Aus Italien

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Aus Italien, Op. 16 (From Italy) is a tone poem for full orchestra composed by Richard Strauss in 1886. It was inspired by the composer's visit to Italy (encouraged by Johannes Brahms) in the summer of the same year, where he travelled to Rome, Bologna, Naples, Sorrento, Salerno, and Capri. He began to sketch the work while still on the journey.

The full score of the work, Strauss's first tone poem, was completed in Munich on September 12, 1886. The work is named by the composer as 'Symphonic Fantasy', and is dedicated to his mentor Hans von Bülow. It is the only work by Richard Strauss for which he himself wrote a specific program. The entire work takes over forty minutes to perform.

Strauss incorporated the tune of "Funiculì, Funiculà" into the symphony, thinking it was a traditional Italian folk song. When Luigi Denza, who had actually composed "Funiculì, Funiculà" in 1880, discovered this, he sued Strauss for royalties, and won.

Premières

The first performance of the work took place in Munich on March 2, 1887 by the Court Orchestra, which was conducted by the composer himself. As Richard Strauss's sister Johanna later recalled, the first three movements were received with applause, but the last movement was not well-approved and derisory whistles came from various quarters. Norman Del Mar's biography of the composer tells a different story: the first three movements were not well received, and the final was accorded booing and applause. ...
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