Strauss and Mahler: Musical contemporaries

Richard Strauss died on September 8, 1949. He knew Gustav Mahler well, as both were conductors and composers during the late 1800’s in Germany and in Austria. They were supportive of each other. They performed the other’s works at concerts. Yet these two lives could not have been more different.


Strauss composed a great variety of music: His Operas became hugely popular and are performed to this day. He also composed songs for soprano with either orchestral or piano accompaniment. While he only composed one symphony (Alpensymphonie), he composed several symphonic poems, as well as works for horn, violin,  and piano.

Mahler was mainly working as an orchestra conductor, and his work on music composition was restricted to the summer months, while he was on vacation.

Mahler was born to a Jewish family, and he suffered from Anti semitism on many occasions during his professional life. Strauss lived through the Second World War, and he was reputed to be a Nazi sympathizer.

Both Mahler and Strauss composed music that is utterly amazing. Strauss wife, Pauline, was a well known singer, and he composed many songs for her.

Mahler died in 1911 at age 50. Richard Strauss died on September 8, 1949 at the age of 85.

Here is one of Strauss’ compositions of which I  am very fond:

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