Difficulty of R. Strauss works?

October 7, 2005 at 05:11 AM · My orchestra is searching for a R. Strauss work to perform, and I was wondering about the relative difficulty of the pieces (mostly technical difficulty). If anyone could rank the following pieces by order of difficulty, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Don Juan

Don Quixote

Tod und Verkl‚Äěrung

Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche

Die Frau ohne Schatten Symphonic Fantasie

Ein Heldenleben

Also sprach Zarathustra

Ignoring violin solos. Thanks!

Replies (8)

October 7, 2005 at 11:31 AM · I imagine it would be best to go to the library and have a glance at some mini-scores of each piece and decide based on what you know of your group's ability. However, the Don Juan has a reputation and is best left to professional groups with stellar violins.

October 7, 2005 at 07:28 PM · Death and Transfiguration is not too bad. I have done Zarathustra and don't remember it as being too hard either. Not sure about the others.

Oh yes, Til E. I don't remember as being too difficult.

October 7, 2005 at 08:32 PM · Don't forget about Maccbeth, Alpen Symphonien...

October 8, 2005 at 11:28 PM · Hi,

If you are working with an amateur orchestra, then Til is perhaps the shortest and most manageable. The most difficult would be Heldenleben. Zarathurstra is also difficult but slightly less. Don Juan is best avoided unless you have a stellar 1st violin section (the rest is not so bad).


October 10, 2005 at 11:34 PM · All of them are technically demanding. Need certain level of technical efficiency to play them. Ein Heldenleben..hmmm you need VERY GOOD concertmaster to play the violin solo. Its solos are long and is like a concerto.

October 11, 2005 at 03:24 AM · Don Juan is manageable, it just requires lots of slow practice with a metronome. I personally think it's doable. Actually, I know it is. Because I had to play it for orchestra auditions here, and I am by NO means virtuoso or anything. I just had to buckle down and tackle it measure by measure.

October 11, 2005 at 03:39 AM · Judging by what I've played from that list:

Heldenleben is a b___h. Don Juan is hard, but not too bad. Zarathustra is nothing to fret about.

October 12, 2005 at 03:43 AM · Thanks for the responses. Yes, it's for an amateur orchestra, but the quality of some of them in Tokyo is quite high. We've done a lot of Mahler (1, 4, 5, 7, 9) and Bruckner 9 recently, but now the winds are clamoring for both Heldenleben and and Die Frau ohne Schatten. The strings are suggesting a compromise, like doing Eroica with Heldenleben (a heroic program), or Scheherazade with Die Frau (a... program about two women?).

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