Richard Strauss: An Owner’s Manual

Unlocking the Masters

Richard Strauss: An Owner’s Manual

by David Hurwitz

Website | Unlocking the Masters series

The life and music of Richard Strauss (1864-1949) span what was arguably the most turbulent period in human history, encompassing the Franco-Prussian War, the unification of Germany, and two World Wars. He was one of the last composers to have started his career in service to the old European aristocracy, but near the end of his life, the continent lay in shambles, and he faced financial ruin even as he remained Germany’s greatest living composer.

In Richard Strauss: An Owner’s Manual (July 2014, Amadeus Press, $24.99), the latest entry in the Amadeus Press “Unlocking the Masters” series, David Hurwitz has created a rewarding guide to the work the eminent composer who bridged two centuries and musical eras.

Virtually from the day they were written, Strauss’s tone poems from the late nineteenth century – works such as Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegel, Also Sprach Zarathustra, and Death and Transfiguration – have been repertory standards. So have the operas Salome, Elektra, and Der Rosenkavalier. Yet a tremendous quantity of very good music, both early and late, has only recently come to the attention of musicians and music lovers alike.

This “owner’s manual,” accompanied by a full-length CD, surveys all the major works with orchestra: symphonies, concertos, tone poems, operas, ballets, suites, and songs. Many of them will be new even to listeners familiar with the popular pieces, part of a vast legacy of immaculately crafted, beautiful music that deserves to be rediscovered and treasured.

July 8, 2014
Paperback Original with CD
204 pages
6” x 9”

About the Author:

David Hurwitz is founder and executive editor of, a daily classical music magazine, and is chairman and founder of the Classical Internet Awards. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.


About the Series:

The highly acclaimed Unlocking the Masters series now features 23 titles. The reader-friendly language and size bring the reader quickly and easily in to the world of the greatest composers and their music. The accompanying CD tracks are taken from the world’s greatest libraries of recorded classics.   Together, they bring the music to life.

Praise for the Unlocking the Masters series:

“With infectious enthusiasm and keen insight, the Unlocking the Masters series succeeds in opening our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds to the great composers.” — Strings

“The Unlocking the Masters series guides users to new levels of musical appreciation through an intelligent approach to thinking about music…and it fills a gap in the music-appreciation literature.”     — Choice

“Immensely readable and hard to put down…. This book is for anyone who wishes to understand music better.”            — American Music Teacher

“Each [book] is written in clear, understandable language…. The tone is intended to guide the reader to the heart and soul of the music.”— Rocky Mountain News

“Unlocking the Masters is another in Amadeus Press’s fine line of publications. It is an excellent introduction to composers and their music. The combination short biography and analysis of repertoire finds the right balance between generalities and scholarly profundity without speaking down to the reader or engaging in unnecessary pomposity.”         — American Record Guide

“These books cover everything a musician, student or collector needs for a thorough grounding in the repertoire of classical music.” — The Tennessean




Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on July 2, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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