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Richard Strauss


Considered by many to be the last of the great romanticists, the thoroughly German Richard Strauss wrote in a style that early in his career was progressive and explorative, but during and after the World Wars came to be considered old-fashioned (a belief likely due to humanity's loss of innocence). As a youth, Strauss' hidden infatuation with Wagner later found full expression in his penchant for enormity and power. His Alpine Symphony, for example, requires a full 150 players for its portrayal of the Alps' heavy storms full of winds and snow. Humor is often present, as evidenced in his opera Feuersnot and his popular tone poem about a youth whose goofy antics hilariously lead to his untimely death, Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche -- a work seen today opening many a concert program. Some of his music has even found its way into the collective consciousness of the masses: Thus Spake Zarathustra has, in recent decades, been revitalized by Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
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