Places of activities of Richard Strauss
Join us in our journey through Germany following the footprints of Richard Georg Strauss whose 150th anniversary was celebrated in 2014. You will get to know more about his life and his inspiration, all the while exploring beautiful spots in Germany such as Munich, Dresden, Leipzig, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Berlin.
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Strauss was born on the 11th of June 1864. His Father Franz Joseph Strauss was considered one of the finest horn players in Germany, who would prove to be a considerable musical influence on the young Richard. Strauss later worked at the Munich Court Opera but once commented of the town, “that’s not the place where a happy musical life can flourish.”
1883 saw Strauss undertake a musical journey which included a sojourn in Dresden. 18 years later, Strauss was invited by Ernst von Schuch to stage Feuersnot (The Need for Fire) in Dresden. The opera was well-received, and subsequent works such as Salome, Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose) achieved even greater success. The friendship which developed between Strauss and Schuch was further enhanced by the former’s affection for Dresden’s Semper Opera House.
He referred to the opera house as “Dorado”, and it was here that nine of his fifteen operas were premiered. Strauss’s connection with Dresden continued even after the death of Schuch. He went on to be made President of the Reichsmusikkammer (State Music Institute) further to the seizure of power by the National Socialists, and only lost his post as a result of insisting that the Jewish librettist Stefan Zweig be named on the theatrical billing for the premiere of Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman) in Dresden in 1935.
Strauss moved to Berlin in 1898. A performance of Tristan and Isolde at the Court Opera saw him perform in public for the first time as First Royal Prussian Court Chapel Master. Strauss was Musical Director of the Berlin Court Opera from 1908 to 1910. Whilst in Berlin he was also committed to creating an environment in which artists are appreciated by society at large.
Strauss returned to Leipzig’s Gewandhaus concert hall on numerous occasions as both a conductor and composer. A week-long residency there in June 1926 saw him conduct numerous operas and a concert. A long tradition of Strauss seasons at the Gewandhaus goes all the way back to performances organized by Arthur Nikisch in 1920/1921.
Strauss held the role of Second Grand-Ducal Chapel Master in Weimar from 1889 to 1894. It was during his time here that he began conducting, participated in Bayreuth Festival and married Pauline de Ahna in 1894. Although Strauss himself saw his years in Weimar as unproductive, they are regarded as having greatly benefitted his musical skills.
Strauss owes no little of his fame to his involvement with Bayreuth Festival, where he conducted five performances of the Wagner opera Tannhaeuser in 1894. He was not born with this fondness for Richard Wagner — his father disliked Wagner’s work, and preferred Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn.
It was in 1908 that Richard Strauss had a villa built in Garmisch by the Munich architect Emanuel von Seidl. Strauss devoted himself to composing and conducting, with his wife Pauline looking after both the family and the housekeeping. This stable family environment helped the former revolutionary develop into an established composer. Richard Strauss died in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on the 8th of September 1949 at the age of 85.
One option is to book a group tour to Dresden. You can also opt for one of our city combination tours or offer your music-loving group a tour offering insights into the life and work of both Wagner and Strauss.
Spring flowers and the Church of our Lady Dresden © Christoph Münch
Opera House Leipzig © Andreas Birkigt
Garmisch Partenkirchen © AugustusTours