Exquisite! R. Strauss: Feuersnot-Love Scene - Heger, VPO





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Published on Aug 15, 2013

Recorded in 1929. Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Robert Heger conductor

Thanks to Damian Rogan for allowing me to use his excellent transfers. You can find this and many other wonderful selections and information at his website: http://www.damians78s.co.uk

Robert Heger (19 August 1886 -- 14 January 1978) was a German conductor and composer from Strasbourg, Alsace-Lorraine.

He studied at the Conservatory of Strasbourg, under Franz Stockhausen, then in Zurich under Lothar Kempter, and finally in Munich under Max von Schillings. After early conducting engagements in Strasbourg he made his debut at Ulm in 1908 or 1909. He held appointments in Barmen (1909), at the Vienna Volksoper (1911), and at Nuremberg (1913), where he also conducted Philharmonic concerts. He progressed to Munich and then to Berlin (1933-1950), after which he returned again to Munich.
In 1937 Heger joined the NSDAP.
Heger conducted at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, from 1925 to 1935. Robert Heger conducted at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, 1945-1948 and again with his Munich company in 1953, when he gave the first London performance of Richard Strauss's opera Capriccio. He died in Munich.

Feuersnot (The Need for Fire or Fire Famine), Op. 50, is a Singgedicht (sung poem) or opera in one act by Richard Strauss. The German libretto was written by Ernst von Wolzogen, based on J. Ketel's report "Das erloschene Feuer zu Audenaerde" in the Oudenaarde Gazette, Leipzig, 1843. It was Strauss' second opera.
Thematically, the opera has been interpreted as a parody of Richard Wagner's idea of "redemption through love", with the character of Kunrad representing Strauss himself

The premiere was at the Dresden Hofoper on 21 November 1901. Gustav Mahler directed the Vienna premiere at the Hofoper on 29 January 1902, in the presence of the composer, but it was not a commercial success, in spite of Mahler's careful musical preparation. At the time of the premiere, the sexual and erotic subtexts and psychology were disturbing to audiences, as well as the perceived "advanced" nature of the music itself to more conservative-minded musicians. The Berlin premiere was on 28 October 1902.

Since Strauss's time, the opera has rarely been staged or performed. In London it was presented on 9 July 1910, while the US premiere was not given until 1 December 1927 by the Philadelphia Civic Opera Company at Philadelphia's Metropolitan Opera House with George Rasely as Gundelfingen and Alexander Smallens conducting. The Zurich premiere was not until 1953. The New York City premiere was in 1985, at the Manhattan School of Music.

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