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četvrtak, 12.01.2017 10:01

Strauss and his heroines

Divorce! After six years of marriage, the choleric and chronically jealous general’s daughter Pauline has had enough of Richard Strauss. Pauline had always known it: her husband, who at 36 is celebrated as the most important living German composer across the globe, is cheating on her. His congeniality and moral uprightness is just a mask! Are his inspirations for the erotic escapades which are the basis of several of his tone poems and songs based on the illicit love affairs of the artist? The film ‘Richard Strauss and his Heroines’ goes on an exciting journey discovering the women in Strauss’ life. The primary focus is Strauss’ relationship to Pauline, his wife for over 55 years up to his death. She’s always appeared as a harridan who often embarrassed her husband in public, obscuring the fact that Strauss composed his finest songs at the beginning and the end of his relationship for the trained singer who gave up her career for him and covered his back for the rest of his life. What was it that made the broken old man, who experienced the most varied of epochs in German history – from the Empire to the Nazi dictatorship to the post-war period – to write in 1948, “We have through sorrow and joy gone hand in hand”? This final song, “At Sunset”, is one of the most moving declarations of love in the history of music. ‘Richard Strauss and his Heroines’ is the first filmed search for clues about the unforgettable heroines Strauss created. It is both the story of a turbulent and moving love story of two people who were prepared to walk through fire for each other. Great Strauss singers Brigitte Fassbaender, Reneé Fleming, Dame Gwyneth Jones and Christa Ludwig report on their famous Strauss roles, and an interview with Strauss' last surviving grandchild in Garmisch sheds more light on his family life. The conductor Franz Welser-Möst explains the secret of Strauss’ genius at instrumentation, as Strauss expert Christoph Wagner-Trenckwitz leads us through the film.

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