, 1908, the composer wrote to Hofmannsthal: “_Elektra_
progresses and is going well; I hope to hurry up the premiere for the
end of January at the latest.” Strauss was as good as his word. The
first performance of _Elektra_ took place January 25, 1909, at the
Dresden opera, Ernst von Schuch conducting, with Anni Krull in the name
part, Ernestine Schumann-Heink as Klytemnestra and Carl Perron as
Orestes. If Strauss would have preferred to write a comic opera after
_Salome_ the pull of the _genre_ of “horror opera” was still strong upon
him and he was not yet ready to loose himself from its grip. _Elektra_
was, if one chooses, gorier than _Salome_ and perhaps more genuinely
psychopathic but less susceptible to provocations of outraged morality.
Its instrumental requirements are rather larger than those of Strauss’s
previous opera and the whole more nightmarish in its sensational
atmosphere. One had the impression, however, that with _Elektra_ the
composer had reached the end of a path. He could hardly repeat himself
with impunity along similar lines. A turn of the road or something
similar must come next unless Strauss’s achievements were to run up
against a stone wall or lead him into a blind alley.

This was not fated to happen. What the pair were now to achieve was what
was to prove their most abiding triumph—_Der Rosenkavalier_, of all the
operas of Richard Strauss the most lastingly popular and if not the
indisputable best at all events the most loved and, peradventure, the
most viable—and, if you will, the healthiest. If the piece is in some
respects sprawling and over-written it does contain a piece of moving
character-drawing which stands with the most memorable things the
literature of musical drama affords. In her musical and dramatic
lineaments the aristocratic Marschallin, whose common sense leads her,
on the threshold of middle age to renounce the calf love of the
17-year-old “Rose Bearer”, Octavian, offers one of the finest and most
convincing figures to be found in modern opera—a creation not unworthy
to stand by the side of Wagner’s Hans Sachs. The Baron Ochs, an outright
vulgarian, if the music accorded him does not lie, is a figure who might
have stepped out of the pages of Rabelais; Sophie, Faninal and all the
rest of the characters who enliven this canvas inhabited by almost
photographic types of 18th Century Vienna add up to a truly memorable
gallery with which Hofmannsthal and Strauss have brought to life an era
and a culture. Strauss’s score has indisputable prolixities and
commonplaces. But these traits may pass as defects of the opera’s
qualities and, as such, they can take their place in the vastly colorful
pageant of Hofmannsthal’s comedy of manners.

It would be a mistake, however, to imagine that a piece as earthy as
_Der Rosenkavalier_ should pass without provoking dissent. The German
Kaiser, who had small use for Strauss’s operas, yielded to the urging of
the Crown Prince so far as to attend a performance, then left the
theatre with the words: “Det is keene Musik für mich!” (“That’s no music
for me!”) To spare the feelings of the straight-laced Kaiserin it was
arranged to place the Marschallin’s bed in an adjoining alcove instead
of in high visibility on the stage when the curtain rose. Nor were these
the only objections. And, of course, there were the usual exclamations
about the length of the piece, no end of suggestions were advanced about
the best ways to shorten the work. Strauss, in protest against some of
the cuts von Schuch had practised in Dresden, once insisted he had
overlooked one of the most important possible abbreviations! Why not
omit the trio in the last act, which only holds up the action! It should
be explained that the great trio is the brightest gem of the act,
perhaps, indeed, the lyric climax of the whole score! As for the various
waltzes which fill so many pages of the third act (and to some degree of
the second) it may be admitted that, for all the skill of their
instrumentation they are by no means the highest melodic flights of
Strauss’s fancy, some of them being merely successions of rather
trifling sequences.

                                 * * *

It was assumed after _Der Rosenkavalier_ that the success of the opera
indicated that the composer, in a mood for concessions, had tried to
meet the public half-way and had renounced the violence, the cacophonies
and the dissonances and sensational traits supposed to be his
stock-in-trade. The comedy was assumed to be a proof of this. The real
truth was that Strauss had not changed his ideals and methods in the
least. It was, rather, _that the public, converted by force of habit,
was itself catching up with Strauss and that the idiom of the composer
was quickly becoming the musical language of the hour_. Sometimes it
took even a few idiosyncrasies of the musician for granted. One did not
always inquire too closely into just what he meant. There is one case
when Strauss even went to the length of _writing music_ to the words
“diskret, vertraulich” (“discreetly, confidentially”) when Hofmannsthal
had written them as _stage directions_ to be followed _not_ as part of a
text to be sung! All the same Strauss usually kept an eagle eye on the
dramatic action he composed. With regard to the libretto of _Der
Rosenkavalier_ he wrote to the poet “the first act is excellent, the
second lacks certain essential contrasts which it is impossible to put
off till the third. With only a feeble success for the second act, the
opera is doomed.” Be this as it may, _Der Rosenkavalier_ was anything
but “doomed”. It was, in point of fact, the work which Strauss had in
mind when, at the close of the first _Elektra_ performance he remarked
to some friends: “Now I intend to write a Mozart opera!” Whether or not
“Der Rosenkavalier” really meets the prescriptions of a “Mozart opera”
we feel rather more certain that his next work, _Ariadne auf Naxos_
comes closer to filling that bill.

