June’s composer of the month is Richard Strauss.
Born: June 11, 1864
Died: September 8, 1949
• Early in Strauss's life, his father banned study of Wagner's music. It wasn't until age 16 that Richard was able to acquire a score of Tristan und Isolde.
• In September of 1894, Strauss married soprano Pauline de Ahna. They were happily married (for the most part) until his death in 1949.
• At the end of WWII, Strauss was apprehended at his estate. As soldiers approached, he proclaimed that he was the composer of Rosenkavalier and Salome. An officer acknowledged this, and an 'Off Limits' sign was then placed on the lawn for Strauss's protection.
• John de Lancie was an American corporal in the squad that secured the area around the town where Strauss was living in April 1945. He also happened to be an accomplished oboist. He asked Strauss to write an oboe concerto. After being initially dismissive of the idea, Strauss completed an oboe concerto at the end of that year.
• The sunrise theme from Strauss's tone poem, Also Sprach Zarathustra, became wildly popular due to its use in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Three important works:
• Also sprach Zarathustra (1892)
•Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks (1895)
• Salome (1905)
Audio Backpack playlist: Richard Strauss