“Metamorphosen” retains its emotional, elysian power. – Tim Veater
“Metamorphosen” retains its emotional, elysian power. A fitting memorial to those who past or present suffer from war. Tim Veater.
Richard Strauss (11 June 1864 – 8 September 1949) the great composer, was born one hundred and fifty years ago. After witnessing the destruction of European civilization, and particularly the beautiful cities of Dresden and Munich, with its inhabitants, in the madness that was the “Second World War”, he wrote a piece of music he entitled “Metamorphosen”. He subtitled it without explanation, “In memoriam.” Scholars have debated what he really meant by this, without resolving the issue. It was his last work until the sublime “Four Last Songs”, composed only months before his demise.
The piece is written for ten violins, five violas and cellos and three double-basses in twenty-three separate string parts. It has three seamless sections (slow, fast, slow), but this superficial and mechanistic description does nothing to fathom its, or Strauss’, emotional depths.
It stands as a memorial to all those lost in conflict – the very antithesis of civilization – and those currently subject to its ravages and terrors, as are the inhabitants of Mosul, Iraq even as we speak.
Fresh from the self-congratulatory D-Day celebrations, whilst conveniently ignoring the unmitigated disaster that is Iraq and the Middle East, largely created by the overt and covert actions of America and Britain over the last decade, “Metamorphosen” retains its emotional, elysian power and well worth the twenty-five minutes it takes to wash over the senses.