Tannhäuser is an 1845 opera in three acts and text by Richard Wagner, based on two German legends: Tannhäuser, the legendary medieval German Minnesänger and poet, the tale of the Wartburg Song Contest. The story centers on the struggle between sacred and profane love, redemption through love, a theme running through much of Wagner's mature work. Wagner made a number of revisions of the opera throughout his life and was still unsatisfied with its format when he died; the most significant revision was made for the opera's premiere in Paris in 1861. The opera remains a staple of major opera house repertoire in the 21st century; the libretto of Tannhäuser combines mythological elements characteristic of German Romantische Oper and the medieval setting typical of many French Grand Operas. Wagner brings these two together by constructing a plot involving the 14th century Minnesingers and the myth of Venus and her subterranean realm of Venusberg. Both the historical and the mythological are united in Tannhäuser's personality.
Furthermore, half of the opera takes place in a historical setting, half takes place in the mythological Venusberg. Wagner wove a variety of sources into the opera narrative. According to his autobiography, he was inspired by finding the story in "a Volksbuch about the Venusberg", which he claimed "fell into his hands", although he admits knowing of the story from the Phantasus of Ludwig Tieck and E. T. A. Hoffmann's story, Der Kampf der Sänger. Tieck's tale, which names the hero "Tannenhäuser", tells of the minnesinger-knight's amorous adventures in the Venusberg, his travels to Rome as a Pilgrim, his repudiation by the pope. To this Wagner added material from Hoffmann's story, from Serapions-Brüder, describing a song contest at the Wartburg castle, a castle which featured prominently in Thuringian history. Heinrich Heine had provided Wagner with the inspiration for Der fliegende Holländer and Wagner again drew on Heine for Tannhäuser. In Heine's sardonic essay Elementargeister, there appears a poem about Tannhäuser and the lure of the grotto of Venus, published in 1837 in the third volume of Der Salon.
Other possible sources include Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué's play Der Sängerkrieg auf der Wartburg and Eichendorff's Das Marmorbild. The legend of Tannhäuser, the amorous crusading Franconian knight, that of the song contest on the Wartburg, came from quite separate traditions. Ludwig Bechstein wove together the two legends in the first volume of his collection of Thuringian legends, Der Sagenschatz und die Sagenkreise des Thüringerlandes, the Volksbuch to which Wagner refers to in his autobiography. Wagner knew of the work of another contemporary, Christian Theodor Ludwig Lucas, whose Über den Krieg von Wartburg of 1838 conflated the two legends; this confusion does not fit with the historical timeline of the events in the opera, since the Singer's Contest involving von Ofterdingen is said to have taken place around 1207, while Tannhäuser's poetry appeared much later. The sources used by Wagner therefore reflected a nineteenth century romantic view of the medieval period, with concerns about artistic freedom and the constraints of organised religion typical of the period of Romanticism.
During Wagner's first stay in Paris he read a paper by Ludwig Lucas on the Sängerkrieg which sparked his imagination, encouraged him to return to Germany, which he reached on 7 April 1842. Having crossed the Rhine, the Wagners drove towards Thuringia, saw the early rays of sun striking the Wartburg. Wagner wrote the prose draft of Tannhäuser between June and July 1842 and the libretto in April 1843. Wagner began composing the music during a vacation in Teplitz in the summer of 1843 and completed the full score on 13 April 1845. While composing the music for the Venusberg grotto, Wagner grew so impassioned that he made himself ill. Meanwhile I was much troubled by excitability and rushes of blood to the brain. I imagined I was ill and lay for whole days in bed...." The instrumentation shows signs of borrowing from French operatic style. The score includes parts for on-stage brass. Wagner makes use of the harp, another commonplace of French opera; the first performance was given in the Königliches Hoftheater in Dresden on 19 October 1845.
