German composer Richard Georg Strauss was born into a family of musicians, ensuring a relationship with the musical art form at a very young age. By six, Strauss composed his first piece. By eighteen years of age, he had 140 compositions to his name.
Moving on to become a music director first at Meiningen, and then the Munich Court Opera, Strauss was inspired by literature, travel to the Italian countryside, and the composer Franz Liszt to the extent that his first son with Soprano Pauline de Ahna was named Franz. Not one to remain satisfied with his accomplishments for long, Strauss moved from away from his late Romantic roots to modern opera as both composer and conductor. Conducting presented a challenge he was determined to succeed at. His operatic beginnings were rocky and met with heavy criticism for being obscene. Strauss hit his stride eventually with Der Rosenkavalier, a comic opera based loosely on stories by Louvet de Couvrai and Molière, by utilizing his melodic Romantic style rooted in Wagnerian chromatic harmonies.
Eerily foretelling, Strauss’ final composition, the Four Last Songs, ends with the line “Is this perhaps death?”. He then goes on to melodically quote his own, earlier tone poem Death and Transfiguration to symbolize the soul’s transfiguration after death.
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will be performing Strauss’ Sextet for strings from Capriccio, Opus 85 as part of their concert Sunday, April 10th. The last of our concert series of the season, join us at 3pm for a Romantic afternoon filled with the lyrical melodies and warm emotions of Strauss, Dvořák, and Brahms as performed by this wonderfully eclectic sextet of string players: Ani Kavafian and Erin Keefe on violin, Yura Lee and Matthew Lipman on viola, and David Finckel and Dmitri Atapine on cello. Get your tickets today.