"I have in my hand a copy of the most infamous, the most scandalous, the most mischievous, the most blackguardly book that ever escaped burning at the hands of the common hangman. I have not read it: I would not soil my mind with such filth; but I have read what the papers say of it."
When Bernard Shaw puts the above words into the mouth of Roebuck Ramsden, he describes exactly the typical attitude of prejudice that has been assumed in many quarters toward Strauss's latest music-drama. "Elektra" has been condemned, over and over again, and chiefly by persons who have not "soiled their minds" by hearing it or consulting the piano score, for lack of melody, for noisiness, for imbearable cacophony, for complexity, for the enormous orchestra required to perform it. Strauss himself is roundly abused for his choice of "morbid" subjects, and his artistic sincerity is freely called in question.