In his day, Franz Strauss was recognized as an important artistic personality. Foremost, he was a celebrated horn virtuoso, “breathing soul into the unthankful instrument.” Even Richard Wagner, against whom the musically conservative Strauss took literally every opportunity to make his disapproval clear, recognized his unusual talent. “Old Strauss is an unbearable fellow, but when he plays the horn one can’t really mind him.” When Franz Strauss was asked about his reputation, he replied, “I do not prove it; I admit it.”
Franz Strauss became a member of the Royal Court Orchestra in Munich in 1847, and he also was professor for horn at the Academy of Music in Munich. Although he left no horn method, Franz set new standards on his instruments for more than four decades. As such, it is hardly surprising that the horn plays a dominant role in the compositions of his son Richard. His tone poems and operas sound some of the most magnificent passages ever written for the instrument. And in addition, Richard also wrote two concertos for horn and orchestra.
Richard Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 2