                                 * * *

The development of this work hangs together with production in
Stuttgart, October 25, 1912, of a German adaptation by Hofmannsthal of
Molière’s comedy _Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme_. Molière’s Monsieur
Jourdain, who has made money, induces a certain charming widow, the
Marquise Dorimène, to come to a dinner he gives in her honor. A
reprobate noble, Count Dorantes, tells the Marquise that the soirée at
Jourdain’s home is really intended as a gesture of admiration for her.
M. Jourdain has engaged two companies of singers who are supposed to
perform a serious opera, _Ariadne on Naxos_, and a burlesque, _The
Unfaithful Zerbinetta and Her Four Lovers_. Both pieces are supposed to
have been composed by a protégé of M. Jourdain. During a dinner scene
Strauss has recourse to bits of musical quotation—a fragment of Wagner’s
_Rheingold_ when Rhine salmon is served and several bars of the bleating
sheep music from _Don Quixote_ when servants bring in roast mutton. The
banquet is interrupted and Jourdain finds it necessary to curtail the
scheduled program. As a result the young author is commanded by Jourdain
to combine his two works as best he can!

Hofmannsthal’s Molière adaptation (in which the operatic part takes the
place of the French poet’s original “Turkish ceremony”) was a clumsy,
indeed an impractical distortion. But Strauss had no intention of
sacrificing his composition without at least an attempt to salvage
something from the wreck. The _Ariadne_ portion as well as the
_Zerbinetta_ companion piece were preserved but carefully detached from
the Molière comedy. In place of this Strauss and Hofmannsthal supplied a
sort of explanatory prologue whereby arrangements are made for better or
worse to combine the stylized _opera seria_ about Ariadne and her rescue
on a desert island by the god Bacchus, with the comic doings of
Zerbinetta and her _commedia del arte_ companions. In this shape the
piece has succeeded in surviving and actually makes an engaging
entertainment, with the young composer (a trousered soprano) reminding
one of a lesser Octavian.

There is considerable charming music in what is left of the originally
involved and over lengthy entertainment. First of all, Strauss was
suddenly to renounce the huge, overloaded orchestra of _Salome_,
_Elektra_ and _Rosenkavalier_ and to supplant it by a much smaller one
designed for a transparent texture of chamber music. In any case, the
definitive _Ariadne auf Naxos_ is a real achievement and stands among
Strauss’s better and more memorable accomplishments. In the estimation
of the present writer the tenderer romantic portions of the piece excel
the comic pages associated with Zerbinetta and her merry crew. In
writing these the composer aimed to be Mozartean (or, if one prefers,
Rossinian) by assigning the colorature soprano a florid rondo of
incredible difficulties—so mercilessly exacting, indeed, that it first
moved Hofmannsthal to discreet protest. Eventually, the composer took
steps to modify some of the cruel problems of Zerbinetta’s solo and it
is in this amended form that one generally hears this air today, when it
is sung as a concert number.

                                 * * *

It would not be altogether excessive to claim that _Ariadne auf Naxos_
marks a midpoint in Strauss’s career. He still had a long and fruitful
life ahead of him and, as it was to prove, he was almost incorrigibly
prolific not hesitating to experiment with one type of composition as
well as another. On the eve of the First World War he became interested
in Diaghilew’s Russian Ballet and the various types of choreographic and
scenic art which it was to engender. Hofmannsthal wanted him to occupy
his imagination and “to let the vision of one of the grandest episodes
of antique tragedy, namely the subject of Orestes and the Furies,
inspire you to write a symphonic poem, which might be a synthesis, of
your symphonies and your two tragic operas!” And the poet adjured him to
think of Orestes as represented by Nijinsky, “the greatest mimic genius
on the stage today!” But apparently Strauss had had his fill of the
_Elektra_ tragedy at this stage and had no stomach for more of this sort
of thing, whether symphonic or operatic. So he remained unmoved by
Hofmannsthal’s urgings. Yet the Russian Ballet gave him a new idea. He
thought of a pantomimic ballet conceived in the shapes and the colors of
the epoch of Paolo Veronese.

