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On demand: Strauss' Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration)

KonserthusetPlayRecorded at Konserthuset Stockholm: Stora Salen, Stockholm, Sweden

Richard Strauss’ majestic symphonic poem, Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration) is the story of the death of an artist. 

Strauss himself is the obvious prominent figure in this symphonic poem, with a depiction of heroic destiny. When musical romanticism was at its zenith, in the late 1890s, Strauss dressed his enormous emotions in magnificent orchestral splendour like no one else. 

The story was written down in poetic form by the composer’s friend Alexander Ritter and was later inserted into the score as an introduction. Ritter’s poem portrays a sick and lonely man who struggles with death and recalls experiences from the life he has lived. The slow introduction describes a sickbed; the second movement depicts a feverish struggle with death; the third movement is the analysis of a life, before the enhanced clarity of the final movement brings ultimate redemption.

Watch this powerful piece performed the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra led by Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo.

Filmed in January 2015.

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