R. Strauss - An Alpine Symphony (hr-Sinfonieorch., cond. Orozco-Estrada)

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Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie - hr-Sinfonieorchester - Andrés Orozco-Estrada

Nacht – Sonnenaufgang – Der Anstieg – Eintritt in den Wald – Wanderung neben dem Bache – Am Wasserfall – Erscheinung – Auf blumigen Wiesen – Auf der Alm – Durch Dickicht und Gestrüpp auf Irrwegen – Auf dem Gletscher – Gefahrvolle Augenblicke – Auf dem Gipfel – Vision – Nebel steigen auf – Die Sonne verdüstert sich allmählich – Elegie – Stille vor dem Sturm – Gewitter und Sturm, Abstieg – Sonnenuntergang – Ausklang – Nacht 

hr-Sinfonieorchester – Frankfurt Radio Symphony 
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Dirigent 

Alte Oper Frankfurt, 14. Oktober 2016 

Website: http://www.hr-sinfonieorchester.de ;
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hrsinfonieorchester

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An Alpine Symphony (Eine Alpensinfonie), Op. 64, is a composition for orchestra written by German composer Richard Strauss in 1915. It is one of Strauss's largest non-operatic works; the score calls for about 125 players and a typical performance usually lasts around 50 minutes. The program of An Alpine Symphony depicts the experiences of eleven hours (from daybreak just before dawn to the following nightfall) spent climbing an Alpine mountain.

In 1981 a recording of An Alpine Symphony, made with Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, became the first work ever to be pressed on the compact disc format.

Strauss's An Alpine Symphony was completed in 1915, eleven years after the completion of its immediate predecessor in the genre of the tone poem, Symphonia Domestica. In 1911, Strauss wrote that he was "torturing [himself] with a symphony – a job that, when all's said and done, amuses me even less than chasing cockroaches".

One point of influence comes from Strauss's love of nature. As a boy, Strauss experienced an Alpine adventure similar to the one described in his An Alpine Symphony: he and a group of climbers lost their way heading up a mountain and were caught in a storm and soaked on the way down. Strauss loved the mountains so much that in 1908 he built a home in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, that boasted stunning views of the Alps. This interest in nature can also point to Strauss's followings of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

The original drafts of An Alpine Symphony began in 1899. It was to be written in memory of the Swiss painter, Karl Stauffer-Bern, and the work was originally titled Künstlertragödie (Tragedy of an Artist). This fell by the wayside, but Strauss began a new four-movement work called Die Alpen (The Alps) in which he used parts of the original 1899 draft. The first movement of Die Alpen evolved into the core of An Alpine Symphony. Sketches were made, but Strauss eventually left the work unfinished.

Years later, upon the death of his good friend Gustav Mahler in 1911, Strauss decided to revisit the work. In his journal the day after he learned of Mahler's death, Strauss wrote:

The death of this aspiring, idealistic, energetic artist [is] a grave loss ... Mahler, the Jew, could achieve elevation in Christianity. As an old man the hero Wagner returned to it under the influence of Schopenhauer. It is clear to me that the German nation will achieve new creative energy only by liberating itself from Christianity ... I shall call my alpine symphony: Der Antichrist, since it represents: moral purification through one's own strength, liberation through work, worship of eternal, magnificent nature.

The resulting draft of the work was to be a two-part work titled Der Antichrist: Eine Alpensinfonie; however, Strauss never finished the second part. Instead, he dropped the first half of the title (named after an 1888 book by Nietzsche) and called his single-movement work simply An Alpine Symphony. After so many years of intermittent composition, once Strauss began work on the piece in earnest the progress was quick. Strauss even went so far as to remark that he composed An Alpine Symphony "just as a cow gives milk". Orchestration for the work began on November 1, 1914 and was completed by the composer only three months later. In reference to this, his final purely symphonic work, Strauss famously commented at the dress rehearsal for An Alpine Symphony's premiere that at last he had learned to orchestrate. The entire work was finished on February 8, 1915. The score was dedicated "in profound gratitude" to Count Nicolaus Seebach, director of the Royal Opera in Dresden, where four of the six operas Strauss had written by that time had been premiered.
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