114. Richard Georg Strauss [365 Composers for 2013]


24th April – Richard Strauss

Strauss (11th June 1864 – 8th September 1949) is our composer for 24th April, to mark the anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Nationality: German
Lifespan: 85 years
Genre: Romantic
Education: From father, and privately and Munich University (Philosophy and Art History)
Fame Ranking: 1

Richard Strauss, (not to be confused with Johann Strauss, famous for writing waltzes), is our pick for today, as his iconic piece “Also Sprach Zarathustra” was used as a main theme in the movie “2001 a Space Odyssey” and for the Apollo Space Program, and today is the anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990.

Strauss was initially taught music by his father, a professional French horn player at the Court Opera in Munich. He also received private music tuition and took a back seat at rehearsals at the Munich Court Orchestra, and by the time he had left school he had already written around 140 pieces of music. Gradually, Strauss began to receive more and more recognition for his works, until he had risen to become one of the most respected and revered composers of his time.

Strauss’s son, Franz, married into a Jewish family. As Nazi Germany began to take its toll on the country, Strauss used much of his clout to try to protect his daughter-in-law’s family. At one stage he even drove to a concentration camp to plead for the release of his son’s mother-in-law, although his pleas fell on deaf ears.

Although he was not a political man himself, Strauss was drawn into pre-war politics in Germany regardless. He was appointed to one of the highest positions at that time, president of the Reichsmusikkammer (The State Music Bureau) and subsequently was suspected of being a Nazi sympathiser by outsiders. However, it seems that he took on the position in order to gain power to protect Franz’s family, and Strauss’ correspondence from that time makes it clear that he was disdainful of the Nazi regime.

Strauss composed for his whole life. Early in his career his focus was more on smaller chamber works, but from about 1890 onwards he favoured large-scale orchestral works and opera. “Also Sprach Zarathustra” is a tone poem, a musical form which Strauss particularly cherished.

Here is the first part of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Strauss:


Thanks for rating this! Now tell the world how you feel - .
What do you think about this composers music?
  • Not Sure
  • Love it
  • Hate it
  • Dislike it
  • Like it
  • It's OK


Listen to more works by Strauss – click the box!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *