Evening Masterwork: Richard Strauss’ Oboe Concerto

Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949)

Oboe Concerto in D by Richard Strauss

Evening Masterwork for February 18, 2020 – 7:00 PM on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9

Believe it or not, it was an American soldier serving in World War II that prompted Richard Strauss to compose an oboe concerto. At the time, the composer was 80 years old, and U.S. forces had just taken over the Bavarian mountain town of Garmisch where Strauss was living. Soldiers were forcing residents to leave their homes, but when they encountered Strauss in his home, they placed an “Off Limits” sign in front of the composer’s house and essentially treated the composer as a celebrity. One soldier, a musician familiar with Strauss’s work, asked the composer if he had ever considered writing an oboe concerto, to which Strauss replied “no.” But weeks later when that soldier was back in the U.S., he learned of Strauss’s completed Oboe Concerto, with the score including a note: “…suggested by an American Soldier.” It’s our Evening Masterwork tonight at 7: Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concerto, here on Classical WSMR.