some thoughts & facts
Click here for instructions about this concerto: op11.htm
Richard Strauss composed his first concerto at age 18, as a schoolboy.
Arithmetic ? 1964 plus 18 makes 1882. Franz Strauss premiered the Parsifal then. He was still the principal horn of the Royal Court Opera Orchestra in Munich. Could he have had difficulties with the few high Bb in the concerto, with the greater part flowing in the common upper middle range of the horn ?
Why was the concerto dedicated to Oscar Franz and not to Franz Strauss ?
Answer: Franz Strauss did not like the style of the composition, that is it. And Oscar Franz was twenty one years younger than Franz Strauss. Dedicating a piece is a good way to get a piece performed, performed with orchestra. Franz Strauss had only the chance to perform it with the "Wilde Gungl" in Munich, a quite good amateur orchestra, which exists still now. He had no chance to put it on a program of the concerts of "The Musikalische Akademie 1811" (the concerts of the Royal Court Opera rchestras Concert association - this is my orchestra now renamed Bavarian State Orchestra), as he was 60 already & not prepared to do any future solo appearance any more. That is the reason behind the dedication to Oscar Franz and Franz Strauss refusal. Gustav Leinhos premiered op.11 in Meiningen on March 4rth, 1883 under Hans von Buelow. Hans von Buelow programmed the premiere despite of the difficulties they had each other (Franz Strauss & Buelow) during the rehearsals for the Munich premiere of "Mastersingers" 1868. That was already 15 years earlier. By the way, Franz Strauss himself played the Bb-horn for the most of his time. He was an exception to the horn playing scene in Germany during that time.
Concerto No.2 (1943)
Click here for the solo part of the first performer Gottfried von Freiberg and some instructions about the concerto: RStrauss2.htm
musical text makes this concerto very difficult ?
The written notes are not the main difficulty. The difficulties come in the performance: clean technique, right expression, endurance, power, playing against a full orchestra (last movement !). You mention the top Bb entrances. Right. They are only in the last movement and in a way, where they are not difficult in no ways. They are part of regular arpeggios & come five times, whereof only the third time is somewhat delicate (after rehearsal number 43), as it comes right after a jump of an octave & should be soft. But how about the finger breaking three measures before 11 until 12 ? Or 35 to 36 ? Or the four measures following 6 measures after 39 ? Or 6 measures before 47 ? Not to speak about the stamina of the first page. Yes, there is a hit or not hit high Bb entrance two measures before 4. But the Bb2 is a very good note & rarely missed. The above mentioned difficulties will be reduced if one uses the F-side a lot more than usual. And, talking frankly, is this concerto written for the less experienced ? First horn players, yes, first horn players will play this concerto only. If they had problems with the high Bb, they would not be first horn players at all. And this concerto is not for the amateur horn player with the exception of those who might have been brave first horn player, but had changed their profession for whatever reason. It might be a difference between performing the concerto & just playing it. The most demanding in a concerto is the emphasis you give to it.
Belonging to the most difficult concerts ?
Answer: Yes, together with Schoeck, Tomasi, Pauer, Gordon Jacob.
Why is the solo part in E-flat ?
Answer: If publishers publish (only US companies did it for the
I have to prepare
the second movement only & hope to do it
Answer: The second movement is a
simple melody, even for very young players,
It should be up to
the choice of everybody, what to choose for a competition
Answer: Arguing that everybody might choose the music he or
she wants to play,
Everything has to go step by step. The baby learns first how to sit,
than how to stand, how to set one first step, how to walk, how to jump,
how to run, how to dance, etc. -
Strauss have heard the young Dennis Brain &
Answer: Dennis Brain was 18 years old in 1939 when WW2 broke
off. Richard Strauss was 75 already then. Where should Richard Strauss
have heard Dennis Brain before that date ? Dennis Brain was not more then
than a very promising young horn player, not engaged with any orchestra,
where Strauss could have known him when conducting there. How could
Strauss have traveled to a country, which has been in war with Germany
Do you know the story behind Strauss promising a horn concerto to Prof.Suttner?
Answer: Yes, I know it from the
late Josef Suttner (March 18th,1881 Prague -
So the concert was completed within a
short period of time, Strauss implementing the technical skill showed to
him by Josef Suttner, who had the nickname "clarinetist on the horn".
Why did Richard Strauss think that Salzburg would be a better place for the premiere? Did it have anything to do with the war?
Knowing about Salzburgs importance as a
musical city with the special summer
Josef Suttner was a bit disappointed,
that he did not get the premiere, but he was 62 then and had to give way
to the younger Freiberg, 35 then. By the way,
Muscles are not everything, one has to use ones brain also ! ....
Freiberg played the concerto once again 1958 in the Musikvereinssaal
Who were the early performers of this concerto ?
Answer: There were very few
performers in the first years after the premiere.
His biography, written by Stephan
Pettit, says, that this was the second public
Domenico Ceccarossi did it on March 25th, 1950 in Rome.
I am proud to state, that I myself belong also to this hand full
of early performers, as I did it in a school concert 1962 & in a public
concert with the Bruckner Orchestra in Linz in Sept.1964 (playing
single F Viennese Horn), conducted by the late Kurt Woess & have
done it many times since, even as premieres in several countries &
doing it even still now.
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© 2000 by Prof.Hans Pizka 23.04.2003