"Such mastery fills me with awe and dread" was all Strauss could say
after hearing the wunderkind's Sinfonietta in 1911.
At the height of his fame (Der Rosenkavalier had just
received its tremendously successful premiere in Dresden) Strauss may
have seen in Korngold the composer who was to take his place as
Europe's brightest musical light.
Indeed, if it hadn't been for a request from director Max Reinhardt
to join him in Hollywood in 1934 (the Anschluss kept him
there), Korngold probably would have taken up that mantle instead of
becoming the premier soundtrack composer of his day.
You'll get your chance to compare the two composers' music—could
Korngold have superseded Strauss?—on Renée Fleming's January
Strauss once declared, "Actually I like my songs the best," and he
meant of anyone. But maybe he hadn't yet heard Korngold's.