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My approach was to retain as many of Strauss’ sonic ideas as possible and transfer them from a gigantic orchestra to a standard-size symphony orchestra, without losing the force, vehemence and drama of the original.
Richard Dünser on his arrangement of Elektra
It was a great challenge to make a new, reduced version of Elektra; the original instrumentation is flawless and Strauss was one of the greatest orchestrators of all time. On the other hand, the work is from another epoch and, like Schönberg’s Gurrelieder and Mahler’s 8th Symphony, a child of its time in its monumentality, the three works ending an epoch. From today’s standpoint it is possible and also intriguing to introduce a new reading for consideration, to hear certain details differently, to point up nuanced tonal shadings and orchestral developments – in particular if that enables performances of the opera in midsize and small houses, apart from very large ones.
Instrumentation between 55 and 64 musicians; soloists as in the original, no choir.
2 2 3 2 - 4 2 3 1 - timp, perc(3), hp, harm(cel)
Strings minimum: 8-7-6-5-4 (total 30)
Strings maximum: 10-9-8-7-5 (total 39)
Watch our interview with Richard Dünser
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