Träumerei (Dreaming) is the fourth of set of five character pieces called Stimmungsbilder, loosely translated as "Moods and Fancies." Richard Strauss (1864-1949) composed these works between 1882 and 1884, as his career began to flourish.
Exposed to music at an early age, yet restricted to the classics by his staunchly anti-Wagnerian father, Strauss was soon improvising songs and piano pieces. Curiously, one August Tombo, the author of a well-known Harp Method, had been Strauss' first piano teacher. Tombo served as harpist in the same Munich Court Orchestra where Richard's father Franz played principal horn.
At the age of seventeen, at last, Strauss poured himself into the score of Tristan and "he positively wolfed it down as if in a trance," according to his own reminiscences. From then on he fully embraced the "music of the future," espousing its formal freedom and atmospheric tone-painting, and he soon achieved meteoric success as a conductor as well as composer of tone poems and operas.
Träumerei is representative of the mature output of his youth. A rêverie suspended in time, it woos our attention with its alternating lush harmonies and bursts of wide-ranging arpeggiated chords, so harp-like in character. It had to be transposed from B to C b Major and a few notes of the chromatic inner voices were trimmed. In this new "disguise," Träumerei bears an uncanny resemblance to the first of Wilhelm Posse's Improvisations, a set completely written in seven flats.
The rhetorical question that comes to mind irresistibly, when paying closer attention to the challenge presented by the context of the C b key, is: where do you go from there, harmonically? After all, from the perspective of the pedal mechanism, this key operates as the ceiling of the circle of fifths. Posse and Strauss both succeed admirably in creating colourful little gems of personal expression, the first composing from the vantage point of the harpist's hands, the second, unhampered by such technicalities, giving free reign to his exuberant melodic imagination.
The music was processed by Arlin Snesrud.
|Title:||Träumerei, Opus 9 #4|
||Richard Strauss (1864-1949)|
|Arranger:||Transcribed for harp by Dominique Piana|
|Format:||Harp Part stapled|
|Size:||11" x 8.5" (US Letter)|
|Publisher:||Editions Harpiana Publications|