WRTI Spotlight
12:15 pm
Sat June 7, 2008

Richard Strauss' Birthday is June 11:<br>Celebrate the Great Romantic Composer with WRTI

On Wednesday June 11, from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, we'll devote a portion of the day to the music of the inimitable German composer Richard Strauss (1864 to 1949). His epic and heroic tone poems and operas changed the face of romantic music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and have become a staple of the orchestra repertory.

In addition to regular programming, numerous Strauss works will be featured, including Der Rosenkavalier: Symphonic Suite, Don Juan, Don Quixote, Also Sprach Zarathustra, and Til Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks.

Tune in to hear the exhilarating early tone poem Don Juan, which catapulted the young composer to international acclaim at the age of 24, and the breathtakingly lush -- and unabashedly Viennese -- suite from the opera Der Rosenkavalier. Also scheduled is the somber yet highly imaginative Macbeth, a double portrait of Shakespeare's Thane of Cawdor and his formidable wife.

There's plenty of music on the lighter side as well, with the tone poem Till Eulenspiegel's lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspeigel's Merry Pranks), which chronicles the misadventures of the German peasant folk hero, Till Eulenspiegel. Strauss was notorious among friends for his wit. In his later years he offered a now-famous self-deprecating remark, "I may not be a first-rate composer, but I'm a first-class, second-rate composer!"

Among the day's highlights is the dramatic tone poem Don Quixote, subtitled "Fantastic Variations on a Theme of Knightly Character." This concertante-style work paints a vivid musical picture of the adventure, humor, and self-reflection featured in the classic Cervantes novel. In this masterpiece a solo cello plays the role of the farcical title character with a viola as sidekick Sancho Panza and various instruments from within the orchestra as the supporting cast.

More Information:


  • Richard Strauss Official Website Biography Timeline

  • Richard Strauss Website