Housed in the Richard Strauss Institute in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, formerly the home and "country house" of the Richard Strauss family, we find two notable manuscripts by Franz Strauss, titled Concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major, op. 14 for horn and orchestra or piano.* The exact date for the completion of this work is not known, although it is thought that it was composed after 1884. This may explain why this work was never published, as Strauss was in the later years of his career and devoting more time to the compositional work of his son, Richard Strauss (Hausen, Dirk, Der Hornist Franz Strauss: Eine Küstlerbiographie im Spiegel der kulturgeschichtlichen Entwicklung München im 19. Jahrhundert, Berlin: Rombach Verlag, 2017).†
Of these two manuscripts, the first represents the full handwritten orchestral score composed by Franz Strauss. This manuscript was the primary reference for this new piano reduction. The second manuscript of this collection is the piano reduction that Strauss did of his own concerto, which omitted and changed several aspects from the full orchestral score. This new piano reduction of Strauss’ Concerto No. 2 incorporates previously omitted phrases (i.e., solo wind lines in the first and third movements) and reduces harmonic and melodic material from the orchestral score that was otherwise changed in Strauss’ piano reduction. Additionally, the new reduction is as idiomatic as possible, making it an easier performance experience for the pianist, not to mention a much clearer read than Strauss’ handwritten piano version.
Special thanks to the Strauss family and Dr. Dominik Sedivy, director of the Richard Strauss Institute, for permitting and providing access to the manuscripts. Additional thanks to Dr. Aram Arakelyan, whose pianistic input was invaluable.
*This singular work by Franz Strauss is composed of two manuscripts in the original form written in Strauss' own handwriting, one for horn and orchestra, and the other for horn and piano.
†The Horn Player Franz Strauss: An Artist's Biography Reflecting the Cultural-Historical Development of Munich in the 19th Century, by Dirk Hausen.