The composer Ferdinand Hiller, at that time a friend of the composer, assisted in the musical preparations for the production. The part of Elisabeth was sung by Wagner's niece Johanna Wagner. Wagner had intended to premiere the opera on 13 October, Johanna's 19th birthday, but she was ill, so it was postponed by six days. Venus was created by Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient, the title role was taken by Josef Tichatschek; the performance was conducted by the composer. Tannhäuser was not the success that Rienzi
Middle High German
Middle High German is the term for the form of German spoken in the High Middle Ages. It is conventionally dated between 1050 and 1350, developing from Old High German and into Early New High German. High German is defined as those varieties of German. While there is no standard MHG, the prestige of the Hohenstaufen court gave rise in the late 12th century to a supra-regional literary language based on Swabian, an Alemannic dialect; this historical interpretation is complicated by the tendency of modern editions of MHG texts to use normalised spellings based on this variety, which make the written language appear more consistent than is the case in the manuscripts. Scholars are uncertain as to whether the literary language reflected a supra-regional spoken language of the courts. An important development in this period was the Ostsiedlung, the eastward expansion of German settlement beyond the Elbe–Saale line which marked the limit of Old High German; this process started in the 11th century, all the East Central German dialects are a result of this expansion.
"Judeo-German", the precursor of the Yiddish language, sees attestation in the 13th–14th centuries, as a variety of Middle High German written in Hebrew characters. The Middle High German period is dated from 1050 to 1350. An older view puts the boundary with New High German around 1500. There are several phonological criteria which separate MHG from the preceding Old High German period: the weakening of unstressed vowels to ⟨e⟩: OHG taga, MHG tage the full development of Umlaut and its use to mark a number of morphological categories the devoicing of final stops: OHG tag > MHG tac Culturally, the two periods are distinguished by the transition from a predominantly clerical written culture, in which the dominant language was Latin, to one centred on the courts of the great nobles, with German expanding its range of use. The rise of the Hohenstaufen dynasty in Swabia makes the South West the dominant region in both political and cultural terms. Demographically, the MHG period is characterised by a massive rise in population, terminated by the demographic catastrophe of the Black Death.
Along with the rise in population comes a territorial expansion eastwards, which saw German-speaking settlers colonise land under Slav control. Linguistically, the transition to Early New High German is marked by four vowel changes which together produce the phonemic system of modern German, though not all dialects participated in these changes: Diphthongisation of the long high vowels /iː yː uː/ > /aɪ̯ ɔʏ̯ aʊ̯/: MHG hût > NHG Haut Monophthongisation of the high centering diphthongs /iə yə uə/ > /iː yː uː/: MHG huot > NHG Hut lengthening of stressed short vowels in open syllables: MHG sagen /zaɡən/ > NHG sagen /zaːɡən/ The loss of unstressed vowels in many circumstances: MHG vrouwe > NHG Frau The centres of culture in the ENHG period are no longer the courts but the towns. The dialect map of Germany by the end of the Middle High German period was much the same as that at the start of the 20th century, though the boundary with Low German was further south than it now is: With the exception of Thuringian, the East Central German dialects are new dialects resulting from the Ostsiedlung.
Middle High German texts are written in the Latin alphabet. There was no standardised spelling, but modern editions standardise according to a set of conventions established by Karl Lachmann in the 19th century. There are several important features in this standardised orthography which are not characteristics of the original manuscripts: the marking of vowel length is entirely absent from MHG manuscripts; the marking of umlauted vowels is absent or inconsistent in the manuscripts. A curly-tailed z is used in modern handbooks and grammars to indicate the /s/ or /s/-like sound which arose from Germanic /t/ in the High German consonant shift; this character has no counterpart in the original manuscripts, which use ⟨s⟩ or ⟨z⟩ to indicate this sound. The original texts use ⟨i⟩ and ⟨u⟩ for the semi-vowels /j/ and /w/. A particular problem is that many manuscripts are of much date than the works they contain. In addition, there is considerable regional variation in the spellings that appear in the original texts, which modern editions conceal.
