Richard Strauss premired his opera Die Frau ohne Schatten in Vienna in 1919. At the end of World War II, in the midst of an impressive creative burst of energy, he composed the Symphonische Fantasie aus Die Frau ohne Schatten. Incorporating themes and passages from the opera, Strauss created a work that stands on its own as a lush example of late romantic orchestral richness.
Here is Maestro Robert W. Butt's commentary on the piece:
"Being a composer myself, I am fascinated at understanding creativity and inspiration. One wonders what triggers creative renewal for the great composers.
"When World War II ended in 1945, Richard Strauss was 81 years old, with the bulk of his major work having been composed 30-50 years earlier. But, something triggered a personal burst of incredible creativity leading to some of his most impressive works such as the Oboe Concerto, The Four Last Songs, and Metamorphosen.
"In 1947, he created the Symphonische Fantasie aus Die Frau Ohne Schatten - a massive symphonic rhapsody themes from his opera Die Frau ohne Schatten composed in 1917.
"The work has the sound of a youthfully exuberant composer relishing the incredible sounds of the large symphonic orchestra. It has long been common for composers to create purely orchestral works based on themes from their operas, but rarely does 30 years and a world war intervene.
"Why this opera as the source and why at that point in history will never be known. But the radiant beauty and power of the work is unmistakable."