Richard Strauss was a founder of the Salzburg Festival, along with Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Max Reinhardt, and some others. He gets plenty of play at the festival, Strauss does. But then, he gets plenty of play everywhere—and should.

One morning, a concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra began with Strauss’s suite Der Bürger als Edelmann, which we know in English as Le Bourgeois gentilhomme. (That’s a funny sentence, isn’t it?) This score is nimble, goofy, charming, and Viennesey. The vpo should be to the manner born. And they played it fairly well, although I would have appreciated even more Vienneseyness. The music was a little dry. Conducting was Riccardo Muti, the veteran Italian. He was a neat manager of the suite, and he navigated Strauss’s tricky rhythms with...

 
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