This album was recorded in April 2014. It features Strauss’s first three published sets of lieder (songs), a genre that he wrote almost continuously throughout his career. These works came into print between 1885 and 1887, at a time when the young composer was on the brink of his first major success with the orchestral tone poem Don Juan. He wrote these opuses while employed as assistant conductor to Hans von Bülow at the court of Meiningen. In Meiningen, Strauss spent time with Johannes Brahms, watched Germany’s pre-eminent pianist and conductor (von Bülow) rehearse and perform music by Wagner, Beethoven, and Berlioz (and others), had his own first experiences as a conductor, and as a pianist he played chamber music with members of the orchestra. In short, the experience dramatically expanded the young musician’s musical horizons, and the results can be heard in these songs: they show influences from practically the entire canon of composers in the Austro-German tradition. Writing for the voice was one of Strauss’s most powerful modes of compositional expression, and hallmarks of his dramatic operatic style are already on display in these early works.
Recording Engineer: Ross Murray
Recording Venue: Venturing Hills Concert Studio
Read a review from Ulysses Arts here.