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Published on Jun 21, 2012 One of the all-time greatest recordings of this piece,

performed by the San Francisco Symphony with Herbert Blomstedt conducting.

 

1. Nacht (Night) 0:00

2. Sonnenaufgang (Sunrise)

3:26 3. Der Anstieg (The ascent) 4:59

4. Eintritt in den Wald (Entering the forest) 7:08

5. Wanderung neben dem Bache (Wandering by the brook) 8:49

6. Am Wasserfall (By the waterfall) 13:32

7. Erscheinung (Apparition) 13:46

8. Auf blumige Wiesen (Flowery meadows) 14:30

9. Auf der Alm (In the mountain pasture) 15:24

10. Durch Dickicht und Gestrüpp auf Irrwegen (On the wrong track through thickets and undergrowth) 17:46

11. Auf dem Gletscher (On the glacier) 19:09

12. Gefahrvolle Augenblicke (Precarious moments) 20:20

13. Auf dem Gipfel (On the summit) 21:40

14. Vision 26:45

15. Nebel steigen auf (Rising mists) 30:15

16. Die Sonne verdüstert sich allmählich (The sun gradually dims) 30:33

17. Elegie (Elegy) 31:28

18. Stille vor dem Sturm (Calm before the storm) 33:31

19. Gewitter und Sturm, Abstieg (Thunderstorm, descent) 36:35

20. Sonnenuntergang (Sunset) 40:21

21. Ausklang (Epilogue) 43:11

22. Nacht (Night) 49:52

 

Strauss's An Alpine Symphony was completed in 1915,

eleven years after the completion of its immediate predecessor

in the genre of the tone poem, Symphonia Domestica.

In 1911 Strauss wrote that he was "torturing [himself] with a symphony –

a job that, when all's said and done, amuses me even less than chasing cockroaches".

One point of influence comes from Strauss's love of nature.

As a boy, Strauss experienced an Alpine adventure similar

to the one described in his An Alpine Symphony:

he and a group of climbers lost their way heading up a mountain

and were caught in a storm and soaked on the way down.

Strauss loved the mountains so much that in 1908

he built a home in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, that boasted stunning views of the Alps.

 

This interest in nature can also point to Strauss's followings of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

The original drafts of An Alpine Symphony began in 1899.

It was to be written in memory of the Swiss painter, Karl Stauffer-Bern,

and the work was originally titled Künstlertragödie (Tragedy of an Artist).

This fell by the wayside, but Strauss began a new four-movement work called Die Alpen (The Alps)

in which he used parts of the original 1899 draft.

The first movement of Die Alpen evolved into the core of An Alpine Symphony.

Sketches were made, but Strauss eventually left the work unfinished.

Years later, upon the death of his good friend Gustav Mahler in 1911,

Strauss decided to revisit the work.

In his journal the day after he learned of Mahler's death,

Strauss wrote:

 

The death of this aspiring, idealistic, energetic artist [is] a grave loss ...

Mahler, the Jew, could achieve elevation in Christianity.

As an old man the hero Wagner returned to it under the influence of Schopenhauer.

It is clear to me that the German nation will achieve new creative energy

only by liberating itself from Christianity ...

I shall call my alpine symphony: Der Antichrist,

since it represents: moral purification through one's own strength, liberation through work,

worship of eternal, magnificent nature. 

The resulting draft of the work was to be a two-part work titled Der Antichrist:

Eine Alpensinfonie; however, Strauss never finished the second part. Instead,

he dropped the first half of the title (named after an essay by Nietzsche written in 1888)

and called his single-movement work simply An Alpine Symphony.

After so many years of intermittent composition,

once Strauss began work on the piece in earnest the progress was quick.

Strauss even went so far as to remark that he composed An Alpine Symphony

"just as a cow gives milk".

 

Orchestration for the work began on November 1, 1914

and was completed by the composer only three months later.

 In reference to this, his final purely symphonic work,

Strauss famously commented at the dress rehearsal for An Alpine Symphony's premiere

that at last he had learned to orchestrate.

The entire work was finished on February 8, 1915.[13]

The score was dedicated "in profound gratitude

" to Count Nicolaus Seebach, director of the Royal Opera in Dresden,

where four of the six operas Strauss had written by that time had been premiered.

 


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