Understated is certainly not the word for Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life), with Strauss himself in the title role.
Buoyant horns introduce the protagonist, ‘horns being quite the thing to express heroism’, as Strauss wrote to a friend from the mountain resort where he was composing.
A solo violin, alternately tender and capricious, represents his wife, and in a ‘battle’ passage he tussles with his critics. By the end, the hero and his music have found a sense of peace and fulfilment.
RepertoireBrahms: Piano Concerto No.1
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