Music is a Holy Art: A Richard Strauss Celebration

One-Hour Version: Airs Monday at 9 pm; Wednesday at 10 pm; Saturday at 12 pm

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Richard Strauss Richard Strauss (fayer/vienna)

Richard Strauss was a hard man to pin down. As an artist, he was never tied to a single style. He embraced many musical forms during his lifetime. There was only one guiding principle: his belief that music is a holy art.

Strauss soprano Deborah Voigt hosts this program, presented by WQXR, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss's birth (June 11, 2014). We explore his dedication to his art, as reflected in his grand orchestral works and his unforgettable operas.

Guests include Strauss scholar Bryan Gilliam (Duke University), Michael Tilson Thomas (music director, San Francisco Symphony & New World Symphony), Alan Gilbert (music director, New York Philharmonic), James Conlon (music director, LA Opera), Leon Botstein (music director, American Symphony Orchestra & president, Bard College), Strauss expert Paul Thomason and literary excerpts read by James Lurie.

The program features more than 75 musical excerpts interwoven with the narrative, which includes an investigation of Strauss’s most famous tone poems and operas, as well as a personal look at Strauss himself.

Right: Host Deborah Voigt.

Note: In addition to the one-hour version of this program, there is also a three-part series version. The three-part series includes everything that is in the one-hour program, plus an additional 45 minutes of material. Here are the segments of the three-part series:

Part 1: Epic Tales Well Told: Strauss's Tone Poems

Strauss first came to international attention for his tone poems, those colorful, sometimes decidedly non-PC symphonic works that portray moods, events and characters. In this first of three segments, we examine the six tone poems he wrote between 1888 and 1898, which include Don Juan, Death & Transfiguration, Till Eulenspeigel’s Merry Pranks, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Don Quixote, and Ein Heldenleben ("A Hero's Life"). Listen>

Part 2: Strong Women Dominate Strauss Operas

The operas of Richard Strauss are dominated by female voices. Of his 15 operas, most of them are named after their female protagonists. In this second segment, we examine Strauss's operas centered around their female stars, which include Salome, Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Die ägyptische Helena, Arabella, Daphne, Die Liebe der Danae and Capriccio. Listen>

Part 3: The Enigma of Richard Strauss

Strauss was a very private man, and many felt he wore a mask in public, never showing his true self. In this final segment of our three-part series, we attempt to pull back the mask and see the man himself. We learn of his early days as a prodigy, go behind the scenes of his unconventional marriage, and shed some light on his controversial association with the Nazis. Listen>

Playlist

Four Last Songs
“Im Abendrot”
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Kurt Masur
Philips, 000943302
 
Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30
Berlin Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel
Deutsche Grammophon, B0018913-02
 
Four Last Songs
“Fruhling”
Jessye Norman, soprano
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Kurt Masur
Philips, 000943302
 
Ariadne auf Naxos, Op. 60
Anne Sofie von Otter – Composer
Staatskapelle Dresden, Guiseppe Sinopoli
Deutsche Grammophon, 289 471 323-2
 
Don Juan, Op. 20
Cleveland Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy
Decca, 448 714-2
 
Festival Prelude, Op. 61
Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, David Zinman
Arte Nova Classics, 98495 2
 
Franz Strauss - Nocturno for Horn and Piano, Op. 7
Adam Friedrich, French Horn
Sandor Falvai, Piano
Hungaroton Classic, HCD 31585
 
Schneiderpolka, Op. 1
Orchesterverein Wilde Gung’l, Jaroslav Opela
Koch Schwann, 3-1533-2 H1
 
String Quartet in A major, Op. 2
First movement - Allegro
Sinnhoffer Quartet
Arts Music, 47264-2
 
Concert Overture in C Minor
Orchesterverein Wilde Gung’l, Jaroslav Opela
Koch Schwann, 3-1533-2 H1
 
Wind Serenade in E-flat Major, Op. 7
Andante
Blaser Ensemble Amade, Klaus Rainer Scholl
Arts Music, 47395-2
 