The standardised orthography of MHG editions uses the following vowel spellings: Short vowels: ⟨a e i o u⟩ and the umlauted vowels ⟨ä ö ü⟩ Long vowels: ⟨â ê î ô û⟩ and the umlauted vowels ⟨æ œ iu⟩ Closing diphthongs: ⟨ei ou⟩. No such orthographic distinction is made in MHG manuscripts; the standardised orthography of MHG editions uses the following consonant spellings: Stops: ⟨p t k/c/q b d g⟩ Affricates: ⟨pf/ph tz/z⟩ Fricatives: ⟨v f s ȥ sch ch h⟩ Nasals: ⟨m n⟩ Liquids: ⟨l r⟩ Semivowels: ⟨w j⟩ The charts show the vowel and consonant systems of classical MHG. The spellings indicated are the standard spellings
Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry VI, a member of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, was King of Germany from 1190 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1191 until his death. From 1194 he was King of Sicily, he was his consort Beatrix of Burgundy. In 1186 he was married to Constance of Sicily, the posthumous daughter of the Norman king Roger II of Sicily. Henry, still stuck in the Hohenstaufen conflict with the House of Welf, had to enforce the inheritance claims by his wife against her nephew Count Tancred of Lecce. Based on an enormous ransom for the release of King Richard I of England, he conquered Sicily in 1194. Henry was born in autumn 1165 at the Valkhof pfalz of Nijmegen to Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and Beatrix of Burgundy. At the age of four, his father had him elected King of the Romans during the Hoftag in Bamberg at Pentecost 1169, Henry was crowned on 15 August at Aachen Cathedral, he accompanied his father on his Italian campaign of 1174-76 against the Lombard League, whereby he was educated by Godfrey of Viterbo and associated with minnesingers like Friedrich von Hausen, Bligger von Steinach, Bernger von Horheim.
Henry was fluent in Latin and, according to the chronicler Alberic of Trois-Fontaines, was "distinguished by gifts of knowledge, wreathed in flowers of eloquence, learned in canon and Roman law". He was a patron of poets and poetry, he certainly composed the song Kaiser Heinrich, now among the Weingarten Song Manuscripts. According to his rank and with Imperial Eagle, a scroll, he is the first and foremost to be portrayed in the famous Codex Manesse, a 14th-century songbook manuscript featuring 140 reputed poets. In one of those he describes a romance that makes him forget all his earthly power, neither riches nor royal dignity can outweigh his yearning for that lady. Having returned to Germany in 1178, Henry supported his father against insurgent Duke Henry the Lion, he and his younger brother Frederick received the knightly accolade at Mainz in 1184. The emperor had entered into negotiations with King William II of Sicily to betroth his son and heir with William's aunt Constance by 1184. Constance 30-year-old, was said to have been confined in Santissimo Salvatore, Palermo as a nun since childhood to keep celibacy due to a prediction that "her marriage would destroy Sicily", but as William's marriage had remained childless, she was his sole legitimate heir, after the latter's death in November 1189, Henry had the opportunity of adding the Sicilian crown to the imperial one.
He and Constance were married on 27 January 1186 in Milan. In the Hohenstaufen conflict with Pope Urban III, Henry moved to the March of Tuscany, with the aid of his liensman Markward von Annweiler devastated the adjacent territory of the Papal States. Back in Germany, he took the reins of the Empire from his father, who had died while on the Third Crusade in 1190. Henry tried to secure his rule in the Low Countries by elevating Count Baldwin V of Hainaut to a margrave of Namur, at the same time he tried to reach a settlement with rivalling Duke Henry of Brabant. Further difficulties arose when the exiled Welf duke Henry the Lion returned from England and began to subdue large estates in his former Duchy of Saxony. A Hohenstaufen campaign to Saxony had to be abandoned when King Henry received the message of the death of King William II of Sicily on 18 November 1189; the Sicilian vice-chancellor Matthew of Ajello pursued the succession of Count Tancred of Lecce and gained the support of the Roman Curia.
