The musical world of Strauss's youth
Born in Munich on June 11, 1864, Richard Strauss entered the world at a crucial time of change for the political and cultural environment in which he would develop as person and musician: three months earlier, Ludwig II had acceded to power over the Kingdom of Bavaria, while almost six weeks earlier, Richard Wagner had first arrived in Munich under the new king's aegis. That these related events did not have an immediate impact on Strauss in his earliest years does not diminish their ultimate real and symbolic significance for his life and career: he emerged as musician within a city where the revolution in music was a matter of public debate, especially to the extent that its progenitor Wagner directly influenced the monarch and indirectly had an impact on affairs of state. Character of the city However, of all German-speaking major cities, Munich may have been the least suited for artistic upheaval, given the nature of its institutions and the character of its citizens. In his study Pleasure Wars, Peter Gay paints a picture of a Munich that was hopelessly polarized, between the cultural offerings sponsored by the ruling Wittelsbachs and the middle class that preferred popular types of entertainment.
Deaville, J. (2010). The musical world of Strauss's youth. doi:10.1017/CCOL9780521899307.002