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"I cannot bear the tragedy of the present time," wrote Richard Strauss in 1924. "I want to create joy. I need it." In a career that extended from the age of Wagner and Brahms to the middle of the twentieth century, Strauss wrote music that kept alive the German Romantic ideals of melody and emotional expressiveness. Among his fifteen operas are the beloved Der Rosenkavalier with its bittersweet evocation of bygone days in imperial Vienna, the ingenious Ariadne auf Naxos, and other works that hold the stage to this day. His brilliant tone poems for orchestra include such staples of the repertory as Death and Transfiguration, Don Juan, Ein Heldenleben, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, and Also sprach Zarathustra - source of the famous "sunrise" music used in the film 2001. A distinguished composer of songs, chamber music, and ballets as well, Strauss was also one of the outstanding conductors of his time, directing opera companies in Weimar, Munich, Berlin, and Vienna.
In his young manhood, Strauss was regarded by many as a leader of the dissonant avant-garde; his early operas Salome and Elektra feature a harmonic vocabulary that ventures to the brink of the atonal, as well as subject matter considered scandalous at the time. But by the 1930s, Strauss's refusal to follow in the footsteps of Schoenberg and the modernists had led to his being written off as a reactionary. Michael Kennedy challenges this verdict with a comprehensive appreciation of Strauss's music and an evenhanded assessment of his life, including his tempestuous marriage to Pauline de Ahna and his controversial relationship with the Nazi regime. Contradicting the received opinion that Strauss's genius declined after Der Rosenkavalier, this authoritative study makes the case for Strauss as a key figure in the history of the last hundred years of music, widely misrepresented and misunderstood.
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'Mr Kennedy's new biography of Strauss is certain to become the standard work, shaping the interpretations of a whole generation of Strauss's scholars (and ordinary music lovers) to come.' Sunday Telegraph
'One of the many merits of this excellently researched book is that it pinpoints the centrality to Strauss of his family life ... It is worth reading ... not only for its jaunty style, but also for the integrity with which it provides even discreditable information about its protagonist.' Gerald Kaufman, Daily Telegraph
'Although Kennedy refrains from detailed musical analysis, he is always interesting, if sometimes controversial, in his evaluation of Strauss's most important works and evangelical on behalf of his lesser known ones ... Kennedy's book is an important and absorbing contribution to the continuing Strauss debate.' Hugh Canning, Sunday Times
'Michael Kennedy has written a fine work, which I believe will be the benchmark for all future biographies of Richard Strauss.' Literary Review
'Written in an elegantly accessible style, this is the most valuable book on Strauss and his music to have appeared in English.' Charles Osborne, BBC Music Magazine
'... his is one of the best balanced and most intelligent presentations of a composer's work I have ever encountered.' The Observer
'This is a highly enjoyable book. Kennedy gives a sensitive and judicious account of Strauss's life ...' The Musical Times
'... majestic and beautifully written study ... Here is a major contribution to musical literature at the highest level.' Musical Opinion
'... his abiding love of the subject and his gift for sane human judgements persistently edge us closer to the truth of the enigma that was Strauss.' Gramaphone
'... by virtue of his thoroughness and passion for the subject, Kennedy has given us even cause to celebrate Strauss ...' Opera News
Written by Michael Kennedy, music critic for the Sunday Telegraph, this first detailed biography of Richard Strauss for many years reassesses the man and the musician, drawing on much hitherto ignored material. In particular it considers Strauss's position during the period of the Third Reich.
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Book Description Schirmer Books, 1996. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110028645170
Book Description Schirmer Reference, 1996. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0028645170