From this conception, based on a scenario by a Count Harry Kessler and
von Hofmannsthal dealing with the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife,
there grew the _Legend of Joseph_, first produced in Paris with
extraordinary scenic and decorative accouterments on May 14, 1914. The
staging was a pictorial triumph which, though the ballet was several
times performed elsewhere, appears never to have been anything like the
visual feast it was at its first showing. The score seems to have missed
fire and has never been reckoned among the composer’s major exploits.
None the less the effect of the music in its proper frame and context is
compelling. What if much of it sounds like discarded leavings from
“Salome”? Strauss confessed that from the first the pious Joseph bored
him, “and I have difficulty in finding music for whatever bores me”
(“was mich mopst”). To “his dear da Ponte”, as he came to call
Hofmannsthal, he gave hope and said frankly that though the virtuous
Biblical youth tried his patience, in the end some “holy” strain might
perhaps occur to him. The present writer has always felt that the
_Josefslegende_ is a far too maligned work and that it would repay a
conductor to disentomb the grossly slandered score, which when properly
presented is striking “theatre”.

On October 28, 1915, there was heard in Berlin, under the composer’s
direction, the first symphony (in contradiction to “tone poem”) Richard
Strauss had written since 1886. Like _Aus Italien_ it was again
outspokenly pictorial. The composer himself wrote titles into the
divisions of the score (which he is said to have begun to sketch in
1911, though the music was set down to the final double bar four years
later). Some spoke of the _Alpensymphonie_ as a work which “a child
could understand”. And the various scenic divisions of this Alpine
panorama, distended as it undoubtedly is, can be described as plainly
pictorial. The orchestra depicts successively “Night”, “Sunrise”, the
“Ascent”, “Entrance into the Forest”, “Wandering besides the Brook”, “At
the Waterfall”, “Apparition”, “On Flowery Meadows”, “On the Alm”, “Lost
in the Thicket”, “On the Glacier”, “Dangerous Moment”, “On the Summit”,
“Mists Rise”, “The Sun is gradually hidden”, “Elegy”, “Calm before the
Storm”, “Thunderstorm”, “The Descent”, “Sunset”, “Night”.

On account of its length the “Alpine Symphony” has never been a favorite
among Strauss’s achievements of tone painting. Indeed, it may be
questioned whether its sunrise scene can be compared for suggestiveness
and purely musical thrill to the glorious opening picture of _Also
Sprach Zarathustra_.

                                 * * *

Strauss’s symphonic excursion in the Alps was succeeded by a return to
opera. Between 1914 and 1917 (which is to say during the most poignant
years of the First War) he busied himself with a work which was to
become a child of sorrow to him but which to a number of his staunchest
worshippers often passes as one of his very finest achievements—_Die
Frau ohne Schatten_ (_The Woman Without a Shadow_), first performed
under Frank Schalk in Vienna, October 10, 1919. For all the enthusiasm
it evokes in some of the inner Straussian circles this opera, which
combines length, breadth and thickness, is a real problem. The writer of
these lines, who has been exposed to the work fully half a dozen times
always with a firm resolve to enjoy it, has never succeeded in his
ambition. Though Strauss and Hofmannsthal discussed the plans for the
piece in 1912 and once more in 1914 the first act was not finished till
that year; and war held up the completion of the opera three years more.

It has been maintained that in _Die Frau ohne Schatten_ marks “the
combination of a recitative style with the forms of the older opera” and
that in it Strauss has yielded to a mystical tendency. Willy Brandl
claims that Hofmannsthal’s libretto attracted the composer and
stimulated him “precisely because of its obscurity”; that he saw in it a
series of problems to be “clarified, not to say unveiled, in their
complexities precisely through the agency of music.” The question of
motherhood lies at the root of the opera. Hofmannsthal saw in his poem a
“kind of continuation of _The Magic Flute_. On one hand we have the
superterrestrial worlds, on another the realistic scenes of the human
world bound together by the demonic figure of the Nurse. And a new
element is to be sensed in the score—the powerful, hymn-like character
of the music overpoweringly disclosed in the music, a new feature in
Strauss’s compositions.”