To assert his own rights in the inheritance dispute, Henry supported Tancred's rival Count Roger of Andria and made arrangements for a campaign to Italy. The next year he concluded a peace agreement with Henry the Lion at Fulda and moved farther southwards to Augsburg, where he learned that his father had died on crusade attempting to cross the Saleph River near Seleucia in the Kingdom of Cilicia on 10 June 1190. While he sent an Imperial army to Italy, Henry stayed in Germany to settle the succession of Louis III, Landgrave of Thuringia, who had died on the Third Crusade, he had planned to seize the Thuringian landgraviate as a reverted fief, but Louis' brother Hermann was able to reach his enfeoffment. The next year, the king followed his army across the Alps. In Lodi he negotiated with Eleanor of Aquitaine, widow of King Henry II of England, to break the engagement of her son King Richard with Alys, a daughter of late King Louis VII of France, he hoped to deteriorate English-French relations and to isolate Richard, who had offended him by backing Count Tancred in Sicily.
Eleanor acted cleverly. Henry entered into further negotiations with the Lombard League cities and with Pope Celestine III on his Imperial coronation, ceded Tusculum to the Pope. At Easter Monday on 15 April 1191, in Rome and his consort Constance were crowned Emperor and Empress by Celestine; the crown of Sicily, was harder to gain, as the Sicilian nobility had chosen Count Tancred of Lecce as their king. Henry began his work campaigning in Apulia and besieging Naples, but he encountered resistance when Tancred's liensman Margaritus of Brindisi came to the city's defence, harassed
Reinmar von Hagenau
Reinmar von Hagenau was a German Minnesänger of the late twelfth century, who composed and performed love-songs in Middle High German He was regarded by his contemporaries as the greatest Minnesänger before Walther von der Vogelweide, a view shared by modern scholars.. Although there are uncertainties as to which songs can be reliably attributed to him, a substantial body of his work — over 60 songs — survives, his presentation of courtly love as the unrequited love of a knight for a lady is "the essence of classical Minesang". Nothing is known of Reinmar's life except what can be deduced from the manuscript evidence of songs recorded under his name and from remarks by contemporaries. In the Minnesang manuscripts he is referred to by his forename, Her Reinmar. In the Manesse Codex he is Her Reinmar der Alte, which serves to distinguish him from singers such as Reinmar von Brennenberg, Reinmar der Fiedler or Reinmar von Zweter; the title Her indicates a man of knightly status, but the nature and scope of the surviving œvre indicate a professional singer reliant on patronage.
Unlike Walther, who names many individuals, only one real person is mentioned in any of Reinmar songs: in the song "Si jehent der sumer der sî hie", Reinmar says "What use is a joyful time, since the lord of all joys, lies in the earth." This is taken to refer to Leopold V, Duke of Austria, who died in the winter of 1194, dating this song's composition and the presence of Reinmar at the Babenberg court in Vienna to the summer of 1195. In his literary excursus, Gottfried von Strassburg laments the death of the "nightingale of Hagenau" as the foremost Minnesanger, suggests this position now belongs to Walther. There is no Minnsänger other than Reinmar. Hagenau has been identified as the Alsatian city, modern Haguenau, the location of an imperial court of the Hohenstaufen dynasty in the twelfth century and which lies some 20 miles from Strassburg. Gottfried's proximity to this Hagenau makes it unlikely that the place referred to is one of the many places called Hagenau in Bavaria and Austria. Whether Hagenau was Reinmar's home or whether it was the court at which he first made his mark as a singer cannot be known.
Gottfried's Tristan is dated to around 1210 and Reinmar's death, therefore, to the first decade of the 13th century. Walther von der Vogelweide composed an elegy for Reinmar: "One thing is for certain, Reinmar: I mourn you much more than you would mourn me if you were alive and I had died" and this song has been dated to 1208/09, confirming the dating derived from Tristan; this elegy and the many other links between the songs of Reinmar and Walther have given rise to the notion of a literary feud between the two singers. Whether any personal animosity was involved cannot be known, but the wealth of parodistic cross-references between the two repertoires shows that audiences were familiar with the work of both singers; the point at issue in the feud was that Walther rejected Reinmar's strict adherence to the classical idea of unrequited courtly love, insisting that true love must be mutual. All the main Minnesang manuscripts have substantial collections of Reinmar's songs: MS A has 70 strophes under Reinmar's name.
