Orchestral color in Richard Strauss’s Lieder: enhancing performance choices of all of Strauss’s Lieder through a study of his orchestrated Lieder

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Deborah Lee Hollis (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
James Douglass

Abstract: Strauss was a major composer of Lieder, with more than 200 published songs composed between 1870 and 1948, many of which belong to the standard song repertoire. Strauss's lieder are distinctive because they reflect his simultaneous preoccupation with composing tone poems and operas. The vocal lines are declamatory, dramatic, and lyrical, while the accompaniments are richly textured. Strauss learned the craft of orchestration through studying scores of the masters, playing in orchestras, conducting, and through exposure to prominent composers. Equally important was his affiliation with leading figures of the New German School including Liszt, Wagner, and Berlioz. Berlioz used the expressive characteristics of the orchestral instruments as the primary inspiration for his compositions. Like Berlioz, Strauss used tone color as a crucial element that gave expression to poetic ideas in his symphonic works, operas, and songs. Strauss's approach to orchestration gives insight into ways that a collaborative pianist may use tone color to enhance renderings of all of the composer's lieder. In this study, I use my own analysis of Strauss's orchestrations of his songs, as well as Strauss's statements in his revision of Berlioz's Treatise on Instrumentation, to show how his orchestrations bring out important aspects of the songs, clarifying and enriching their meaning. I further show how collaborative pianists can emulate these orchestral effects at the keyboard using specific techniques of touch, pedal, and phrasing, thereby rendering each song richer and more meaningful. Finally, I use Strauss's songs that have never been orchestrated to show how collaborative pianists can apply their own orchestral imaginations to any song, enhancing the melody, harmony, and texture of the piano accompaniment to create an expressive and musically satisfying performance.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Berlioz, Color, Lieder, Orchestration, Performance, Strauss
Strauss, Richard, $d 1864-1949.
Instrumentation and orchestration.

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