Strauss began his opera Der Rosenkavalier, a “comedy for music” on a libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, in 1909 and completed it on September 26, 1910.
The suite begins with the bold, erotic horn music , Der Rosenkavalier’s calling card. The following music introduces the Marschallin, swooning over her young lover Octavian, and then, in the rapturous Presentation of the Rose scene, an oboe and horn duet depicts the burgeoning love between Octavian and Sophie. We next meet Baron Ochs, promising a chambermaid, against all evidence, that “with me no night is too long,” in the most famous of the opera’s waltzes. The suite shifts to the celebrated trio for the Marschallin, Octavian, and Sophie, reflecting on love from their different points of view, followed by the final duet of Octavian and Sophie as they leave. This is one of opera’s most touching and glorious scenes, and for sheer melodic splendor and high-calorie harmonic richness, it’s unsurpassed.
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