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Concert Hour: Celebrating Strauss in Cologne (Pt. 1 of 2)

Our celebration of the Richard Strauss anniversary year - marking 150 years since the composer's birth - continues this week with star conductor Andris Nelsons leading the West German Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Andris Nelsons

Andris Nelsons

It's always a treat to hear conductor Andris Nelsons, one of the leading talents of his generation, but particularly when he's leading the performance of works by Strauss - whom Nelsons calls one of his favorite composers, alongside Wagner and Shostakovich. We'll hear selections from Strauss' Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 8, but the centerpiece of the hour is the composer's tone poem titled Thus Spake Zarathustra, after a work by Nietzsche.

It's music that lends itself to wide-ranging imagery - an atmosphere the conductor says he makes a conscious effort to evoke. "You see the mountains or you see the sea or you see whatever. If you put an exact picture, it might just narrow your fantasy feeling. As a conductor you have to find in the right moment the association which might help at that moment to get the right atmosphere," Nelsons explains.

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
Violin concerto in D Minor, op. 8, 2nd and 3rd movements
Thus Spake Zarathustra, op. 30

Baiba Skride, violin
West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Andris Nelsons

Recorded by West German Radio, Cologne (WDR) in the Cologne Philharmonie on June 6, 2014

Rebroadcasting rights: One broadcast before October 5, 2014

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