In domestic harmony

Strauss’s autobiographical turn of mind continued with the work that followed Ein Heldenleben. Only this time the critic-slaying hero of The Hero’s Life (i.e. Strauss himself) is transformed into a rather cuddly paterfamilias (Richard) replete with fond/nagging wife (Pauline) and yelling/gurgling baby (Franz) plus a few extras in the form of a troupe of aunts and uncles; the work was entitled Symphonia Domestica.

The piece revolves around three thematic groups that ‘picture’ the husband, then the wife and finally the baby. As an example here are some of the themes/leitmotifs with which Strauss draws a pen portrait of himself (they appear right at the beginning of the work):

The dad/hubby (cellos):

the creative artist (oboe):

grumpy (clarinet):

and finally…

passionate (violins):


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