This piece was the last symphonic poem written by Strauss, a genre which gained the composer popularity in the late 1880s and 1890s with works such as Don Juan (1888), Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks (1895), Also Sprach Zarathustra (1896), Don Quixote (1897), and A Hero's Life (1897–98). By the time of An Alpine Symphony's composition, however, Strauss had turned his attention away from the genre of tone poems and had become well-established as one of the period's greatest operatic composers.
Though considered to be one of Strauss's lesser-performed works (for a number of reasons, including the great number of musicians required), the piece is popular enough that in 1981 a recording of An Alpine Symphony made with Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic became the first compact disc ever to be pressed.
More pieces by Strauss
- Morgen! (Op.27, No. 4)
- Oboe Concerto