STRAUSS, Richard (1864-1959). Autograph (‘‘Dr Richard Strauss’’) with two manuscript measures of motive from Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche, op. 28.
Oblong, one page 11.1×20.3 cm (4.4x8in). Signed and dated “Dr Richard Strauss Baden-Baden, 11 June 1906”.
Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche or Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks adopts the trickster Till Eulenspiegel, a character from fourteenth-century German folk tales, originally compiled in the sixteenth century. His adventurous tales are recounted with musical humour, translating the jester’s personality first through the horn section and then with a clarinet theme. This clarinet motif is transcribed here with the autograph, suggesting a certain level of mischievousness.
Despite Strauss’ growing reputation after a positive reception to his Don Juan tone poem, the critical failure in his hometown of Munich of the Guntram opera, awoke a need to go against the socially conventional. The creation of Till Eulenspiegels tone poem provided Strauss with a way to musically channel his rebellion against society, through Till’s devilishness and playful personality. The score was composed by Strauss in the winter of 1894-1895 and premiered on the 5th November 1895. This piece was followed by other critically acclaimed works, such as Don Quixote (1897), and Ein Heldenleben (1898), before he became principal conductor at the Berlin State Opera in 1898.