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  • The A-Z of Richard Strauss: Y is for yodel

The A-Z of Richard Strauss: Y is for yodel

The composer's Alpine home influenced the inclusion of yodelling in two of his works.

By Gavin Plumley (Guest author. Classical music blogger)

28 July 2014 at 2.57pm | Comment on this article

Living in Garmisch, Richard Strauss would have heard a lot of folk music in the surrounding countryside, including the famous Alpine yodel, which makes appearances in a couple of his scores.

First, rather fittingly, there is a yodel in Eine Alpensinfonie, played by an oboe in a scene entitled ‘Auf der Alm’ (In the Alpine pasture). The yodel crops up, slightly more surprisingly, in Arabella, when the Fiakermilli, the belle of the Coachman’s ball in Vienna, sings ‘Die Wiener Herrn verstehen sich auf die Astronomie’.

Strauss mimics the yodel’s characteristic shifts between chest and head voice in the Fiakermilli’s flurry of coloratura effects, wowing the other ball guests.

2014 sees the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss’s birth. The composer has been celebrated at the ROH with stagings of Die Frau ohne Schatten (which ran until 2 April 2014) and Ariadne auf Naxos (which ran until 13 July). 

By Gavin Plumley (Guest author. Classical music blogger)

28 July 2014 at 2.57pm

This article has been categorised Music and tagged Alps, Arabella, Austria, Bavaria, folk, Germany, Richard Strauss, Strauss A-Z, Switzerland, yodelling

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