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Serenade (Strauss)

From Wind Repertory Project
Richard Strauss

Richard Strauss (arr. Frederick Fennell)


This work bears the designation Opus 7.


General Info

Year: 1881 / 1986
Duration: c. 9:40
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Edwin F. Kalmus and Co, Inc
Cost: Parts Only - $30.00   |   Score Only - $15.00


Instrumentation

Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon
Bb Clarinet I-II
BBb Contrabass Clarinet
Horn in Eb I-II
Horn in Bb Basso I-II
String Bass


Errata

In the Fennell Editions Score SWO-224, in mm. 134, 4th beat, Bassoon I: G natural should be G flat.


Program Notes

Strauss's Serenade in E-flat, op. 7 echoes the style of a conventional Classical-era chamber piece. As such, players must be prepared to interpret styles and articulations that may not be notated. Audiences will find this work quite accessible, as the orchestration and melodic structures exhibit regularity and Classical predictability. Harmonic progressions faintly suggest the dissonant, chromatic style of [Strauss'] later works [he wrote the Serenade when he was 17]. While less experienced players may acquire a general understanding of chamber performance techniques from this piece, advanced musicians have multiple opportunities to embrace the nuances and intimate musical relationships of this fine work.

- Notes from Great Music for Wind Band


Richard Strauss’s father, Franz, was the principal horn player of the Munich Court Orchestra and was recognized as Germany’s leading virtuoso of the instrument. His mother came from the prominent brewing family of Pschorr. Although he enjoyed a conventional education as a boy, Strauss still devoted most of his time and energy to music. When he left school in 1882, he had already composed more than 140 works. Through his father’s connections, Strauss met the leading musicians of the day, including the conductor Hans von Bulow, who commissioned Strauss’s Suite for 13 Winds in B flat, Op. 4, for the Meiningen Orchestra and invited Strauss to conduct the work’s first performance in Munich in November 1884. Following this successful conducting debut, von Bulow offered Strauss the post of assistant conductor at Meiningen. Had the young Strauss not written his first wind serenade (Op. 7) three years earlier, the success of his Op. 4 (errantly listed before Op. 7 due to its publication date) would likely have been in question, and his career most certainly could have developed along a different path.

Composed in 1881, exactly 100 years after Mozart’s Serenade No. 11 in E flat, the Op. 7 Serenade was, in Strauss’s own words, “nothing more than the respectable work of a music student.” Strauss scored the work for pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons, along with four horns and contrabassoon (or tuba). Upon hearing a performance of the work in 1900, he would remark, “double woodwinds are impossible against four horns.”

The Serenade premiered in Dresden on November 27, 1882, and has aptly been explained as representing the young Strauss’s filtering and distillation of the influences of Mozart and Mendelssohn into something remarkably original. The contour of the melodies easily identifies the seventeen-year-old as the future composer of works filled with moments of the beautiful lyricism found in Der Rosenkavalier and, especially, his late opera Daphne with its rich wind scoring.

Strauss moves from calm waters one moment to surges of great intensity in the next, and his choice of orchestration throughout the Serenade embodies a depth rarely exhibited by a 17-year-old composer. One particularly notable choice can be found in the recapitulation, which begins with perhaps the most evocatively beautiful moment in the Serenade as the horns play the first theme with great warmth, an eight-bar phrase which surely must have put a smile on his father Franz’s face.

- Program Note by Orange County Wind Symphony concert program, 12 April 2015


This serenade (not Strauss’s first -- there also exists a Serenade in G major for orchestra from his thirteenth year, still in manuscript) dates from 1881 or 1882. Franz Wüllner, who was to conduct the premiere of many Later Strauss orchestral works, led the first performance in Dresden on November 27,1882. It was this work that brought Strauss to the attention of the famous conductor Hans von Bülow, who promptly pulled strings in high places to further the career of this promising young talent.

Strauss, still writing under the influence of classically-oriented German masters like Mendelssohn and Brahms, scored the Serenade for a wind ensemble very similar to that of Mozart’s great Serenade for Thirteen Winds, K. 361: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns and a contrabassoon for added richness and bass support. (Mozart’s Serenade requires basset horns in place of flutes and a double bass instead of contrabassoon.) A peculiarity of Strauss’s score is the totally unnecessary addition of a double bass for the last two bars only, merely to re-enforce the tonic pedal.

The ten-minute, single-movement Serenade is in traditional sonata form. Though the formal design may be classical, the nature of the melodic material points the way to the exuberant, wide-ranging themes imbued with passion and soaring lyricism that Strauss would employ in the years just ahead.

- Program Note by Robert Markow


Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Western Illinois University (Macomb) Wind Ensemble (Andrey Cruz, conductor) – 5 December 2019
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Herbert J. Payung, conductor) – 5 December 2019
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) – 22 November 2019
  • New England Conservatory (Boston, Mass.) Wind Ensemble (Charles Peltz, conductor) – 10 October 2019
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 9 June 2019
  • Treasure Coast Wind Ensemble (Vero Beach, Fla.) (Colbert Page Howell, conductor) – 7 June 2019
  • Baldwin-Wallace College (Berea, Ohio) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Brendan Caldwell, conductor) – 30 November 2018
  • Ohio University (Athens) Wind Symphony (Brooke Woods, conductor) – 4 November 2018
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Symphonic Band (Eric M. Smedley, conductor) – 23 October 2018
  • Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond) Wind Ensemble (Andrew J. Putnam, conductor) – 10 October 2018
  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Wind Ensemble (John Stanley Ross, conductor) – 4 October 2018
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Stephen G. Peterson, conductor) – 23 September 2018
  • Youngstown (Ohio) State University Wind Ensemble (D.J. Colella, conductor) – 25 April 2018
  • Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.) Concert Band (Joseph Higgins, conductor) – 24 April 2018
  • Boston (Mass.) University Wind Ensemble (David Martins, conductor) – 10 April 2018
  • Eastman Wind Orchestra (Rochester, N.Y.) (Mark Powell, conductor) – 31 January 2018
  • San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Wind Orchestra (Jennifer Martin, conductor) – 17 December 2017
  • University of Delaware Wind Ensemble (Lauren Reynolds, conductor) – 6 December 2017
  • University of Massachusetts (Amherst) Wind Ensemble (Matthew Sypek, conductor) – 4 December 2017
  • University of Colorado Boulder Wind Symphony (Donald J. McKinney, conductor) – 16 November 2017


Works for Winds by this Composer


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