Cover image for Richard Strauss : man, musician, enigma
Richard Strauss : man, musician, enigma
Kennedy, Michael, 1926-2014.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xvi, 451 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.S93 K46 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This book re-evaluates a figure whom the author considers to be the greatest composer of the twentieth century. Kennedy deals fully with Strauss's life as leading composer and national figure in the Third Reich, during which he was both fted and cold-shouldered by the authorities. In putting this period into perspective he draws heavily on hitherto ignored material, including Strauss's own letters and diaries. In addition he reveals much about Strauss's long, happy but tempestuous marriage to the soprano Pauline de Ahna as well as tracing the important relationships to his librettists Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Stefan Zweig, Joseph Gregor and Clemens Krauss. Kennedy reassesses the man and the music, revealing a picture of a level-headed, practical and extremely versatile musician - a great conductor as well as a great composer.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

For Richard Strauss (1864^-1949), German culture and his family were the driving forces of his life. Composer of operas, lieder, symphonic tone poems, and chamber music, Strauss developed a distinctive style of expressive music that contained much of his emotional life. He also famously conducted orchestras and operas in his music and that of his heroes, Wagner, Beethoven, and Mozart. He had a great sense of the theatrical, and though his librettists were very distinguished, he edited them and wrote some passages himself. He composed quickly, often jotting ideas and thematic material in the margins of librettos as he read them. Kennedy views Strauss' life entirely through the lenses of his music and his devotion to his family, with most documentation drawn from correspondence and previous biographies. He treats Strauss' participation in furthering German musical culture during the Nazi era at length, concluding by denying that Strauss was a Nazi sympathizer. An excellent biography of a composer in both romantic and classical manners who despised the avant-garde atonal music of his contemporaries. --Alan Hirsch

Choice Review

The first large-scale biography of Strauss to be published in many years, this volume is beautifully written by one of the great writers on music in the English language. Until now, the standard biography in English was Norman Del Mar's three-volume Richard Strauss (1962; 1969; CH, Feb'73), which focuses on the music of the composer. Kennedy deals more with Strauss's life in music. Of particular interest is his concentration on the great European composer's career after he had written his grand opera Der Rosenkavalier; indeed, most of the volume deals with Strauss's life through the two world wars. Stating that Strauss's "greatness has not yet been fully discovered and understood," Kennedy says this volume "attempt[s] to advance that discovery and understanding." And it does. In addition to 400 pages of text, it contains 33 pages of photographs and extensive footnotes. It will be of interest in both academic and public libraries, where it joins Kennedy's much smaller Richard Strauss (CH, Dec'76), in "The Master Musicians Series." W. Ross University of Virginia

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Part I 1864-1898: Youth in Munich
1 The family
2 Wunderkind
3 Growing up
4 Meiningen
5 Third conductor
6 Dora and Weimar
7 First failure
8 Engagement
9 Pauline
10 The tone-poet
Part II 1898-1918: The Berlin Years
11 At the Kaiser-s court
12 Enter Hofmannsthal
13 The Ariadne crisis
14 Twentieth-century Offenbach
Part III 1918-1933: Out of Fashion
15 Vienna
16 Intermezzo
17 Helena
18 Arabella
19 The gathering storm
Part IV 1933-1949: The Dark Years
20 Taking Walter-s place
21 The Reich chamber
22 Dismissal
23 Working with Gregor
24 Danae and Madeleine
25 After Capriccio
26 Eightieth birthday
27 Metamorphosen
28 -I am Richard Strauss ...-
29 The exile
30 London
31 Last songs
32 Return to Garmisch
Select Bibliography