Music with Ease > Life of Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss was born at Munich, June 11, 1864. His father, Franz Strauss, was a distinguished horn player in the Royal Opera orchestra. From him Richard received rigid instruction in music. His teacher in composition was the orchestra conductor, W. Meyer. At school he wrote music on the margins of his books. He was so young at the first public performance of a work by him, that when he appeared and bowed in response to the applause, some one asked, "What has that boy to do with it?" "Nothing, except that he composed it," was the reply.
Strauss is best known as the composer of many beautiful songs and of the orchestral works Tod und Verklaerung (Death and Transfiguration), and Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegels Merry Pranks). The latter is a veritable tour de force of orchestral scoring and a test of the virtuosity of a modern orchestra. Thus Spake Zarathustra, Don Quixote, and Ein Heldenleben (A Heros Life) are other well-known orchestral works by him. They are of large proportions. To the symphony, and the symphonic poem, Strauss has added the tone poem as a form of instrumental music even freer in its development than the symphonic poem, which was Liszts legacy to music.