It may be questioned whether Strauss was truly content with the
bloodless symbolism which fills _The Woman Without a Shadow_. In any
case at this juncture he began to long for something new. Somehow
Hofmannsthal did not at that moment appear to be reacting
sympathetically to the dramatic demands which just then seemed to be
filling Strauss’s mind. He informed Hofmannsthal that he longed for
something to compose like Schnitzler’s _Liebelei_ or Scribe’s _Glass of
Water_. He asked for “characters inviting composition—characters like
the Marschallin, Ochs or Barak (in _Die Frau ohne Schatten_).” And so,
when Hofmannsthal did not “respond” promptly he took up the pen to work
out his own salvation. The consequence was _Intermezzo_, a domestic
comedy in one act with symphonic interludes. It was produced at the
Dresden Opera, November 4, 1924, under Fritz Busch. Two years before
that Strauss had presented in Vienna a two act Viennese ballet,
_Schlagobers_ (_Whipped Cream_) which can be dismissed as one of his
outspoken failures. As for _Intermezzo_ it had biographical vibrations
in that it pictured a domestic episode in Strauss’s own experiences. It
had to do with a conductor, _Robert Storch_, and thus Strauss could make
amusing stage use of the unmistakable initials “R.S.” and make various
allusions to the game of skat, which had for years been a favorite
diversion of his. The music of _Intermezzo_ has never been acclaimed a
product of the greater Strauss. And yet Alfred Lorenz, famous for his
series of eviscerating studies of the structural problems of Wagner’s
music dramas, has made it clear that the Wagnerian form problems are
likewise the principles which underlie such a relatively tenuous
Straussian score as _Intermezzo_.

In spite of the dubious fortunes which were to dog the steps of an opera
like _The Woman Without a Shadow_ the composer once again allowed
himself to be seduced by a work of relatively similar character,
_Egyptian Helen_, a somewhat tortured mythical tale, based on a rather
far-fetched “magic” fiction by von Hofmannsthal, relating to a phase of
the Trojan war, in which Helen is shown as wholly innocent of the
ancient struggle. Magic befuddlements, potions capable of changing the
characteristics of people, draughts which rob this or that personage of
his memory, an “omniscient shell” which launches oracular pronouncements
and a good deal more of the sort lend a singular character to the
strange fantasy, in which some have chosen to discern a kind of take-off
on the various drinks of forgetfulness and such in _Tristan_ and
_Götterdämmerung_. _Egyptian Helen_ is the only sample of this strange
stage of the Strauss who was reaching the frontiers of old age which
American music lovers had the opportunity to know. It would be excessive
to claim that, either in Europe or in the western hemisphere, the work
was a noticeable addition to the enduring accomplishments of the master.
More than one began to obtain the impression that, for all the splendors
of his technic Strauss seemed to be going to seed.

                                 * * *

In the summer of 1929 Hofmannsthal suddenly died. Some time before he
had written a short novel, _Lucidor_, about an impoverished family with
two marriageable daughters for whom an attempt is made to secure wealthy
husbands. To facilitate the marital stratagem one of the daughters is
dressed in boy’s clothes. The disguised girl falls in love with a suitor
of her sister, Arabella, to whom one Mandryka, a romantic Balkan youth
of great wealth, pays court. The period is the year 1860, the scene
Vienna.

Inevitably, _Arabella_ turned out to be something of a throwback into
the scene, if not the glamorous period or milieu, of _Der
Rosenkavalier_. Almost inevitably, the lyric comedy—the final product of
the Strauss-Hofmannsthal partnership—is filled with scenes, characters
and analogies to the more famous work. In truth, _Arabella_ is a kind of
little sister of _Rosenkavalier_. At the same time the texture of the
score and the character of the orchestral treatment has a transparency
and a delicate charm which Strauss rarely equalled, even if the melodic
invention and the instrumentation suggest a kind of chamber music on a
large scale. As in _Ariadne auf Naxos_ the composer does not hesitate to
make use of a florid soprano to introduce scintillating samples of
ornate vocalism. One feels, however, that _Arabella_ is a semi-finished
product. The second half of the work does not sustain the level of the
first. Many things might have been worked out more expertly if the
librettist had been spared to supervise work, which as things stand is
far from a really satisfactory or unified piece. But the score contains
some of the older Strauss’s most enamoring lyric pages and it is easy to
feel that his heart was in the better portions of the opera. The score
of _Arabella_ benefits by the introduction of folk-songs influence—in
this instance of a number of South Slavic melodies, which are among its
genuine treasures.

Lacking his faithful Hofmannsthal Strauss turned to Stefan Zweig, who
had made for him an operatic adaptation of Ben Jonson’s play, “Epicoene,
or The Silent Woman”. On June 24, 1935, it was produced under Karl Böhm
at the Dresden Opera. At once trouble arose. Hitler and the Nazis had
come into power and Zweig, as a Jew, was automatically an outcast. After
the very first performances the piece was forbidden, not to be revived
till after Hitler’s end (and then in Munich and in Wiesbaden). It is
actually a question whether the temporary loss of _Die Schweigsame Frau_
must be accounted a serious deprivation. _The Silent Woman_ is a rowdy,
cruel farce about the tricks played on a wretched old man, unable to
endure noise and subjected to all manner of torments in order that he be
compelled to renounce a young woman, who to assure a lover a monetary
settlement, plays the shrew so successfully that the old man is only too
willing to pay any amount of his wealth to be rid of her. It is much
like the story of Donizetti’s _Don Pasquale_ and the dramatic
consequences are to all intents the same. There is, in reality, nothing
serious or genuinely based on musical _inspiration_ in the opera, the
best features of which are certain set pieces (some rather adroitly
polyphonic) and a charmingly orchestrated overture described in the
score as a “potpourri”. A tenderer note is struck only at the point
where, as evening falls, the old man drops off to sleep.

