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Nov 20 Concert to Include Strauss’s Epic “Hero’s Life”

One of the centerpieces of Symphony Orchestra’s November 20th Orchestra Hall concert is Richard Strauss’s epic Ein Heldenleben. The title of the piece translates to “A Hero’s Life” or “A Heroic Life” and the hero at the center is a thinly veiled version of the composer himself. The piece is a tone poem, a large-scale structure that’s free of the rules and regulations of a proper symphony. As orchestras grew in size and sill in the late 19th century, the tone poem was an outlet for new instrumental colors and powerful sound forces.

Richard Strauss with son Franz and wife Pauline de Ahna
Henry Auxenfans

The narrative arc of Strauss’s piece includes vignettes from the hero’s life, including adversaries (depicted by chattering woodwinds thought to represent music critics), battles, peaceful times, and retirement from the world. Strauss’s wife Pauline de Ahna is represented by a tender violin solo, to be performed by Symphony Orchestra co-concertmaster Henry Auxenfans.

Read more about other pieces that will appear on the concert program, including the world premiere of Clarice Assad’s Bohemian Queen performed by Mary Elizabeth Bowden, and three works by contemporary composers that will open the concert. Tickets available now!

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