Documentary

Michael Tilson Thomas rehearses and conducts Strauss's Ein Heldenleben

Introduction, Rehearsal, and Performance

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With Ein Heldenleben, completed in 1898, a year after Don Quixote, and first performed in Frankfurt under the composer's baton in March 1899, Strauss brought to an end his decade-long exploration of the tone poem. In it, he deployed his largest orchestra to date, with quadruple woodwind, eight horns, trumpets on-stage and off, three trombones, tubas, an array of drums and other percussion, two harps and strings. With all these instruments on the stage of the Barbican concert hall, the challenge for the programme-makers was to find space for the cameras to be able to give an overview of the vast instrumental forces, and at the same time enter the orchestra to see the details of Strauss's writing in action.

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