The composer Richard Strauss can be seen as the last German composer who extensively composed in the Romantic style. Born in 1864, he was brought up with music from the beginning, as his dad was a Horn player in the Orchestra. With his formal education from Hans von Bulow and Alexander Ritter, he had from the beginning a very thorough school. Later on, as a young composer, Strauss got very influenced from Liszt, Wagner and Brahms. At the beginning of Strauss his career he started out as a conductor in Weimar, Berlin and Vienna.
His music is characterized by long melodic lines that are often altered by chromatic modulations. The way Strauss used harmonies was a big influence in the German music after him, making himself one of the most important figures of the first twenty years of the 20th century. For Strauss, the melody was the main aspect of its music. This opposed from his French contemporaries where the harmony was the main aspect of their musical language, this can be seen in the music from Debussy.
Strauss became famous mainly for his operas and tonal poems. Among the most famous ones are 'Ein Heldenleben', 'Don Juan', 'Aldus Sprach Zarathustra' and 'Don Quixote'. The way he was expressing pictures with music is extraordinary. This makes his music very expressive. This was also because he had a great sense of using the orchestra and in orchestration. He wrote many references in his scores for the performers to express how he felt that the music should be performed.
It is also noteworthy that Strauss wrote a great deal of songs, approximately 200. These were mainly written for the Soprano Pauline de Ahna, whom he married in 1894. In the beginning of his admiration for her, he was inspired to write his Violin Sonata, that is one of the highlights of the late 19th-century German violin-piano repertoire.