Strauss’ Don Quixote & The Last Knight

OCTOBER 27, 2019
Sunday at 2 PM

Part of the series Sight & Sound, in which conductor and music historian Leon Botstein explores the parallels between orchestral music and the visual arts. A discussion is accompanied by musical excerpts and on-screen artworks, then a full performance and audience Q&A.

Emperor Maximilian I of Austria, known since the 19th century as “the last knight,” was passionate about armor and the trappings and ideals of knighthood. There is no more influential tale of knighthood than CervantesDon Quixote, which inspired Strauss’ “Fantastic Variations on a Theme of Knightly Character.” His musical realization of Quixote’s chivalric journey is both thrilling and moving.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximilian I, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art October 7, 2019–January 5, 2020.


R. Strauss Don Quixote

and selections from the exhibition The Last Knight

Program Detail

Conductor and music historian Leon Botstein discusses the parallels between R. StraussDon Quixote and artwork about chivalry, accompanied by musical excerpts performed by The Orchestra Now with on-screen artworks.

20 min

Full performance
Richard Strauss Don Quixote
43 min

Audience Q&A

All timings are approximate.


60-Second Thumbnail: Explore this concert with TŌN violinist Dillon Robb

TŌN cellist Lucas Button on R. Strauss’ Don Quixote

R. Strauss’ Don Quixote: Mstislav Rostropovich, cello; Ulrich Koch, viola; Herbert von Karajan, conductor; and the Berliner Philharmoniker

Image: Attributed to Lorenz Helmschmid (German, Augsburg, ca. 1445–1516). Sallet of Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519), ca. 1490–95. Steel, copper alloy, gold, H. 12 in. (30.5 cm); W. 9 in. (22.9 cm); D. 12 3/8 in. (31.4 cm); Wt. 4 lb. 15.7 oz. (2261 g). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Gift of Edward S. Harkness, 1929 (29.156.45)

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