Elektra was the fourth of fifteen operas by Strauss and opened his successful partnership with the librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It is one of the most important operas of the early twentieth century and it solidified Strauss's status as the leading German opera-composer of his day.
Bryan Gilliam's study of this major work examines its musical-historical context and also provides a detailed analysis of some of its musical features. He establishes a chronology of the evolution of the opera and places it in the larger framework of German opera of the time. His detailed examination of the sketch-books enables him to offer fresh insight into Strauss's use of motifs and overall tonal structure. In so doing he shows how the work's arresting dissonance and chromaticism has hidden
its similarities to his later, seemingly more tonally conservative opera, Der Rosenkavalier - not only does Strauss in both operas exploit a variety of musical styles to express irony, parody, and other emotions, but both are in fact thoroughly tonal.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 284
Weight: 389 g
Dimensions: 216 x 138 x 18 mm
`Bryan Gilliam's monograph delves deep into the opera's origins by the closest analysis yet undertaken of the sketch-books at the composer's home in Garmisch and elsewhere. These shed fascinating light on Strauss's working methods. ... The book is a major contribution to the Strauss bibliography and is written ... with exemplary clarity.'
Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph
`a clear exposition of the creative facts with reference to this, the tautest of all the composer's operas ... The author follows this with an in-depth scene-by-scene tonal analysis which succeeds in maintaining the general reader's interest without ta[l]king down ... Gilliam's chronicle and sketchbook inventories will prove invaluable to musicologists, whilst the volume as a whole should appeal to all musically-literate Strauss-lovers'
'this is an important addition to the scholarly literature ... a valid scholarly approach'
David F. Anderson, University of Chiacgo, Notes, March 1994