Strauss, Richard


Strauss, Richard

Four Symphonic Interludes from Intermezzo op. 72

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Richard Strauss – Four Symphonic Interludes from Intermezzo op. 72

(b. Munich, 11 June, 1864 – d. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 8 September, 1949)

In the years after the First World War, composers of opera moved away from the traditional operatic subjects taken from myth, legend and history and started exploring subjects from everyday life and with ordinary people as the characters. These works were termed Zeitoper, meaning operas with contemporary settings. The fashion was started by Stravinsky, always a trend setter, with Mavra in 1922. Other prominent examples of the genre were Krenek’s Jonny spielt auf of 1927, Schoenberg’s Von Heute auf Morgen of 1928, Weill’s Die Dreigroschenoper of the same year and Hindemith’s Neues vom Tage of 1929. Strauss’s Intermezzo was first performed in 1924 and so is an early example of the form.

The composer described Intermezzo as ‘a bourgeois comedy with symphonic interludes. He asked his usual collaborator, Hugo von Hoffmannsthal, for ‘a very modern, absolutely realistic comedy of characters and nerves.’ [„eine ganz moderne, absolut realistische Charakter- und Nervenkomödie“]. Hofmannsthal refused to handle it as the subject was a long way from his interests. He suggested instead the playwright Hermann Bahr. Bahr saw that the subject was autobiographical and advised Strauss to write the libretto himself, which he did. The story is based on an incident in Strauss’s own life, when a compromising note from a young woman intended for another man ended up in his wife Pauline’s hands and nearly caused a divorce. …



Read full preface / Das ganze Vorwort lesen> HERE

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