As librettist for his next two operas, _Friedenstag_ and _Daphne_,
Strauss sought the aid of Joseph Gregor. The first named work (in one
act) was performed on July 7, 1938, in Munich, under Clemens Krauss.
Ironically enough this work that aimed to glorify the coming of peace
after conflict, was first performed with the political troubles which
heralded the outbreak of the Second World War, visibly shaping
themselves. _Daphne_, bucolic tragedy in a single act, also from the pen
of Gregor, was heard in Dresden, October 15, 1938. And Gregor, too,
supplied the aging composer, with the book of _Die Liebe der Danae_, a
“merry mythological tale” in three acts. To date its sole production to
date seems to have been in Salzburg, as a “dress rehearsal”, August 16,
1944.

Strauss’s last opera (produced under Clemens Krauss in Munich on October
28, 1942), was _Capriccio_, “a conversation piece for music”, in one
act. Krauss and the composer collaborating on the book. The
“conversation” is a discussion of certain aesthetic problems underlying
the musical treatment of operatic texts. It was the final work of
operatic character Strauss was to attempt. This did not mean, however,
that he had written his last score. Far from it! At 81 he was to
complete several, the real value of which may be left to the judgment of
posterity. They include some songs, a duet-concertino for clarinet and
bassoon with strings, a concerto for oboe and orchestra, a still
unperformed concert fragment for orchestra from the _Legend of Joseph_.
More important, unquestionably, is _Metamorphoses_, a “study for 23 solo
strings”, first played in Zurich, January 25, 1946 under the direction
of Paul Sacher. This work, despite its length, is music of suave,
beautiful texture; a certain nobly nostalgic quality of farewell which
seems to sum up the composer’s life work, with all its ups and downs. We
may allow it to go at this and to spare further enumeration of the
innumerable odds and ends he was to assemble from his boyhood to the
patriarchal age of more than 85 years; or even to allude to his gross
derangement of Mozart’s “Idomeneo”, done in 1930 at Munich.

Having lived through a lively young manhood and endured the bitter
experience of two world wars Richard Strauss in the end performed the
miracle of actually dying of old age! One might almost have looked for
convulsions of nature, for signs and portents at his eventual passing.
But his going was to be accompanied by no such things. His death in
Garmisch, September 8, 1949, was brought about by the illnesses of the
flesh at more than four score and five. He died of a complication of
heart, liver and kidney troubles—and he died in his bed! A Heldenleben,
if you will! And a death and transfiguration played against the
loveliest conceivable background—an incomparable stage setting of Alpine
lakes and heights, with streams and gleaming summits furnishing a
glorious backdrop for his resting place!


                      COMPLETE LIST OF RECORDINGS
                                   by
                   THE PHILHARMONIC-SYMPHONY SOCIETY
                              OF NEW YORK


                      COLUMBIA MASTERWORKS RECORDS

The following records are available on Columbia “Lp”

                     DIMITRI MITROPOULOS conducting

  Concerto For Piano And Orchestra (Khachaturian). With Oscar Levant
        (piano).
  Concerto In D Minor For Three Pianos And Strings (Bach). With Robert,
        Gaby, and Jean Casadesus pianos).
  Concerto No. 1 In A Minor For ’Cello And Orchestra (Saint-Saëns). With
        Leonard Rose (’cello).
  Concerto No. 3 In B Minor, Op. 61 (Saint-Saëns). With Zino
        Francescatti (violin).
  Danse Macabre, Op. 40 (Saint-Saëns).[*]
  Danse Macabre, Op. 40 (Saint-Saëns).[*]
  Erwartung (Schönberg).
  Mer, La (Debussy).
  Overture And Allegro (Couperin-Milhaud).
  Petrouchka (A Burlesque in Four Scenes) (Stravinsky).
  Philharmonic Waltzes (Gould).
  Procession Nocturne, La, Op. 6 (Rabaud).
  Rouet d’Omphale, Le, Op. 31 (Saint-Saëns).[*]
  Rouet d’Omphale, Le, Op. 31 (Saint-Saëns).[*]
  Schelomo—Hebraic Rhapsodie For ’Cello And Orchestra (Block). With
        Leonard Rose (’cello).
  Symphonic Allegro (Travis).
  Symphonic Elegy For String Orchestra (Krenek).
  Symphony No. 2 (Sessions).
  Wozzeck (Berg). With Mack Harrell, Eileen Farrell, Frederick Jagel and
        Others.