MS B has 115 strophes under Reinmar's name. MS C has by far the largest collection, with 262 strophes under Reinmar's name, MS E has 164 strophes under Reinmar's name with space for 50 more strophes. In each of these manuscripts only Walther has more songs ascribed to him. Reinmar's lyrics show the romance influence, predominant since Heinrich von Veldeke and Friedrich von Hausen, they are perfect in form and "courtly" in sentiment. Passion and natural feeling are repressed, maze and propriety reign supreme. General reflections are common, concrete situations few. When, Reinmar breaks through the bounds of convention and allows his heart to speak, as in the lament for the death of the duke, put into the mouth of the duchess herself, he shows lyric gifts of a high order, but this does not happen, most of Reinmar's poems show more elegance of form than beauty of sentiment. In a society, where form was valued more than contents, such poetry was bound to meet with favour. Reinmar's paramount status, second only to Walther, in the century after his death is shown by his mention in Gottfried's literary excursus and his naming in the "Dichterkataloge" in a number of other narrative works, such as Heinrich von dem Türlin's Der Aventiure Crône and Hugo von Trimberg's Der Renner.
The meistersinger of the 15th century included Reinmar as one of the "twelve old masters" of their craft. Lachmann, Karl. "XX: Her Reinmar". Des Minnesangs Frühling. Leipzig: Hirzel. Pp. 150–204. Retrieved 19 February 2019. Moser, Hugo. "XXI: Reinmar der Alte". Des Minnesangs Frühling. I: Texts. Stuttgart: Hirzel. Pp. 285–403. ISBN 978-3777604480. Schweikle, Günther, ed.. Reinmar. Lieder. Nach der Weingartner Liederhandschrift. Mittelhochdeutsch/Neuhochdeutsch. Stuttgart: Reclam. ISBN 978-3-15-008318-5. Arthur Frank Joseph Remy. "Reinmar of Hagenau". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedi
Albrecht von Johansdorf
Albrecht von Johansdorf was a Minnesänger and a minor noble in the service of Wolfger of Erla. Documents indicate that his life included the years 1185 to 1209, he is believed to have participated in a crusade. He is known to have written at least five "recruitment" songs in Middle High German, most for the Third Crusade, his "Song 2" owes a debt to the structure and melody from a song in Old French by trouvère poet Conon de Béthune. His "Song 5", which mentions the capture of Jerusalem, may suggest that he wrote around 1190. Von Johansdorf's Minnelieder conform outwardly to the standard pattern of man subordinating himself to the woman above him and is responsible for the classical formulation of "the educative value of Minnedienst", his integrity and warmth of heart are most evident in poems referring to the departure for the crusade. The poetry of Albrecht von Johansdorf, by Hugo Bekker, ISBN 90-04-05657-2 Stammler, Wolfgang, "Albrecht von Johansdorf", Neue Deutsche Biographie, 1, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, p. 178
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II was King of Sicily from 1198, King of Germany from 1212, King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor from 1220 and King of Jerusalem from 1225. He was the son of emperor Henry VI of the Hohenstaufen dynasty and of Constance, heiress to the Norman kings of Sicily. Frederick's reign saw the Holy Roman Empire achieve its greatest territorial extent, his political and cultural ambitions were enormous as he ruled a vast area beginning with Sicily and stretching through Italy all the way north to Germany. As the Crusades progressed, he styled himself its king. However, the Papacy became his enemy, it prevailed. Viewing himself as a direct successor to the Roman emperors of antiquity, he was Emperor of the Romans from his papal coronation in 1220 until his death; as such, he was King of Germany, of Italy, of Burgundy. At the age of three, he was crowned King of Sicily as a co-ruler with his mother, Constance of Hauteville, the daughter of Roger II of Sicily, his other royal title was King of Jerusalem by virtue of marriage and his connection with the Sixth Crusade.
