Richard Strauss

Metamorphosen, study for 23 solo strings, o.Op. 142 (TrV 290, AV 142)

    Description by Roy Brewer

    Toward the end of his life, Richard Strauss underwent a profound aesthetic change that resulted in some of the composer's most intensely personal and philosophical music. Among the most striking of these works from Strauss' final decade is Metamorphosen (1945), written in an atmosphere of devastation following World War II.

    As a meditation on the bombing of Dresden (which destroyed the city and killed 130,000 of its inhabitants), Metamorphosen represents a significant departure from the more exuberant of Strauss' tone poems -- Til Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Don Juan, Don Quixote -- by that time a half-century old. In contrast to the vivid portraiture of those works, Metamorphosen is wholly unrepresentational, a tragic, pessimistic reflection on a more intimate level than any of Strauss' other music.

    The work unfolds in a single, long movement. Strauss sustains and develops a series of recurring, interrelated motives that, as the title indicates, are linked by their transformation into new material rather than -- as in conventional variations -- a common thematic identity. The work includes several direct references to the funeral march in the second movement of Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony; here they sound entirely appropriate and natural within the broader structure, underlying rather than emphasizing the somber nature of the work as a whole.

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2021
    Champs Hill Records
    CHRCD 155
    2021
    SWR Klassik
    SWR 19426CD
    2019
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 15016
    2018
    Passacaille
    PAS 1050
    2018
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 18084
    2017
    Linn Records
    CKD 538
    2017
    Rubicon
    RCD 1009
    2017
    SWR Music
    SWR 19021 CD
    2016
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4795805
    2014
    Phaia Music
    PHU 041
    2014
    Warner Classics
    2564633618
    2014
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4792686
    2014
    Oehms Classics
    OC 1802
    2014
    Gramola
    GRAM 99041
    2013
    Marsyas
    MAR 18082
    2012
    ECM / Universal Music Group
    2012
    Deutsche Grammophon
    002894770055
    2012
    MDG / Zebralution
    2012
    Naxos
    8571219
    2012
    Virgin Classics / Warner Classics
    5099923227
    2012
    Farao Classics
    B 108061
    2012
    Paladino Music
    PMR 0010
    2012
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 12053
    2011
    Decca
    478 275-9
    2011
    Decca
    4782759
    2011
    ECM
    219094
    2011
    ECM
    4764509
    2011
    Various Artists
    Brilliant Classics
    9249
    2011
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4779814
    2011
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2011
    Avie
    AV2172
    2010
    NSS Music
    10
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    423 888-2GGA
    2010
    Decca
    2009
    Document / Membran
    231754
    2009
    Dal Segno
    050
    2009
    Naxos
    8 570895
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Various Artists
    Denon Records
    2009
    Documents / Membran
    232540
    2008
    Gall (formerly Gallo)
    1151
    2008
    EMI Classics
    16091
    2008
    Corona Classic Collection
    0000882CCC
    2008
    EMI Classics
    12963
    2008
    EMI Classics
    2008
    EMI Classics
    3800082
    2008
    Musicaphon
    56901
    2008
    EMI Music Distribution
    3458262
    2008
    Deutsche Grammophon / Eloquence
    4800478
    2008
    Virgin Classics
    22130
    2008
    Erato
    2008
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099951203
    2008
    ABC Classics
    4766811
    2007
    EMI Classics
    2007
    EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics
    0946380003
    2007
    Naïve
    AMB 110
    2007
    Hyperion
    67574
    2006
    Edel Classics
    2612
    2006
    EMI Music Distribution
    45831
    2006
    EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics
    0946371502
    2006
    Arte Nova
    984950
    2005
    Preiser Records
    90499
    2005
    Berlin Classics
    3023
    2005
    Cascavelle
    6172
    2005
    Real Sound (RS)
    71
    2005
    EMI Music Distribution
    76877
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    Virgin Classics
    2005
    Brilliant
    7591
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2004
    Music & Arts
    1146
    2004
    Chandos Collect / Chandos
    6681
    2004
    Laserlight / Delta Distribution
    16409
    2004
    Arte Nova
    95999
    2004
    Chandos
    10218
    2003
    Carus
    83198
    2003
    Various Artists
    Laserlight / Delta Distribution
    40044
    2003
    Arte Nova Classics
    74321984952
    2003
    Nimbus
    5151
    2003
    ASV
    6195
    2003
    Avie
    0017
    2002
    History
    205180
    2002
    Various Artists
    Decca
    470 954
    2002
    Brilliant
    6366
    2002
    Calliope
    9298
    2001
    History
    203133
    2001
    Virgin
    61324
    2001
    Kleos Classics
    5111
    2001
    CBC Records
    5034
    2001
    Classica d'Oro
    1040
    2000
    EMI Classics
    66390
    2000
    Arkadia
    78592
    2000
    Virgin
    561766-2
    2000
    Chandos
    7133
    2000
    Urania
    151
    1999
    Deutsche Grammophon
    447398
    1999
    EMI Music Distribution
    67039
    1999
    Chandos
    CHAN9708
    1999
    Angel Records
    73614
    1999
    Claves
    509504
    1999
    Claves
    9412
    1999
    Nimbus
    5614
    1998
    EMI Music Distribution
    556580
    1998
    Various Artists
    Denon Records
    17011
    1998
    Delos
    DE3707
    1996
    Deutsche Grammophon
    447744
    1996
    Chandos
    7039
    1996
    Laserlight
    24418
    1996
    Deutsche Grammophon
    447422
    1995
    Ambassador
    1009
    1995
    DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
    77343
    1995
    Laserlight
    14281
    1994
    London
    436 596-2DH
    1994
    Delos
    3121
    1992
    EMI Music Distribution
    64350
    1989
    CBS Records
    44702
    1983
    Deutsche Grammophon
    410892
    Vox
    5136
    Denon Records
    79442
    Analekta
    27201/2
    Music & Arts
    719
    Memoir
    448
    History
    205185
    History
    203137
    MDG
    3071142
    Virgin
    61922
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4238882
    Capriccio Records
    10231
    Brilliant
    7591/7
    Denon Records
    73801
    Virgin
    59538
    Deutsche Grammophon
    435883
    Music & Arts
    4719
    Arlecchino
    111