                        BRUNO WALTER conducting

  Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 (Brahms).
  Concerto In C. Major For Violin, ’Cello, Piano And Orchestra, Op. 56
        (“Triple”) (Beethoven). With John Corigliano (violin), Leonard
        Rose (’cello), Walter Hendl (piano).
  Concerto In D Major For Violin And Orchestra, Op. 61 (Beethoven). With
        Joseph Szigeti (violin).
  Concerto In E Minor For Violin And Orchestra, Op. 64 (Mendelssohn).
        With Nathan Milstein (violin).
  Concerto No. 5 In E-Flat Major For Piano And Orchestra, Op. 73
        (“Emperor”) (Beethoven). With Rudolf Serkin.
  Hungarian Dance No. 1 In G Minor (Brahms). (See: Hungarian Dances).
  Hungarian Dance No. 3 In F Major (Brahms). (See: Hungarian Dances).
  Hungarian Dance No. 10 In F Major (Brahms). (See: Hungarian Dances).
  Hungarian Dance No. 17 In F-Sharp Minor (Brahms). (See: Hungarian
        Dances).
  Hungarian Dances (Brahms).
  Moldau, The (Vltava) (Smetana).
  Oberon—Overture (Weber).
  Song Of Destiny, Op. 54 (Schicksalslied) (Brahms). (See: Symphony No.
        9 In D Minor (Beethoven).
  Symphony In C Major (B. & H. No. 7) (Schubert).
  Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21 (Beethoven).
  Symphony No. 3 In E-Flat Major, Op. 55 (“Eroica”) (Beethoven).
  Symphony No. 3 In E-Flat Major, Op. 97 (“Rhenish”) (Schumann).
  Symphony No. 4 In E Minor, Op. 98 (Brahms).
  Symphony No. 4 In G Major (Mahler). With Desi Halban (Soprano).
  Symphony No. 4 In G Major, Op. 88 (Dvorak).
  Symphony No. 5 In C Minor, Op. 67 (Beethoven).
  Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92 (Beethoven).
  Symphony No. 8 In F Major (Beethoven).
  Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125 (“Choral”) (Beethoven). With Irma
        Gonzalez (soprano), Elena Nikolaidi (contralto), Raoul Jobin
        (tenor), Mack Harrell (baritone) and The Westminster Choir (John
        Finley Williamson, Cond.).
  Symphony No. 41 In C Major (K. 551) (“Jupiter”) (Mozart).
  Vltava (“The Moldau”) (Smetana).

                      LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI conducting

  Ascension, L’ (Messiaen).
  Billy The Kid (Copland).
  Francesca Da Rimini, Op. 32 (Tchaikovsky).
  Götterdämmerung, Die—Siegfried’s Rhine Journey and Siegfried’s Funeral
        Music (Wagner).
  Gurrelieder: Lied Der Waldtaube (Schönberg). With Martha Lipton
        (Mezzo-soprano).
  Masquerade Suite (Khachaturian).
  Rienzi—Overture (Wagner).
  Romeo And Juliet—Overture—Fantasia (Tchaikovsky).
  Symphony No. 6 In E Minor (Vaughan Williams).
  White Peacock, The, Op. 7, No. 1 (Griffes).
  Wotan’s Farewell And Magic Fire Music (from “Die Walküre”—Act III)
        (Wagner).

                        GEORGE SZELL conducting

  Freischütz, Der—Overture (Weber).
  From Bohemia’s Fields And Groves (Smetana).
  Midsummer Night’s Dream, A (Incidental Music) (Mendelssohn).
  Moldau, The (Smetana).

                         EFREM KURTZ conducting

  Age Of Gold, The—Polka (Shostakovich). (See: Russian Music).
  Comedians, The, Op. 26 (Kabalevsky).
  Concerto In A Minor For Piano And Orchestra, Op. 16 (Grieg). With
        Oscar Levant (piano).
  Concerto No. 2 In D Minor For Violin And Orchestra, Op. 22
        (Wieniawski). With Isaac Stern (violin).
  Eugen Onegin—Entr’Acte And Waltz (Tchaikovsky). (See: Russian Music).
  Flight Of The Bumble Bee, The (Rimsky-Korsakov). (See: Russian Music).
  Gayne—Ballet Suite No. 1 (Khachaturian).[*]
  Gayne—Ballet Suite No. 2 (Khachaturian).[*]
  Life Of The Czar—Mazurka (Glinka). (See: Russian Music).
  Mlle. Angot Suite (Lecocq).
  March, Op. 99 (Prokofiev). (See: Russian Music).
  Monts d’Or Suite, Les—Waltz (Shostakovitch). (See: Russian Music).
  Russian Music.
  Sabre Dance (Khachaturian). (See: Gayne-Ballet Suite No. 1).[*]
  Sylphides, Les—Ballet (Chopin).[*]
  Symphony No. 9, Op. 70 (Shostakovitch).
  Uirapurú (A Symphonic Poem) (Villa-Lobos).

