Strauss, Richard

Taillefer for voices, choir and orchestra Op. 52 (German & English libretto)

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Richard Strauss – Taillefer for soli, choir & orchestra Op. 52

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

“I count Richard Strauss among the twenty-four archangels of music, and I cannot imagine a life without his music. But there are situations when his genius forsakes him, and he was never weaker than with his ‘Taillefer’.” (Julius Bierbaum)

Taillefer, Strauss’s Opus 52 produced highly contrasting opinions upon its premiere in October 1903. Bierbaum continued to disparage the work, referring to it as “a big orchestral sauce”1 ending their friendship. Strauss complained to his parents “does he know about setting Uhland? Can I help it if the piece is performed with too small a choir, which was inaudible, in too small a room, where it made a gigantic noise? Could none of my ‘friends’ in Munich take the trouble to explain this to that amateur Bierbaum?”2

Gustav Mahler however thoroughly approved of it, writing in a letter of 1906 “I have just heard a splendid performance in Amsterdam of your ‘Taillefer’, of which I am especially fond among your works”.

Who then, is Taillefer? Originating in a poem by Ludwig Uhland of 1816, Taillefer is the court minstrel to Duke William of Normandy, later King William of England. The poem tells how Taillefer impresses the Duke with his musical abilities and requests to ride into battle with the soldiers, rather than remain behind. The Duke grants his wish and Taillefer leads the cavalry charge in front of the Duke at the Battle of Hastings (1066). He strikes the first English knight dead and continues his song, stirring the other troops into action, finally being congratulated by the then King William on his achievements. …

Full preface / Komplettes Vorwort > HERE

Score No.



Repertoire Explorer


Choir/Voice & Orchestra


210 x 297 mm





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