Friday, March 30, 2012

Sorting out the Strausses

We learned about Richard Strauss in our Composer Study this week, and I have to admit that after all these years, I often have to stop and think about the difference between Richard Strauss or Johann Strauss.  (Actually, there were three men by the name of Johann Strauss in the music business, none of them related to Richard Strauss.  The one we're most familiar with, the composer of the Blue Danube and Tales from the Vienna Woods, is Johann Strauss II.  His father, Johann Strauss I, was also a composer and popularized waltzes.  Johann Strauss III was the grandson of Johann I and nephew of Johann II, and although he was also a composer, he was better known as a conductor.)

But back to Richard Strauss...  he was a German composer who took the symphonic poem to new levels, writing music inspired by works of literature, notably Macbeth, Don Juan, and  Don Quixote.  A symphonic poem by Strauss that I'd suggest most of us are familiar with is Thus Spake Zarathustra.  We may not know it by that title, but we have heard it's opening theme in movies, TV shows, and commercials, starting with the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Strauss also made important contributions to opera with Der Rosenklavier and the controversial (at the time) Salome.

Strauss is the last composer of the Romantic era that we are studying, so this week we also looked at the introduction to the Contemporary period.  Kennady is particularly excited about studying Scott Joplin next week, while Landon is looking forward to John Williams.  Stay tuned!

This post is linked at ~a teaching heart~ where we are keeping each other accountable for making time for music in our homeschooling!

a teaching heart 


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