                        CHARLES MUNCH conducting

  Concerto No. 21 In C Major For Piano And Orchestra (K. 467) (Mozart).
        With Robert Casadesus (piano).
  Symphony No. 3 In C Minor, Op. 78 (With Organ) (Saint-Saëns). With E.
        Nies-Berger (organ).
  Symphony On A French Mountain Air For Orchestra And Piano, Op. 25
        (d’Indy). With Robert Casadesus (piano).

                       ARTUR RODZINSKI conducting

  American In Paris, An (Gershwin).
  Arabian Dance (Tchaikovsky). (See: Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a).[**]
  Bridal Chamber Scene (from “Lohengrin”) (Wagner). With Helen Traubel
        (soprano) Kurt Baum (tenor).
  Chinese Dance (Tchaikovsky). (See: Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a).[**]
  Concerto No. 4 In C Minor For Piano And Orchestra, Op. 44
        (Saint-Saëns). With Robert Casadesus (piano).
  Dance Of The Reed-Pipes (Tchaikovsky). (See: Nutcracker Suite, Op.
        71a).[**]
  Dance Of The Sugar-Plum Fairy (Tchaikovsky). (See: Nutcracker Suite,
        Op. 71a).[**]
  Escales (Ports Of Call) (Ibert).
  Jubilee (Gould). (See: Spirituals For Orchestra).
  Little Bit Of Sin, A (Gould). (See: Spirituals For Orchestra).
  Lincoln Portrait, A (Copland). With Kenneth Spencer (narrator).
  March (Tchaikovsky). (See: Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a).
  Méphisto Waltz (Liszt).[**]
  Miniature Overture (Tchaikovsky). (See: Nutcracker Suite, Op.
        71a).[**]
  Mozartiana (Suite No. 4 In G Major, Op. 61) (Tchaikovsky).
  Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a (Tchaikovsky).[**]
  Pictures At An Exhibition (Moussorgsky).
  Proclamation (Gould). (See: Spirituals For Orchestra).
  Protest (Gould). (See: Spirituals For Orchestra).
  Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1 In A Major, Op. 11 (Enesco).
  Russian Dance (Tchaikovsky). (See: Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a).[**]
  Sermon (Gould). (See: Spirituals For Orchestra).
  Siegfried Idyll (Wagner).
  Spirituals For Orchestra (Gould).
  Symphony No. 1 In C Minor, Op. 68 (Brahms).
  Symphony No. 2 In D Major, Op. 73 (Brahms).
  Symphony No. 5, Op. 100 (Prokofiev).
  Walküre, Die—Act III (Complete) (Wagner). With Helen Traubel, Herbert
        Janssen.
  Waltz Of The Flowers (Tchaikovsky). (See: Nutcracker Suite, Op.
        71a).[**]

                       IGOR STRAVINSKY conducting

  Circus Polka (Stravinsky). (See: “Meet The Composer”—Igor Stravinsky).
  Firebird Suite (New augmented version) (Stravinsky).
  Fireworks, Op. 4 (Stravinsky). (See: “Meet The Composer”—Igor
        Stravinsky).
  Norwegian Moods (Stravinsky). (See: “Meet The Composer”—Igor
        Stravinsky).
  Ode (Stravinsky). (See: “Meet The Composer”—Igor Stravinsky).
  Petrouchka, Suite From (Stravinsky).
  Sacre Du Printemps, Le (Stravinsky).
  Scenes De Ballet (Stravinsky).
  Symphony In Three Movements (Stravinsky).

                     SIR JOHN BARBAROLLI conducting

  Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 (Brahms).
  Concerto No. 1 In G Minor For Violin And Orchestra, Op. 26 (Bruch).
        With Nathan Milstein (violin).
  Concerto No. 27 In B-Flat Major For Piano And Orchestra (K. 595)
        (Mozart). With Robert Casadesus (piano).
  Theme And Variations (from Suite No. 3 In G Major, Op. 55)
        (Tchaikovsky).

                     SIR THOMAS BEECHAM conducting

  Symphony No. 7 In C Major, Op. 105 (Sibelius).

                      LEONARD BERNSTEIN conducting

  Age Of Anxiety, The (Symphony No. 2 For Piano And Orchestra)
        (Bernstein).

                        MORTON GOULD conducting

  Quickstep (Third Movement from Symphony No. 2—“On Marching Tunes”)
        (Gould).

                      ANDRE KOSTELANETZ conducting

  Concerto In F For Piano And Orchestra (Gershwin). With Oscar Levant
        (piano).

