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PC 0024
STRAUSS, R.: Tod und Verklarung / Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streich (Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, Bernard)

STRAUSS, R.: Tod und Verklarung / Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streich (Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, Bernard)

The Classical Shop
release date: February 2013

Originally recorded in 2012


Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

Bernard, David

David Bernard


Record Label
Park Avenue


Orchestral & Concertos


Total Time - 41:00
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STRAUSS, R.: Tod und Verklarung / Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streich (Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, Bernard)

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Tod und Verklarung (Death and Transfiguration), Op. 24, TrV 158


Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks), Op. 28, TrV 171

 David Bernard Conductor
 Bernard, David

The tone-poem Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration) was completed in 1889 and first performed at a music festival in Eisenach under the composer’s direction. The work, a remarkable evocation of a deathbed scene, is in three sections, a slow introduction leading to a central section in sonata-form, followed by a conclusion. It exemplifies remarkably enough the practice of thematic transformation advocated by Liszt, the original theme built, for the most part, on the descending notes of the scale. It is this theme which is used to introduce the dying memories of the protagonist, his childhood, his youth, his maturity and his struggle against death and final transfiguration. Strauss was to use this transformed theme again in his autobiographical symphonic poem Ein Heldenleben, ten years later, and in the last of his four Last Songs, at the end of his own life, where he employed the same melody in setting the poignant words of Eichendorff: "Wie sind wir wandermüde/Ist dies etwa der Tod?" (How tired we are! Can this, then, be Death?)
The symphonic poem Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks) is based on some of the adventures of the legendary anti-authoritarian Eulenspiegel - Owlglass or Howleglass in the sixteenth century English version of the German publication of 1519. Eulenspiegel, a peasant born allegedly in 1300, here uses an assumed simplicity to deflate authority of every kind, an activity for which he receives a just reward. The orchestral work by Strauss was completed in 1895.
The first episode in the symphonic poem, itself in something of the form of a rondo, is Eulenspiegel’s mad ride through the market, the second Eulenspiegel theme appearing loudly in the strings as the market-women scatter. The opening figure of the theme shows him escaping in seven-league boots and, after a pause, hiding in a mouse-hole. He appears in the guise of a priest, but is seized by foreboding at his own sacrilegious temerity, a solo violin glissando leading him into flirtation. When he is jilted, he reacts in a characteristically impudent way, and then poses impossible problems to a group of pedants, represented here by four bassoons and a bass clarinet, revealing himself and his motives to their discomfiture. There is a street-song, as Till goes on his way, but reflection leads to more outrageous behaviour and to a sentence of death. Till is hanged, with dramatic musical realism, the composer closing the tale with an epilogue that matches the brief introduction with which the story had begun.
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