Excerpt from the last part of Ariadne auf Naxos (for solo classical guitar) 4 pp

Richard Strauss
Full details...
page one of Excerpt from the last part of Ariadne auf Naxos   (for solo classical guitar)  4 pp

Which method of viewing music should I use?

Score Exchange has two methods to display previews of music: seView which uses regular html and javascipt and the Scorch plug-in from Avid which needs to be downloaded and installed onto your computer. Both have advantages and disadvantages:


seView, is the most compatible option. You should be able to view music on all modern web browsers including most mobile devices. Even if your device does not support javascript you should still be able to preview at least page one of the music.

You do not need to install any additional software to use seView.


Scorch is a free plug-in from Avid for displaying and printing music. It can also play the music that you're seeing. As modern web browsers are updated, Scorch is no longer compatible with many browsers. Scorch has never been compatible with mobile devices and some web browsers on Mac computers.

If your web browser does not install Scorch automatically, you can click here to download and install scorch manually.

Static preview

The static preview shows a basic image of the first page.

Interactive preview

The interactive preview also shows a preview of the first page, but it's a bit slower to load. The preview is displayed using the Sibelius Cloud Publishing technology from Avid. With most scores, this technology will provide a higher quality preview, as well as being able to switch to full screen mode and also play the displayed music to you.

Printing after purchase

After you have purchased this item the Cloud Publishing technology is utilised to provide the printing mechanism for the music. As such, we recommend checking that the Interactive Preview displays correctly on your device before committing to a purchase.

Full details

Richard Strauss (1864 -1949)

Strauss's music amounts to a huge body of symphonic and operatic work written over 60 years. Full of vitality, endlessly melodic, brilliantly orchestrated, it begins and ends in the romantic tradition, but for the most part expresses something more modern and individualistic, not without controversy in its time. Variation of style and structure is drawn from the descriptive (literary) nature of compositions, and an extraordinary inventiveness enlivens the scenes, moods and situations. Strauss said once that he produced music the way cows give milk, and indeed his music rarely seems contrived.

The opera

Strauss wrote 15 operas on a variety of subjects and across the whole spectrum of drama. He acknowledged being enchanted by the soprano voice, and his writing for it highlights many of the works, including Adriane auf Naxos (composed in 1912). The opera has been described as 'sparkling', which sums it up well, and passages influenced by Bach, Mozart, Puccini, and Wagner add to the interest. The storyline is a play within a play, the second part being the mythological 'Opera' staged in the story. The three pieces transcribed* are from this Opera.

The guitar arrangements

All classical guitar pieces are compromises. The instrument has only six strings, the left hand four fingers able to be used, and with the right hand its rare to use more than three fingers and the thumb. So, despite the amount of noise possible, it's inevitable that passages occur where either harmony, bass or fragments of counterpoint that would be beneficial are left out. In particular, the higher up the neck music is played the simpler it tends to be, if harder to play, and unless the low bass is an open string there wont be any.

So I think the main part of attaining a fair transcription (better to be called an arrangement if the original musical structure is not strictly followed, as in this case) is determining how a good compromise can be reached. Melody, counterpoint, bass and main harmonies demand inclusion, and register is important. One may generally assume the original score can't be improved on. However, if the music may sound well on guitar, and the above elements can be incorporated without the playing becoming very difficult, something enjoyable to play and worthwhile listening to should be able to be achieved.

Overture; 'A golden time …'

Here the Mozart influence, better, inspiration, is wonderfully evident. A gentle waltz time (only the first section of the overture is transcribed) carries the colourful harmonies, strong melodic threads and connecting flourishes that stamp both pieces. The aria is alluded to in the Overture several times, which as you would expect, is intricately woven with the hints themes later to be established in the Opera. It has a kind of 'jazzy' freedom, and it's always miraculous to me that composition so involved can retain its musical line, here done in Strauss's inimitable way. The aria, sung not far into the Opera, has the perfect inevitability of Mozart, but again it is Strauss. As explained, keys have been changed to suit the guitar.

Chorus and Aria

This selection from the finale has features well worth trying to translate. The device of having a strong chorus, in the style of a Bach chorale, stated and then counterpointed by a solo voice in a restatement, is potent, and that in the opera the chorus (of the three nymphs) isn't immediately followed by the accompanying aria (of Ariadne) means the latter comes as a moment of surprising beauty. Neither parts are complicated, and lovely arpeggios, a feature Strauss's music, often impart the assured progressions.

A problem was to capture the distinct register of the soprano voices, some statements of which would seem non-negotiable even without knowing the soprano voice was a passion of Strauss's. This could only be done, as intimated above, with some simplification. However the sound was worth working for, and fortunately the repetitive nature of the piece allowed for sections to be played at various registers to good effect, the higher producing the excruciating soprano harmonies.

Also, the original is in Db, so by raising the key a semitone I was able to utilise the guitar's D tuning as a full sounding configuration on which to arrange the piece. I'm fond of harmonics and open strings (in fact, arresting sounds in general) and used them where appropriate (or as sometimes, necessary).

Excerpt from the last part …

This shows a Mozart like facility for the integration of recitative and harmonic tension. As fits with the dramatic situation and characters (here Ariadne and Bacchus) the line of the music is constantly stretched thin with a controlled and beguiling dissonance, and then relaxed, either to the theme it expanded from or another, new or already known.

Rod Whittle

  • Overture; 'A golden time'; Chorus and Aria

Score ID
Richard Strauss
Year of composition
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
7 minutes
Solo instrument (Classical Guitar [notation])
Classical music

For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

Reviews of Excerpt from the last part of Ariadne auf Naxos (for solo classical guitar) 4 pp

Sorry, there's no reviews of this score yet. Please .

You might also like...