Of men & mountains

Strauss’s last tone-poem, An Alpine Symphony, wasn’t written until 1915 (the composer’s previous essay in the genre, the Symphonia Domestica, was completed back in 1903). There was a reason for this long gestation period (up until the Domestic Symphony the largest gap between symphonic poems had been six years). From 1903 onwards the composer’s focus […]

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 […]

El Caballero de la Triste Figura

Don Quixote, the Knight of the Doleful Countenance, here seen in Daumier’s famous painting (though it seems to me that the star of that particular show is the clapped-out horse, Rocinante – the Don’s doleful countenance just isn’t in evidence and poor old, long suffering Sancho Panza’s reduced to an amorphous blob on the horizon). […]

Lazy bones?

There are people who, through some flaw or other in their personality, acquire a bad reputation, a reputation which then proceeds to dog them throughout history to the detriment of several other sterling qualities: one such is poor Anatoly Lyadov. He wasn’t poor, not in the pecuniary sense, anyway. A scion of a well-to-do St.Petersburg […]