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English Goethe Society Lecture

Speaker: Mark Austin (Conductor and Independent Scholar)

Throughout his life an admirer of Goethe, Richard Strauss re-read the complete Propyläenausgabe in 1944 while Germany was ravaged by war. One of the few works he composed in this period was Metamorphosen, a study for 23 solo strings, usually considered an elegy for Germanic culture with its quotation from Beethoven’s Eroica inscribed 'In Memoriam'. The discovery of Strauss's musical setting of a short Xenion by Goethe, ‘Niemand wird sich selber kennen’, amidst sketches of Metamorphosen, has been taken as definitive evidence of the influence of Goethe, but this has not been satisfactorily elucidated, nor related to the listener's experience of the work as a whole. This talk considers Strauss’s relationship with Goethe, investigates the multi-layered significance of the Metamorphosen, and offers a fresh reading of the work as it approaches its 75th anniversary. 

This lecture will be held online. Attendance free; advance online booking essential. Booking closes 17 November 2021.  

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