At war with the papacy, hemmed in between Frederick's lands in northern Italy and his Kingdom of Sicily to the south, he was excommunicated four times and vilified in pro-papal chronicles of the time and after. Pope Gregory IX went so far as to call him an Antichrist. Speaking six languages, Frederick was an avid patron of the arts, he played a major role in promoting literature through the Sicilian School of poetry. His Sicilian royal court in Palermo, beginning around 1220, saw the first use of a literary form of an Italo-Romance language, Sicilian; the poetry that emanated from the school had a significant influence on literature and on what was to become the modern Italian language. He was the first king to formally outlaw trial by ordeal, which had come to be viewed as superstitious. After his death his line did not survive, the House of Hohenstaufen came to an end. Furthermore, the Holy Roman Empire entered a long period of decline from which it did not recover until the reign of Charles V, 250 years later.
Historians have searched for superlatives to describe him, as in the case of Donald Detwiler, who wrote: A man of extraordinary culture and ability – called by a contemporary chronicler stupor mundi, by Nietzsche the first European, by many historians the first modern ruler – Frederick established in Sicily and southern Italy something much like a modern, centrally governed kingdom with an efficient bureaucracy. Born in Iesi, near Ancona, Frederick was the son of the emperor Henry VI, he was known as the puer Apuliae. Some chronicles say that his mother, the forty-year-old Constance, gave birth to him in a public square in order to forestall any doubt about his origin such as son of a butcher. Frederick was baptised in Assisi. In 1196 at Frankfurt am Main the infant Frederick was elected King of the Germans, his rights in Germany were disputed by Henry's brother Philip of Otto of Brunswick. At the death of his father in 1197, Frederick was in Italy, traveling towards Germany, when the bad news reached his guardian, Conrad of Spoleto.
Frederick was hastily brought back to his mother Constance in Palermo, where he was crowned king on 17 May 1198, at just three years of age. Constance of Sicily was in her own right queen of Sicily, she established herself as regent. In Frederick's name she dissolved Sicily's ties to Germany and the Empire, created by her marriage, sending home his German counsellors and renouncing his claims to the German throne and empire. Upon Constance's death in 1198, Pope Innocent III succeeded as Frederick's guardian. Frederick's tutor during this period was Cencio, who would become Pope Honorius III. Markward of Annweiler, with the support of Henry's brother, Philip of Swabia, reclaimed the regency for himself and soon after invaded the Kingdom of Sicily. In 1200, with the help of Genoese ships, he landed in Sicily and one year seized the young Frederick, he thus ruled Sicily until 1202, when he was succeeded by another German captain, William of Capparone, who kept Frederick under his control in the royal palace of Palermo until 1206.
Frederick was subsequently under tutor Walter of Palearia. His first task was to reassert his power over Sicily and southern Italy, where local barons and adventurers had usurped most of the authority. Otto of Brunswick had been crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Innocent III in 1209. In southern Italy, Otto became the champion of those noblemen and barons who feared Frederick's strong measures to check their power, such as the dismissal of the pro-noble Walter of Palearia; the new emperor invaded Italy. In response, Innocent sided against Otto, in September 1211 at the Diet of Nuremberg Frederick was elected in absentia as German King by a rebellious faction backed by the pope. Innocent excommunicated Otto, forced to return to Germany. Frederick sailed to Gaeta with a small following, he agreed with the pope on a future separation between the Sicilian and Imperial titles, named his wife Constance as regent. Passing through Lombardy and Engadin, he reached Konstanz in September 1212, preceding Otto by a few hours.
