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Shared Creation

Words and Music in the Hofmannsthal-Strauss Operas


Joanna Bottenberg

Austrian poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal and German composer Richard Strauss produced six operas in their 23-year collaboration. With the artists' extensive correspondence as its basis, this study examines the geneses of these operas, focusing on the problems the artists confronted and their efforts to resolve these problems. Their shared creation was not always based on shared principles, goals, or tastes, but often on conflicts between their intentions and abilities, or tensions between artistic autonomy and control. The reciprocal influence of the poet on the music and of the composer on the scenarios and libretti became in some cases a fruitful interaction, in others a harmful interference. This book brings significant new insights into the artistic processes and products of this unique collaboration.
Contents: The artists' problems with the shared creation of their operas - The conflicts between their intentions and abilities - Interaction and interference - Autonomy and control.