RICHARD STRAUSS - ERNTEDANK III
Richard Strauss worked for six years on his symphonic poem "Don Quixote" before it was finally premiered in Cologne on March 8, 1898. He conceived the grotesque story with a solo cello as Don Quixote and a viola, as well as deep winds as Sancho Panza. Those who experience Richard Strauss's "Don Quixote" have quite different genres before them. On the one hand, variations for orchestra, for there is a theme that is always reworked in ten stylistically changing parts. On the other hand, a symphonic poem, because literary stories, namely Don Quixote's adventures, are transposed musically. And finally, an instrumental concerto, because a cello soloist acts in front of the orchestra, embodying Don Quixote, who is additionally assisted by a solo viola as Sancho Panza.
"Ein Heldenleben" was written a year after "Don Quixote," and the "reception of the work was very stormy," as Strauss reported to his father from Berlin, where he had taken up the post of First Kapellmeister a short time before and had just, on March 22. A few newspapers are well-disposed, "the others spit poison and bile, mainly because they believed to see from the analysis that with the rather ugly portrayal of the 'naggers and adversaries' they themselves are meant and that the hero is supposed to be myself, which is only partially true. To see himself as a "hero," as the work introduces him with sweeping gestures at the beginning, the (self-)ironic Strauss would only have been able to do with a smirk. The "Heldenleben" closes a circle in Richard Strauss's oeuvre, the inner possibilities of which - as the problematic nature of the "Don Quixote" already indicated - seemed to have been exhausted; this rounding off is also made purely external by the work's conclusion, which is unusual for Strauss in comparison to all other tone poems: while the preceding tone poems (with the exception of Till Eulenspiegel) ended in a fading pianissimo, a large crescendo chord sequence concludes this work.
RICHARD STRAUSS (1864 - 1949)
"Don Quixote" / symphonic poem op. 35
"Ein Heldenleben" / symphonic poem op. 40
Orchestra of the Tyrolean Festival Erl
Musical direction Erik Nielsen
Cello Maximilian Hornung