Strauss was a musical Wunderkind who excelled at piano and violin and began composing at age 6. Bill introduces us to a composition of the young Strauss with his Serenade in E-flat Major.
Strauss’s struggles with composing a comic opera turned into one of his wittiest and most memorable tone poems: Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche.
Inspired by the philosphy of Friedrich Nietzsche, Strauss set about composing one of his most instantly recognizable works, the monumental Also sprach Zarathustra.
Strauss worked with librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal on such operas as Der Rosenkavalier and Ariadne auf Naxos. In 1911, von Hoffmannsthal approached Strauss about reviving the 17th century play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, which resulted in this neo-classical orchestral suite entitled Der Bürger als Edelmann.
Towards the end of Strauss’s life, his creativity was blossoming in ways that it hadn’t in years. Bill explores the supreme artistry of “Ist dies etwa der Tod?” from the composer’s Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs).