Richard Strauss was born in Munich in 1864, and died in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1949.
The son of a famous Munich horn player, Richard Strauss first established his reputation as a composer of symphonic music. In 1894 he conducted Tannhäuser at Bayreuth and his first operas, Guntram and Feuersnot, were strongly influenced by Wagner's music. Salome, composed in 1905 and based on Oscar Wilde’s play, made him famous as much for the originality of the music as for the work’s scandalous subject matter. Elektra, four years later, marked the beginning of a long collaboration with the Austrian poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal and displayed a level of violence rarely attained in the domain of opera. With Der Rosenkavalier (1911), Strauss seemed to “settle down” returning to the Viennese tradition of the character opera. There followed Ariadne auf Naxos (1912), Die Frau ohne Schatten (1919), Intermezzo (1924), Ägyptische Helena (1928), Arabella (1933), Die Schweigsame Frau (1935), Friedenstag (1938), Daphne (1938), Die Liebe der Danae (1938-40), Capriccio (1942).
A few months before his death, he composed the Four Last Songs for soprano and orchestra.
Artistic director of the Vienna Opera from 1919 to 1925, Richard Strauss was also one of the most famous conductors of his time as well as an outstanding interpreter not only of his own works but also of the operas of Mozart and Wagner. Although not an innovator in the true sense of the term, his importance, from a stylistic and aesthetic point of view, was nonetheless considerable.
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