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Compact Discoveries 58: Richard Strauss, Home-Breaker

From: Fred Flaxman
Series: Compact Discoveries
Length: 58:00

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The music of R. Strauss for those who can't stand R. Strauss. Read the full description.

Cdslogo2inch_small Producer/guide Fred Flaxman presents the music of Richard Strauss for people who don't like the music of Richard Strauss, like his wife. The selections include early piano pieces played by Glenn Gould and the orchestral waltzes from "Der Rosenkavalier." Complete script with playlist available here and at www.compactdiscoveries.com.

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Piece Description

Producer/guide Fred Flaxman presents the music of Richard Strauss for people who don't like the music of Richard Strauss, like his wife. The selections include early piano pieces played by Glenn Gould and the orchestral waltzes from "Der Rosenkavalier." Complete script with playlist available here and at www.compactdiscoveries.com.

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Review of Compact Discoveries 58: Richard Strauss, Home-Breaker

Fred Flaxman doesn't need another review from me. License by license, "Compact Discoveries" is the most popular series on public radio. Number 58 has already been licensed by three stations, so why bother writing a review of a piece by the man whose track record proves he's Numero Uno?

Between you and me -- and please don't tell Fred this -- I keep coming back to his pieces, many of them recorded years ago and "reversioned." I keep playing them as background music while I'm tapping away at my keyboard or reading. Please don't tell Fred how his light classical music has served me as a kind of lordly Muzak; I mean this in the best sense. Sometimes listening to a late Beethoven quartet, like the C-sharp minor (Op. 131), is too intense when all you want to do is get through another chapter of Ann Patchett's "Run."

What makes "Richard Strauss, Home-Breaker" impossible to avoid reviewing is its combination of light-heartedness and intensity. Unlike the music by his near-namesake, the Waltz King, Johann Strauss, Richard's music rollicks with the rhythms and spirit of die schone Wien. I can close my eyes, listening to Richard's "Waltzes from Der Rosenkavalier," and imagine the sounds and smells of Vienna nearly a hundred years ago. These waltzes have a depth and passion not quite as abundant in Johann's "Tales from the Vienna Woods."

It's hard to believe that Richard's wife disliked certain soaring melodies and outside-the-envelope harmonies penned by her composer hubby. Apparently, neither is Mrs. Flaxman, Fred's spouse of many years, overly fond of Strauss's orchestral doozies. Still, Fred's compilation of "Home-Breaker" compositions creates a tantalizing hook to lure listeners into his parlor. A master impresario, Fred Flaxman is the cleverest, most friendly host you could hope for.

Please don't tell him I said this. I wouldn't want my praise to go to his head.

Broadcast History

This program was nationally distributed by the WFMT Radio Network in 2004. Its re-editing and re-release in 2007 was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the PRX Reversioning Project.

Transcript

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Timing and Cues

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Additional Files

Related Website

http://www.compactdiscoveries.com