Monday, June 11, 2012

Behold, I Teach You the Overman!

Promotional image for the Los Angeles Opera's 2005 production of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier featuring Adrianne Pieczonka and Alice Coote, with designs by Gottfried Helnwein

It's been a while since we last celebrated the birth date of a classical composer. Since Richard Strauss was born on this date in 1864, we'll enjoy a few of his works. I'm not the biggest fan of late Romanticism; it's often too overblown for my tastes, loud and long, heavy and bombastic. But, whereas Mahler or Bruckner might make my eyes glaze over, Strauss keeps me engaged.

Moreover, I'm an opera enthusiast and Strauss writes some fine pieces. From the charming homoeroticism of Der Rosenkavalier (no, really, one of those ladies is supposed to be a man) to the passionate depravity of Salome, these are compelling works of musical narrative.

Detail of Salome Dancing Before Herod (1876) by Gustave Moreau

So, let's listen to a few classic tales, expressed in luscious music.

But don't lose your head. ;-)

Salome: Dance of the Seven Veils

Rosenkavalier Waltzes

Also Sprach Zarathustra


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