One day Romain Rolland shared a curious observation with Richard Strauss: ‘I am surprised and amused that you have some musical phrases that are somewhat closely connected to your personality. They are as inseparable from you as the expression on your face, your forehead and your eyes. It seems that some phrases convey your entire essence. I have never noticed it to this extent in other composers.’ It is interesting that Rolland connected the ‘musical phrases’ of Strauss not with the thoughts or feelings of the author, but only with the appearance, facial expressions or features – of course, these are the individual and inalienable, but for musical associations they would seem the least suitable. It is, without doubt, a half-joking remark but nevertheless catches something truthful and essential. If we look at the twists and turns of Strauss’ journey we can be convinced that the analogy could hardly be otherwise. His creative life was extremely prolonged. Eighty of the eighty five years he was alive, he was composing music. He wrote eight tone poems, fifteen operas, more than one hundred and fifty songs and many other works. In addition to this, one of the most astonishing features of his music is its stylistic diversity.