In 1990 a short score of Strauss’s late masterpiece Metamorphosen was discovered in Switzerland and acquired by the Bavarian State Library in Munich. It is headed 'Metamorphosen. Andante (für 2 Violinen, 2 Bratschen, 2 Celli[,] Contrabaß) Richard Strauss'. This gives rise to the assumption that the composer had clearly conceived the piece as scored for seven strings and then changed his mind on receiving a commission from Paul Sacher to write a work for a larger string group. The short score bears the date 31 March 1945 at the end, the full score for twenty-three strings having already been started on 13 March.
Rudolf Leopold, concert cellist and professor of cello at the University of Music, Graz, prepared the septet performing version of Metamorphosen, of which the study score was published in 1996. He explains that, for the most part, the 23-part version consists of doublings. “In the realisation of the 'original version' for string sextet and double bass I have made use of both the short score and the final score so that the complete tonal image appears in a chamber music format whilst retaining certain interesting details from the short score (for example the original closing modulation).”