Frederick was crowned as king on 9 December 1212 in Mainz. Frederick's authority in Germany rem
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome. Strauss was a prominent conductor in Western Europe and the Americas, enjoying quasi-celebrity status as his compositions became standards of orchestral and operatic repertoire. Strauss, along with Gustav Mahler, represents the late flowering of German Romanticism after Richard Wagner, in which pioneering subtleties of orchestration are combined with an advanced harmonic style. Strauss was born on 11 June 1864 in Munich, the son of Josephine and Franz Strauss, the principal horn player at the Court Opera in Munich. In his youth, he received a thorough musical education from his father, he wrote his first composition at the age of six, continued to write music until his death. During his boyhood Strauss attended orchestra rehearsals of the Munich Court Orchestra, where he received private instruction in music theory and orchestration from an assistant conductor.
In 1872, he started receiving violin instruction at the Royal School of Music from Benno Walter, his father's cousin. In 1874, Strauss heard his first Wagner operas and Tannhäuser; the influence of Wagner's music on Strauss's style was to be profound, but at first his musically conservative father forbade him to study it. Indeed, in the Strauss household, the music of Richard Wagner was viewed with deep suspicion, it was not until the age of 16 that Strauss was able to obtain a score of Tristan und Isolde. In life, Strauss said that he regretted the conservative hostility to Wagner's progressive works. Strauss's father undoubtedly had a crucial influence on his son's developing taste, not least in Strauss's abiding love for the horn. In early 1882, in Vienna, he gave the first performance of his Violin Concerto in D minor, playing a piano reduction of the orchestral part himself, with his teacher Benno Walter as soloist; the same year he entered Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, where he studied philosophy and art history, but not music.
He left a year to go to Berlin, where he studied before securing a post as assistant conductor to Hans von Bülow, enormously impressed by the young composer's Serenade for wind instruments, composed when he was only 16 years of age. Strauss learned the art of conducting by observing Bülow in rehearsal. Bülow was fond of the young man, decided that Strauss should be his successor as conductor of the Meiningen Court Orchestra when Bülow resigned in 1885. Strauss's compositions at this time were indebted to the style of Robert Schumann or Felix Mendelssohn, true to his father's teachings, his Horn Concerto No. 1, is a staple of the modern horn repertoire. Strauss married soprano Pauline de Ahna on 10 September 1894, she was famous for being irascible, garrulous and outspoken, but to all appearances the marriage was happy, she was a great source of inspiration to him. Throughout his life, from his earliest songs to the final Four Last Songs of 1948, he preferred the soprano voice to all others, all his operas contain important soprano roles.
The Strausses had one son, Franz, in 1897. Franz married Alice von Grab-Hermannswörth, daughter of a Jewish industrialist, in a Roman Catholic ceremony in 1924. Franz and Alice had two sons and Christian. In 1906, Strauss purchased a block of land at Garmisch-Partenkirchen and had a villa built there with the down payments from the publisher Adolph Fürstner for his opera Salome, residing there until his death; some of Strauss's first compositions were solo instrumental and chamber works. These pieces include early compositions for piano solo in a conservative harmonic style, many of which are lost: two piano trios, a string quartet, a piano sonata, a cello sonata, a piano quartet, a violin sonata, as well as a serenade and a longer suite, both scored for double wind quintet plus two additional horns and contrabassoon. After 1890, Strauss composed infrequently for chamber groups, his energies being completely absorbed with large-scale orchestral works and operas. Four of his chamber pieces are arrangements of portions of his operas, including the Daphne-Etude for solo violin and the String Sextet, the overture to his final opera Capriccio.
His last independent chamber work, an Allegretto in E major for violin and piano, dates from 1948. He composed two large-scale works for wind ensemble during this period: Sonatina No. 1 "From an Invalid's Workshop" and Sonatina No. 2 "Happy Workshop" —both scored for double wind quintet plus two additional horns, a third clarinet in C, bassett horn, bass clarinet, contrabassoon. Strauss wrote two early symphonies: Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 2. However, Strauss's style began to develop and change when, in 1885, he met Alexander Ritter, a noted composer and violinist, the husband of one of Richard Wagner's nieces, it was Ritter who persuaded Strauss to abandon the conservative style of his youth and begin writing tone poems. He introduced Strauss to the essays of Wagner and the writings of Arthur Schopenhauer. Strauss went on to conduct one of Ritter's operas, at Strauss