Strauss, Richard


Strauss, Richard

Der Bürger als Edelmann, Suite Op. 60

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Richard Strauss – Der Bürger als Edelmann, Suite op. 60 (1920)

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


Richard Strauss is considered a master of great symphonic works, with his tone poems and the large orchestras used in them, culminating in the “Alpine Symphony” with more than 120 musicians required. He also cultivated an opulent sound in his operas, just think of his “Salome” and “Elektra”! Thus he was a successor in a line of composers from Berlioz to Liszt and Wagner.

But this is only one side of his oeuvre. After the great success of his opera “Der Rosenkavalier”, his work slowly took on an orientation towards classical and baroque models. The impetus for this came from his close collaboration with Hugo von Hofmannsthal. In this context, the opera “Ariadne auf Naxos” must be mentioned above all, which was the second collaboration between the two artists. Here a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk was created in which theatre, music and dance form a unity, and for which the theatre at the court of Louis XIV served as a model here. The performance of the “Ariadne” opera was to be combined with a performance of Molière’s comedy “Der Bürger als Edelmann”, which was to be performed directly after the opera. Hugo von Hoffmannsthal shortened and translated the original for this purpose. The comedy tells of the futile attempts of an uneducated nouveau riche to rise to the upper echelons of society with the help of his fortune.

The performance was conceived as a mixture of spoken theatre, songong and dance. The work was premiered in this form in 1912 under the musical direction of Strauss and the stage direction of Max Reinhardt in Stuttgart. Hoffmannsthal in particular was not satisfied after the performance, mainly for conceptual reasons. It was decided that the “Ariadne” opera was no longer to be performed before the comedy, but instead a new introductory prelude was created. This modified version was successfully performed in Vienna in 1917. Later, “Der Bürger als Edelmann” was performed as an independent “Comedy with Dances by Molière, free adaptation in three acts, music by Richard Strauss” by Max Reinhardt at his Deutsches Theater in Berlin. It contains 17 musical numbers, taken from the previous version and from “Ariadne”. In addition, there are further newly composed numbers. Strauss succeeded here in an excellent portrayal of characters and situations.

For concert use, he put together a concert suite. For this, he chose eight other numbers in addition to the overture. The music shows great humour, both in handling and in alienation of historical stylistic types. Of course, Strauss also shines here with his mastery of instrumentation. This is particularly impressive because Strauss manages it with a relatively small instrumentation. In addition to double woodwinds and horns, he uses only one trumpet, one trombone and only six violins, four violas, four violoncellos and two double basses. Important in the instrumentation, however, is the added harp, as well as the piano used in the style of a basso continuo. In addition, there is a relatively large number of percussion instruments. Strauss used melodies by Jean-Baptiste Lully for the two movements “Menuett” and “Auftritt des Cleonte”. In particular Strauss’s humor is evident in the final number, “Das Diner”. Here, while serving a Rhine salmon, he quotes the wave motif from Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” and the woodwinds announce roasted thrushes by imitating birdsong. The composer conducted the first performance of the suite on 31 January 1920 on the podium of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Playing time: about 33 minutes

Marcus Prieser 2022

For performance material please contact Edition Peters, Leipzig. Reprint of a copy from the Musikbibliothek der Münchner Stadtbibliothek, Munich.


Deutsches Vorwort lesen > HERE

Score Data


Repertoire Explorer




210 x 297 mm





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