R STRAUSS: Metamorphosen

Metamorphosen, study for 23 solo strings (TrV 290, AV 142) is a composition by Richard Strauss, scored for ten violins, five violas, five cellos, and three double basses. It was composed during the closing months of the Second World War, from August 1944 to March 1945. The piece was commissioned by Paul Sacher, the founder and director of the Basler Kammerorchester and Collegium Musicum Zürich, to whom Strauss dedicated it. It was first performed in January 1946 by Sacher and the Collegium Musicum Zürich, with Strauss conducting the final rehearsal (Wilhelm 1989, page 267). In 1996, Rudolf Leopold wrote a version for Septet By 1944, Strauss' health was not good and he needed to visit the Swiss spa at Baden near Zurich. However, he was unable to get permission to travel abroad from the Nazi government. Karl Bohm, Paul Sacher and Willi Schuh came up with a plan to get the travel permit: a commission from Sacher and invitation to the premier in Zurich. The commission was made in a letter from Bohm on August 28, 1944 for a "suite for strings". Strauss replied that he had been working for some time on an adagio for 11 strings (May 2010, page 187). In fact, in the early work on Metamorphosen he wrote for a septet (2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos and a bass), later expanding it to 23 strings. The starting date for the score is given as 13 March 1945, which suggests that the destruction of the Vienna opera house the previous day gave Strauss the impetus to finish the work and draw together his previous sketches in just one month (finished on 12 April 1945). WIKIPEDIA

VIDEO: Herbert von Karajan "Metamorphosen" R. Strauss

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