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(1864 - 1949).  German composer and conductor.  One of the great interpreters of Mozart's operas, he had already established his fame as a conductor by the time his compositions were becoming known.  He conducted frequently in both Berlin and Vienna, and across Europe.

As a composer, he utilized Liszt's orchestral concepts in his 'tone poems', and transferred Wagner's use of leitmotifs into his symphonic works.  He was considered the greatest German opera composer since Wagner.  The subject matter of his operas "Salome" and "Elektra" initially horrified audiences, but ensured their durability in the repertoire.

Any list of his most successful operas would certainly include his materpiece, "Der Rosenkavalier".  His tone poems Don Juan, Death and Trasfiguration, Don Quixote, Ein Heldenleben, and Til Eulenspiegels Merry Pranks, mark the culmination of programmatic orchestral music.  The opening 'sunrise' of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" has been used repeatedly in films and videos, though it can only be fully appreciated in hearing the entire work.

His early Horn Concerto no 1 (written for his father) and his final song cycle "Four Last Songs" remain perennial favorites.
This biography was most recently edited by...
steven - 22 Sep 2009
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