Download Full Text (6.7 MB)
Lindsey Roth, MUS303: Music History 2
Faculty Mentor(s): Professor Carolyn Guzski, Music
Richard Strauss (1864-1949) spent almost 80 years of his life composing music. At 19, he composed a piece for his father, a famous French horn player, to perform: The Horn Concerto No. 1 (1883). However, his father deemed it too difficult to play, and so never performed the piece in public. In this project, I focus on both the father and the son and their dynamic as portrayed by the Horn Concerto. First, I attempt to analyze why Franz Strauss refused to play the piece his son wrote for him. In doing so, I detail the valveless natural horn that Franz Strauss was adept at playing and for which his son wrote the piece, versus the valved horn that this solo is typically played on [GC6]. The quick-moving chromatics of the piece make it difficult to control solely by “stopping” or using the right hand or a mute to plug the bell of the horn to produce the correct notes. I then turn my focus onto Richard Strauss himself. Franz Strauss influenced his son by pushing him towards a conservative musical style. However, much of the Horn Concerto indicates Richard Strauss's compositional style becoming more Romantic or Modern. I utilize musical examples from the score to show themes of the piece that are more theatrical and experimental. Richard Strauss' Horn Concerto not only details the composer's beginnings, but it also allows a deeper view into his relationship with his father.
Roth, Lindsey, "Father and Son: The Musical Relationship of Richard and Franz Strauss" (2021). Arts. 15.