“Zueignung”
Op. 10, #1
Diana Damrau, soprano
Munich Philharmonic, Christian Thielemann
Virgin Classics, 628664 0 8
 
“Allerseelen”
Op. 10, #8
Diana Damrau, soprano
Munich Philharmonic, Christian Thielemann
Virgin Classics, 628664 0 8
 
Horn Concerto #1 in E-flat major, Op. 11
Third movement – Allegretto – Rondo: Allegro
Radovan Vlatkovic, Horn
English Chamber Orchestra, Jeffrey Tate
EMI Classics, 7 64851 2
 
Isolde’s “Liebstod” from Wagner’s Tristan (arranged by Franz Liszt)
Leslie Howard, piano
 
Don Juan, Op. 20
Cleveland Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy
Decca, 448 714-2
 
Death and Transfiguration, Op. 24
The Met Orchestra, James Levine
Deutsche Grammophon, 447 762-2
 
Guntram, Op. 25
Ben Heppner – Guntram
Toronto Symphony, Andrew Davis
CBC SM 5000 Series, 5142
 
Guntram, Op. 25
Leontyne Price – Freihild
New Philharmonia Orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf
BMG Classics, 60398-2
 
Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Op. 28
Cleveland Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy
Decca, 448 224-2
 
Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30
Berlin Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel
Deutsche Grammophon, B0018913-02
 
“Morgen”
Op. 27, #4
Diana Damrau, soprano
Munich Philharmonic, Christian Thielemann
Virgin Classics, 628664 0 8
 
Symphonic Interludes from Intermezzo
Reisefiber und Walzerszene & Traumerei am Kamin
Berlin Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta
Sony, 47197
 
Salome’s Dance, Op. 54
Scottish National Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi
Chandos, CHAN 8758

Salome, Op. 54 
Cheryl Studer – Salome 
Bryn Terfel - Jochanaan
Horst Hiestermann - Herodes
Deutsche Oper Berlin, Giuseppe Sinopoli 
Deutsche Grammophon, 431 810-2 

Salome, Op. 54
Final Scene
Leontyne Price – Salome
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf
BMG Classics, 60398-2
 
Elektra, Op. 58
Eva Marton – Elektra
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Wolfgang Sawallisch
EMI Digital, 7 54067 2
 
Der Rosenkavalier Suite, Op. 59
Scottish National Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi
Chandos, CHAN 8758
 
Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59
Kiri Te Kanawa – The Marschallin
Anne Sofie von Otter – Octavian
Babara Hendricks – Sophie
Kurt Rydl – Baron Ochs
Richard Leech – Italian Singer
Staatskapelle Dresden, Bernard Haitink
EMI Classics, 7 54259 2
 
Arabella, Op. 79
Lisa della Casa – Arabella
Hilde Gueden – Zdenka
George London – Mandryka
Vienna Philharmonic, Sir Georg Solti
Decca, 475 7731
 
Die schweigsame Frau, Op. 80
Potpourri
Munich Radio Orchestra, Pinchas Steinberg
Koch Schwann, 3-6581-2
 
Die Liebe der Danae, Op. 83
Act 3 - Interlude
American Symphony Orchestra, Leon Botstein
Telarc Digital, 80570

Friedenstag, Op. 81 
Bernd Weikl - Commandant 
Sabine Hass - Maria 
Bavarian State Opera, Wolfgang Sawallisch 
Musical Heritage Society, 5159402 

Horn Concerto #2 in E-flat major
Second movement – Andante con moto
Hermann Baumann, Horn
Gewandhaus Orchestra, Leipzig, Kurt Masur
Philips, 412 237-2
 
Sonatine #1 in F Major for 16 winds
“From an Invalid’s Workshop”
Third Movement – Finale: Molto allegro
Blaser Ensemble Amade, Klaus Rainer Scholl
Arts Music, 47395-2
 
Oboe Concerto in D major
Hansjorg Schellenberger, oboe
Berlin Philharmonic, James Levine
Deutsche Grammophon, 429 750-2
 
Metamorphosen, Study for 23 solo strings
Berlin Philharmonic, James Levine
Deutsche Grammophon, 435 883-2
 
Four Last Songs
“Im Abendrot”
Jessye Norman, soprano
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Kurt Masur
Philips, 000943302
 
Death and Transfiguration, Op. 24
The Met Orchestra, James Levine
Deutsche Grammophon, 447 762-2

Hosted by:

Deborah Voigt

Produced by:

Aaron Cohen

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Comments [14]

@cultvult and The Truth from LES:
I made some observations in another thread (Seven Veils). The author corrected the errors. I requested that my posts be removed, since the errors were no longer there.

