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This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Richard Strauss, who was born on June 11, 1864. Strauss, who enjoyed early success as both conductor and composer, was influenced in the second capacity by the work of Wagner. He developed the tone poem to an unrivalled level of expressiveness and, after 1900, achieved great success with a series of impressive operas, at first on a grand scale but later tending to a more Classical restraint. We mark his anniversary with a selection of recordings which, for the most part, were made either during his lifetime or shortly after his death in 1949.

Schwarzkopf sings Strauss

Naxos 8.111145
Four Last Songs (1953)
Highlights from Arabella (1954)
Philharmonia Orchestra
Otto Ackerman/Lovro von Matačić

This Naxos disc brings together Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's two acclaimed mid-1950s recordings of Strauss' Four Last Songs and highlights from his opera Arabella, the latter appearing complete on compact disc for the first time.

Naxos 8.112034-35
Capriccio (1957-58)
Philharmonia Orchestra
Wolfgang Sawallisch

Immediately recognised as one of the composer’s greatest and most subtle works, Capriccio poses the central dilemma in opera: what is more important, the words or the music?

Naxos 8.111033-34
Aridane auf Naxos (1954)
Philharmonia Orchestra
Herbert von Karajan

Ariadne auf Naxos fuses two very different artistic worlds – operatic tragedy and slapstick comedy – while examining the relationship between art and society.

Other Operatic and Orchestral Repertoire

Der Rosenkavalier (1949)
Metropolitan Opera, New York
Fritz Reiner
Horn Concertos
Nos. 1 and 2 (1955-56)

Dennis Brain, horn
Philharmonia Orchestra
Wolfgang Sawallisch
Symphony No. 1 (1985)
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Kenneth Schermerhorn

Symphony No. 2 (1985)
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
Michael Halász
Ein Heldenleben (1941)
Tod und Verklärung (1942)

Concertgebouw Orchestra
Willem Mengelberg

Strauss the Conductor

Naxos 8.110926
Symphony No. 5 (1928)
Symphony No. 7 (1926)

Berlin State Opera Orchestra
Richard Strauss

“cavalier … headlong … proud, bullish, sometimes messy … interpretative interest … lean and impatient … game sense of humour … more Dionysus than Apollo.”
- Rob Cowan (from the sleeve notes)

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