Richard Strauss was born in Munich, Germany on June 11, 1864. He was born to Franz Joseph Strauss, who was regarded as one of the best French hornists of his time, and Josepha Pscorr. Strauss composed Don Quixote, technically known as “Fantastic Variations on a Theme of Knightly Character, in the year 1987 and it was first performed on March 8, 1898 in Colgne, Germany and was conducted by Franz Wüllner. It is based on the novel “El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Moncha”, which was written by Michael Cervantes and published in two separate parts, the first in 1605 and the second in 1615. The genre for this piece is called Symphonic Poem, or Tone Poem.
A symphonic poem is a piece of orchestral music that is based on a non-musical
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Inspiration could also come from a city, like George Gershwin’s “American in Paris”. Gershwin had just been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and he was determined to create a piece that didn’t center around the piano, much like his very famous earlier work “Rhapsody in Blue”. Paris’ streets were his inspiration for “American in Paris” and though the critics did not rave about it, this piece of music was incredibly successful with audiences and Hollywood.
Richard Strauss did not start off doing symphonic poems. It was his mentor, Alexander Ritter, who exposed Strauss to Franz Liszt and his symphonic poems. When Liszt died, 1886, Strauss composed “Aus Italien” and is regarded as his first symphonic poem. Shortly before Strauss because his reign of operatic success, around 1903, Strauss had written eight tone poems. They included “Macbeth (1886) [which] is based on Shakespeare’s drama. Don Juan (1888) [which is based on a novel written] by Nikolaus Leanu, Tod und Verklärung (1889) based on his [Strauss] own programme sketch, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (1895), Also sprach Zarathustra (1896) based on Friedrich Nietzsche’s [Philosophy], Don Quixote (1897) adapted from Cervantes’ novel, Ein Heldenleben (1898) and Sinfonia domestica (1903), both with