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R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben Ed

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R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben Ed
R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben Ed


Contrasting symphonic poems by two apparently distant composers writing at the turn of the 20th century are featured on this Challenge Classics disc. Both works, Richard Strauss' Ein Heldenleben and Edgard Varèse's Amériques, are big orchestral showpieces which are recorded here in their rarely-performed original versions. Ingo Metzmacher, an authority on hidden links in music history and renowned for his innovative music programming, conducts the Deutches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.

Richard Strauss completed his Symphonic Poem Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) in 1898. It was his sixth work of this type, and exceeded all of its predecessors in its orchestral demands. Despite contradictory statements on the matter by the composer himself, it is generally agreed to be autobiographical in tone: the hero of the piece is clearly the composer himself. The work contains more than thirty quotations from Strauss's earlier works.

In 1910 Edgard Varèse met Strauss in Berlin, eleven years after the premiere of Ein Heldenleben - a work that is known to have made a profound impression on the young French-born composer. Like Heldenleben, Varèse's Amériques is also a symphonic poem, and appears to show the influence of the thematic layering of Strauss' piece and his incorporation of imposing percussive elements. It was composed between 1918 and 1922 and is the earliest work we know by Varèse. What seemed quite revolutionary at the time of its first performance was the bridge set up by Varèse from traditional musical language to the world of noises, particularly those of the big city.

For more than 67 years the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin has distinguished itself as one of Germany's leading orchestras. The number of its renowned music directors, the scope and variety of its work, and its particular emphasis on modern and contemporary music makes the ensemble unique. Founded as the RIAS Symphony Orchestra in 1946, it was renamed the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin in 1956 and has borne its current name since 1993.

Personnel: Deutches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Ingo Metzmacher (conductor), Wei Lu (violin)


  1. Name
  2. RICHARD STRAUSS: Ein Heldenleben, The Hero
  3. The Hero's Adversaries
  4. The Hero's Companion
  5. The Hero at Battle
  6. The Hero's Works of Peace
  7. The Hero's Retirement from this World and Consummation
  8. EDGARD VARESE: Amériques
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