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Der Rosenkavalier Suite, op.59 (1909-10)

Notes by Michael-Thomas Foumai

A comic opera in three acts, Der Rosenkavalier (The Rose-Bearer) by Richard Strauss (1864-1949), centers on a plot of finding true love, 18th-century style. The protagonist, Octavian, is sent on behalf of Baron Ochs to present a silver rose to Sophie von Faninal as a ceremonial gesture of engagement. The twist, Octavian and Sophie fall in love instead, setting the stage for an opera.

Arthur Rodzinksi (then conductor of the New York Philharmonic) is alleged to have arranged the 22-minute suite, which he premiered on October 5, 1944, in New York. The suite mainly preserves the order of the drama, with the composer's popular Viennese-styled waltzes serving as pillars. Beginning as the opera, the music unfolds with the presentation of the rose, the discovery of the affair, and the amicable resolution for all entangled.

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