How does one feel as the last giant of a field, as the culmination of an epoch? This question moved the director Eric Schulz with regard to the composer Richard Strauss. His film portrait is an attempt to take a “new” look at Strauss’s life and work using rare archive documents and interesting conversational partners.
Film by Eric Schulz (Germany 2014)
Richard Strauss (1864–1949) is considered controversial. Some think highly of him as an inspired composer, the greatest of his time, one who has not found a worthy successor until the present day – the year of the 150th anniversary of his birth. Critics accuse him of brilliance and opulence in sound as an end in itself – not to mention his contentious role during the NS regime. Eric Schulz, born in 1979, has directed two documentary films that have won numerous prizes: Traces to Nowhere – Carlos Kleiber (2010) and Karajan – The Second Life (2012). Here he takes a fresh look at the composer.
For Schulz, what we call classical music has since Strauss’s death taken on the character of a museum. “This development is now leading to a reassessment of Strauss’s oeuvre. Suddenly his many recordings and films as conductor of his own works are piquing musicologists’ interest.” And also the interest of music lovers in general. How does one feel as the last giant of a field, as the culmination of an epoch? In what way does this awareness of life leave its mark on your own work? How does this relate to our present day, which is confronted with the dissolution of an entire culture? These are questions that Eric Schulz explores with his film. He attempts to find answers using rare archive documents (some as high-resolution HD copies for the first time) and with interesting conversations.