Work of the week – Sinfonia domestic

By Konzerthaus Berlin April 22, 2024


© Marco Borggreve: Konzerthausorchester Berlin

"A day in my family life. It will be partly lyrical, partly humorous - a triple fugue will portray dad, mom and baby together," is how Richard Strauss describes his symphonic poem "Sinfonia domestica". After the premiere in New York's Carnegie Hall in March 1904, the composer was extremely satisfied: "'Domestica' has succeeded, sounds great, is very fine, also brilliant, lasts forty-one minutes, but still keeps the audience in breathless suspense."


Not a string trio, but a huge symphonic poem about his own nuclear family, consisting of Papa Richard, Mama Pauline und „Bubi“ Franz? Richard Strauss, who certainly did not suffer from a lack of self-confidence, thought this was appropriate and wrote that he found himself "just as interesting as Napoleon and Alexander". The premiere audience was enthusiastic, the press on both sides of the Atlantic reacted rather ungraciously. Probably in order to prevent ridicule such as "Papa changes Bubi's diapers here", as critic Herbert Glass put it, the composer had gone so far as to remove most of the explicit section headings. So it's up to us to identify child's bliss, visiting relatives, a huge row, sex and reconciliation in the course of the piece.

The one-movement piece glides through four very different situations in the life of the family of three in terms of tempo and atmosphere. The father's theme takes on different characteristics as it wanders through the instruments and keys - from "leisurely" to "dreamy", "grumpy" and "fiery" to "funny, fresh". The mother's lively theme also changes, and finally the two merge. The unique result: a child! To be more precise: "Bubi", whose theme is played by the oboe d'amore, which is rarely heard in the orchestra.


For this event, you will not receive tickets through our webshop. You will therefore be redirected to an external page of the organizer. If you have any not completed bookings on, they will be dissolved after 20 minutes.