Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Septet version of Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen: Spotlight on the Oculi Ensemble.



In 1990 a short score of Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen was discovered in Switzerland, which suggested that Strauss had originally thought of the work as for string septet. The work was originally a commission from Paul Sacher, the founder and director of the Basler Kammerorchester and Collegium Musicum Zürich, to whom Strauss dedicated. In fact when Sacher commissioned the work he asked for a suite for strings, and Strauss mentioned he was working 'on an Adagio for some eleven solo strings that will probably develop into an Allegro as I can’t remain very long at the Brucknerian snail’s pace'. Strauss completed the short score, for seven strings, in March 1945 and immediately began expanding the work to the 23 solo strings. In 1994, Rudolf Leopold produced an edition of the septet version based both Strauss' short score and the final version of the work.

This video is taken from the Oculi Ensemble's recent concert at LSO St Luke's, and you can see works by Mozart and Brahms from the same concert on the ensemble's YouTube channel. I chatted to the ensemble's Jon Thorne (viola) in July, see my article.

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