Richard Strauss's Elektra


Elektra was the fourth of fifteen operas by Strauss and opened his successful partnership with the librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Gilliam's study of this major work examines its musical-historical context and also provides a detailed analysis of some of its musical features. He establishes a chronology of the evolution of the opera and places it in the larger framework of German opera of the time. His detailed examination of the sketchbooks enables him to offer fresh insight into Strauss's use of motifs and overall tonal structure. In so doing he shows how the work's arresting dissonance and chromaticism have hidden its similarities to his later, seemingly more tonally conservative opera, Der Rosenkavalier: not only does Strauss exploit in both a variety of musical styles to express irony, parody, and other emotions, but both are in fact thoroughly tonal.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Lewis Lockwood
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Oxford
Publication year:
  • 1996


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