Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks), Op. 28
Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks (Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche in German) is a symphonic poem by Richard Strauss composed between 1894 and 1895. The work draws inspiration from a German folklore character, a kind of naughty sprite or trickster. In fact, the two main melodic lines tell the story of his daring adventures: the first one, played by the horn, follows a theme that reaches a peak, and then falls, ending with three long notes that become progressively lower. Introduced by the clarinet, the second theme is much more lively and playful, which of course suggests the idea of Till’s pranks. Chronologically situated between Death and Transfiguration and Also Sprach Zarathoustra, this symphonic poem precedes Strauss’ major operas, and yet Till Eulenspiegels already presents all the musical resources of a composer destined to a great success.
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Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel tells the story of Till on a dynamic and passionate musical journey: a reflection of this naughty sprite’s personality. On horseback, Till reaches a market square, where he starts to play tricks on the villagers, flirting with the young ladies and making a fool of the academics and the clergy, each depicted by an instrument of the orchestra. Multiple complaints are made and Till is condemned to death for blasphemy. A funeral march takes place, and the hero of Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel begs the authorities for mercy. All seems lost as death rapidly approaches… But the musical theme from the beginning gradually starts to resonate and Till plays his trump card! It takes a lot more than that to bring him down, and the sprite gets on his horse and rides away! You have been deceived by Till! Set off on an adventure together with this naughty sprite: on medici.tv, you can find some of the best interpretations of Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel, whenever you are, wherever you want.