                       DARIUS MILHAUD conducting

  Suite Francaise (Milhaud).

  [**]Also available on 45 rpm.
  [*]Also available on 78 rpm.


                             VICTOR RECORDS

                      ARTURO TOSCANINI conducting

  Beethoven—Symphony No. 7 in A major
  Brahms—Variations on a Theme by Haydn
  Dukas—The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
  Gluck—Orfeo ed Euridice—Dance of the Spirits
  Haydn—Symphony No. 4 in D major (The Clock)
  Mendelssohn—Midsummer Night’s Dream—Scherzo
  Mozart—Symphony in D major (K. 385)
  Rossini—Barber of Seville—Overture
  Rossini—Semiramide—Overture
  Rossini—Italians in Algiers—Overture
  Verdi—Traviata—Preludes to Acts I and II
  Wagner—Excerpts—Lohengrin—Die Götterdämmerung—Siegfried Idyll

                     SIR JOHN BARBAROLLI conducting

  Debussy—Iberia (Images. Set 3, No. 2)
  Purcell—Suite for Strings with Four Horns, Two Flutes, English Horn
  Respighi—Fountains of Rome
  Respighi—Old Dances and Airs (Special recording for members of the
        Philharmonic-Symphony League of New York)
  Schubert—Symphony No. 4 in C minor (Tragic)
  Schumann—Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor (with Yehudi
        Menuhin, violin)
  Tschaikowsky—Francesca da Rimini—Fantasia

                      WILLEM MENGELBERG conducting

  J. C. Bach—Arr. Stein—Sinfonia in B-flat major
  J. S. Bach—Arr. Mahler—Air for G string (from Suite for Orchestra)
  Beethoven—Egmont Overture
  Handel—Alcina Suite
  Mendelssohn—War March of the Priests (from Athalia)
  Meyerbeer—Prophete—Coronation March
  Saint-Saens—Rouet d’Omphale (Omphale’s Spinning Wheel)
  Schelling—Victory Ball
  Wagner—Flying Dutchman—Overture
  Wagner—Siegfried—Forest Murmurs (Waldweben)


                     Special Booklets published for
                             RADIO MEMBERS
                                   of
                   THE PHILHARMONIC-SYMPHONY SOCIETY
                              OF NEW YORK

  POCKET-MANUAL of Musical Terms, Edited by Dr. Th. Baker (G.
        Schirmer’s)
  BEETHOVEN and his Nine Symphonies by Pitts Sanborn
  BRAHMS and some of his Works by Pitts Sanborn
  MOZART and some Masterpieces by Herbert F. Peyser
  WAGNER and his Music-Dramas by Robert Bagar
  TSCHAIKOWSKY and his Orchestral Music by Louis Biancolli
  JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH and a few of his major works by Herbert F.
        Peyser
  SCHUBERT and his work by Herbert F. Peyser
  *MENDELSSOHN and certain MASTERWORKS by Herbert F. Peyser
  ROBERT SCHUMANN—Tone-Poet, Prophet and Critic by Herbert F. Peyser
  *HECTOR BERLIOZ—A Romantic Tragedy by Herbert F. Peyser
  *JOSEPH HAYDN—Servant and Master by Herbert F. Peyser
  GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL by Herbert F. Peyser

These booklets are available to Radio Members at 25c each while the
supply lasts except those indicated by asterisk.


                      _Great Performances by the_
              Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
                    _on Columbia 33⅓_ (Lp) _Records_

  DIMITRI MITROPOULOS conducting
  Berg: Wozzeck. Complete Opera with Mack Harrell, Eileen Farrell and
        others. Set SL-118
  Debussy: La Mer. ML 4434
  Saint-Saëns: Concerto No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 61. With Zino
        Francescatti, Violin. ML 4315
  Stravinsky: Petrouchka. ML 4438

  BRUNO WALTER conducting
  Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55. (“Eroica”). ML 4228
  Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98. ML 4472

  GEORGE SZELL conducting
  Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night’s Dream—Overture and Incidental Music.
        ML 4498
  Smetana: The Moldau; From Bohemia’s Fields and Groves. ML 2177


                         Columbia (Lp) Records

               First, Finest, Foremost in Recorded Music

 “Columbia”, “Masterworks”, (Lp) and (_()_) Trade Marks Reg. U. S. Pat.
              Off. Marcas Registradas Printed in U. S. A.



                          Transcriber’s Notes


--A few palpable typos were silently corrected; unusual transliterations
  of names or musical terms were retained.

--Copyright notice is from the printed exemplar. (U.S. copyright was not
  renewed: this ebook is in the public domain.)

--Columbia trademarks in the discography are represented with “ASCII
  art” approximations.





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