Neo Romanza· Registered
One of the great known facts about Strauss was that a lot of his music was written with a smile behind it. He had a great sense of humor and it was actually his dream to be an operetta composer. There are moments in many of his works, however, that show genuine emotion. I'm thinking here of the last movement of Ein Heldenleben when there is a theme that comes with the strings and it just melts my heart. The Adagio from Symphonia Domestica is another just beautiful moment. Another moment that breaks my heart when I hear it is the last two minutes (or so) of the first movement from his Horn Concerto No. 2 where there's this emotional sigh from the horn and the orchestral accompaniment is absolutely exquisite. There are also moments in several of his operas where "the mask comes off" so to speak. I think it's all too easy to level a criticism about his music like "shallow" or whatever, but more familiarity with his music reveals that he could be as emotionally deep as any of the great composers that have proceeded or succeeded him.My choices:
Also Sprach Zarathustra
Vier Letzte Lieder
Horn Concerto no. 2
I am not a great fan of Richard Strauss although I respect his craftsmanship a lot. In general, Mahler was a lot deeper, Bruckner more noble, Wagner the superior opera composer. Strauss has always sounded somewhat bourgeois and rather shallow to me.
The works I listed are masterpieces, though.