(Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks)
In 1896 critics had this to say about Strauss’s new tone poem Till Eulenspiegel. “In the form of a crazy-quilt.” “Eulenspiegel’s daily beverage was doubtless beer and all the music is unmistakably beerish!” “Garish, oscillation between humor, sarcasm and irony. The orchestration of the work is sound and fury, signifying nothing, and the instruments are made to indulge in a shrieking, piercing, noisy breakdown most of the time.” When asked for direction concerning program notes Strauss replied, “Leave it to the audience to crack the nut that the rogue has prepared for them.” In Mölln, Germany there is a museum dedicated to the notorious prankster Till as well as an impressive bronze statue of him.
My Violin represents the popular German jester, Master Tyll Owlglass, his owl Eule, the mirror Spiegel, and the donkey he taught to read.