As if looking back on his youth toward the end of his life, Richard Strauss wrote a second concerto for horn and orchestra, again in Eb major, around sixty years after his first concerto for horn. This sublimely beautiful late work, which gives no indication of the oppressive circumstances of Strauss’ poor health and the Second World War, was premiered in 1943 by Gottfried von Freiberg under the direction of Karl Böhm. It was not until after Strauss’ death that the concerto appeared in print in London, making a critical new edition on the basis of the autograph sources and performance material more than overdue. The editor, Hans Pizka, former principal horn of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, learned first-hand about the performance tradition and genesis of the concerto as a pupil of Gottfried von Freiberg.
- Horn Concerto no. 2 E flat major
About the composer
One of the most important opera composers of the twentieth century. His oeuvre comprises fifteen operas, nine symphonic poems, instrumental concerti, and a large number of songs. His stage works are marked by their great variety of genre and subject matter.
|1864||Born in Munich on June 11, the son of Franz Joseph Strauss, principal horn player in the court orchestra. Receives instruction in piano, violin, and composition.|
|1885–86||Conductor at the Meiningen Court Orchestra, initially under the tutelage of Hans von Bülow.|
|1886||Music director at the Munich Court Theatre.|
|1887–1903||He increasingly devotes himself to the symphonic poem, including “Tod und Verklärung” (“Death and Transfiguration”) in C minor, Op. 24; “Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche” (“Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks”) in F major, Op. 28; “Also sprach Zarathustra,” Op. 30; “Symphonia Domestica” in F major for large orchestra, Op. 53.|
|1889–94||Music director in Weimar. First Kapellmeister in Munich in 1894, in Berlin at the Royal Court Opera from 1898–1910.|
|1905||Breakthrough with the premiere of “Salome,” Op. 54.|
|1906||Beginning of his collaboration with Hugo von Hofmannsthal on the harmonically progressive opera “Elektra,” Op. 58, premiered in Dresden in 1909.|
|1911||Sensational premiere in Dresden of “Der Rosenkavalier,” Op. 59, which refers back to operatic tradition and makes him the leading German opera composer. He decides to dedicate himself primarily to operas: “Ariadne auf Naxos,” Op. 60 (1912); “Intermezzo” Op. 72 (1924); “Die ägyptische Helena,” Op. 75 (1928); “Arabella,” Op. 79 (1933); “Die schweigsame Frau,” Op. 80 (1935); “Friedenstag,” Op. 81, and “Daphne,” Op. 82 (1938); “Die Liebe der Danae,” Op. 83 (1944).|
|1919||Director of the Vienna State Opera. Premiere there of “Die Frau ohne Schatten,” Op. 65.|
|1931||Collaboration with Stefan Zweig.|
|from 1944||Composition of his last works: Metamorphosen, for 23 solo strings, Oboe Concerto in D major, Four Last Songs.|
|1949||Death in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on September 8.|