That happened.
DD~~

The site is cleaner, now. WQXR is being shown in a better light.

Jun. 16 2014 02:12 AM
Deloss Brown from New York City

I was somewhat amazed that the commentary about Richard Strauss never mentioned that one of the reasons he stayed in Germany was to protect his son, his son's Jewish wife, and his Jewish grandchildren. If he had not been Germany's foremost composer at the time, I doubt if he could have done it. As it was, in 1944 the Nazis snatched his son and daughter-in-law while Strauss was temporarily out of the house, and he had to use all his influence to get them released after two days. All my information comes from Strauss' biography on Wikipedia, which has some documentation.

Jun. 14 2014 01:48 PM
Alexander Murray from NYC

This has been a celebration of a life that celebrated a Sacred Art as a personal communication with a Creator beyond the beliefs, teachings, concepts and theories of others. A mystical Master whose music conjures for me the Essence of the Universal Life Force. My deepest thanks to all who participated in this long awaited tribute.

Jun. 13 2014 04:37 PM

@cultvult
Not perfect at all. And I spend my time elsewhere, as well. I attend concerts, write a blog, work five days a week, and like/hope to see quality posting from WQXR/WNYC.

And the capital "I" issue is a style issue, not {{ahem}} grammatical.

Jun. 11 2014 09:22 PM
cultvult

@DD - So glad you've got nothing better to do than correct other people's gtammatical errors and typos. And you're so perfect yourself?

Jun. 11 2014 09:12 AM
Rich Putter

I believe it was Strauss who said, "I may not be a first rate composer but I'm a damn good second rate composer." Thanks for giving one of my favorite composers his due.

Jun. 11 2014 09:00 AM

@ The Truth from LES
I have a life. Part of that is expecting the best from WQXR -- on air and online. Their editors have thanked people in the past for clearing things up. Their editors (actually WNYC) have thanked me in the past.

I expect the best from WQXR and I'll call them on it when I don't get it. I am a member, after all.

DD~~

Jun. 10 2014 11:08 PM
Reid Condit from San Francisco

This program confirms what Alex Ross wrote at the turn of the last century -- that Richard Strauss was "the greatest composer of the 20th" and served to continue the greatness of German musical tradition.

Jun. 09 2014 05:52 PM
The Truth from LES

@Dead Duck - get a life!

Jun. 09 2014 10:07 AM

Music *Is* (not *is*) a Holy Art. Get it together WQXR editors.

DD~~

Jun. 09 2014 02:01 AM
C Sayers from Chicago

When I was 13 my father gave me a tape cassette of Richard Strauss' Death and Transfiguration. Thus began my life long love affair with the composer's music. Having listened to this program confirms that what I felt, through his music as a child, was as honest and magical as his creations.

Thank you so much for this excellent presentation!

Jun. 08 2014 11:52 AM
Jeffery A. Triggs from Madison, NJ

Simply a beautiful show! Thank you!

Jun. 08 2014 10:53 AM
Karen Ditman from Silver Spring, MD

Excellent rendering of the life of Richard Strauss. Well written and executed. Ms. Voigt proves again that her radio voice and hosting abilities are of the highest caliber. It is a pleasure to listen to her precise enunciation and genteel interpretation of the text. This was a monumental undertaking and should garner heaps of praise.

Jun. 08 2014 09:16 AM
Karen Ditman from Silver Spring, MD

What an ambitious program!! Can't wait to hear it as well as the host, my favorite Diva and radio celebrity, Deborah Voigt.

Jun. 07 2014 10:42 PM

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