Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Salome

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Strauss – Salome

Yesterday’s Music History Monday post, entitled “Sex Sells”, featured the French pop song Je t’aime… Moi non plus, written by Serge Gainsbourg (1928-1991) and performed by Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin (born 1946). By every possible musical standard, the song is complete drivel. But it didn’t climb to number one on most of the European charts for its musical content but rather, for the simulated orgasm Ms. Birkin “performs” as the song progresses to its wholly predictable “climax”. The song’s success is a graphic example that sex does indeed sell. In the continuing spirit of “sex sells”, today we transit from the ridiculous to the sublime, from Serge Gainsbourg’s Je t’aime… Moi non plus to Richard Strauss’ opera Salome. A vivid description of Richard Strauss’ less than warm and fuzzy personality comes down to us from the German soprano Lotte Lehmann (1888-1976). Lehmann was one of the great Strauss sopranos of her generation and performed in the premieres of four of Strauss’ operas. (For our information, Lehmann emigrated permanently to the United States in 1938. She ended up in Santa Barbara, California where she helped found the Music Academy of the West. She has a star on the “Hollywood Walk of […]

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