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Subject: Re: Strauss Operas
From: Calvin M Goodwin <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Calvin M Goodwin <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 1 Dec 2008 14:05:09 -0600
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Greetings, Zeke and All! 

And welcome to Strauss Central. 

There are longueurs in a number of Strauss' operas. Rosenkavalier is
only the most obvious example. 
There is also an element of textural complexity which can make the music
at first seem overwhelming or difficult to follow. 
My own experience has been that increased familiarity has revealed
substance even within the seeming longueurs and direction amidst the
complexity. 

The first time I heard Aegyptische Helena was at Philharmonic Hall (as
it was then) in NYC c. 1967. I could not make much out of it beyond the
obvious 'sweet-spots' such as 'Zweite Brautnacht.' 
Even years later a few more hearings did little to unlock Act II for me.
Now, in the wake of the more frequent revivals of the last decade, I
find much more real and appealing music there.

All this of course in predicated on the principle that you're willing to
take the trouble. To my mind, people are perfectly free (I hope!) to
listen to whatever enriches them. If they choose to grapple with less
immediately gratifying pieces, that's up to them. I don't begrudge the
people who are moved by Wozzeck - I'm just not one of them. But Strauus
is my thing and I'm happy to grapple with his challenges because I have
found the rewards to be significant. . 
Whatever you listen to, I hope that it will enrich your life as only
music can do. 
C M Goodwin

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