From March 26, 1911
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RICHARD AND JOHANN STRAUSS? The “Real Richard” and How He Expresses Himself in “Der Rosenkavalier.” (PDF)
This is easy. One of them wrote music famously featured in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. The other one, um, also had music prominently used in that movie.
Okay, let me try again. One of them is Austrian, and one of them is… um… German?
Okay, I give up. What does the article say?
If you want to see a hitherto peaceful human face mobilize twenty thousand warlike expressions within one brief and crowded moment of glorious life step up to a man with music in his soul and say:
“Is there any difference between Richard Strauss and Johann Strauss?”
He will either walk away, brutally insult you, or start to explain the difference, in which case he will drain the dictionary in twenty-four minutes and go insane in thirty-five. If you do not believe the above seek out that friend of yours who simply dotes on modern music, hold him firmly by the sleeve so that he can’t walk away, invite him to have a drink so that he can’t insult you, and then pop the question.
If, at the end of twenty minutes’ explanation, his condition (and yours) does not cause you acute concern, why — but it will, don’t you worry, it will.
Alpha and Omega, Zenith and Nadir, north pole and south pole — not one of those combinations suggests to the average man a greater difference between its component parts than does, to the musician, the juxtaposition of Richard Strauss and Johann Strauss. In fact, it is a common thing to see wild-eyed highbrows running round and round the most select musical circles, vainly inquiring by what cosmic freak the constructor of that tempestuous thing, “Elektra,” ever got tagged with the identical name borne by him who gave us “The Blue Danube.”
Discord, violence, horrible shrieks in the night, possible police interference — that’s what Richard Strauss has always meant. Was it not he who gave us “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” which sounds even worse set to music, and “Salome,” beside which the orchestral complications of Richard Wagner sound like those five-finger exercises that mother used to make us do?
Wow, okay, so the difference I guess is that Richard Strauss sucks and Johann Strauss is awesome.
Now would someone please explain to me the difference between Ke$ha and Katy Perry?
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