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Korngold Filled Strauss With 'Awe and Dread'

"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You'll get your chance to compare the two composers' music—could Korngold have superseded Strauss?—on Renée Fleming's January 11 recital.

Strauss once declared, "Actually I like my songs the best," and he meant of anyone. But maybe he hadn't yet heard Korngold's.

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