Music: Domestic Symphony

Few composers have ever approached Germany's great, white-haired Richard Strauss in making music onomatopoetic. In his tone poem Don Quixote, muted wind instruments reproduce with waxwork fidelity the distant bleating of a flock of sheep. In his opera Salome, while the heroine gloats, each chop of the knife that severs the head of John the Baptist clunks with horrifying realism from the orchestra pit.. Composer Strauss once boasted that he could put anything into musical terms, even a glass of water.

Last week, while John Barbirolli and Manhattan's Philharmonic-Symphony gave an all-Strauss program,...

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