|About this Recording
8.223203 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 3
The Johann Strauss Edition
Johann Strauss II, the most famous and enduringly successful of 19th-century light music composers, was born in Vienna on 25 October 1825. Building upon the firm musical foundations laid by his father, Johann Strauss I (1804-1849) and Joseph Lanner (1801-1843), the younger Johann (along with his brothers, Josef and Eduard) achieved so high a development of the classical Viennese waltz that it became as much a feature of the concert hall as of the ballroom. For more than half a century Johann II captivated not only Vienna but also the whole of Europe and America with his abundantly tuneful waltzes, polkas, quadrilles and marches. The thrice-married 'Waltz King' later turned his attention to the composition of operetta, and completed 16 stage works besides more than 500 orchestral compositions – including the most famous of all waltzes, The Blue Danube (1867). Johann Strauss II died in Vienna on 3 June 1899.
The Marco Polo Strauss Edition is a milestone in recording history, presenting, for the first time ever, the entire orchestral output of the 'Waltz King'. Despite their supremely high standard of musical invention, the majority of the compositions have never before been commercially recorded and have been painstakingly assembled from archives around the world. All performances featured in this series are complete and, wherever possible, the works are played in their original instrumentation as conceived by the 'master orchestrator' himself, Johann Strauss II.
Mountain Songs, Waltz op. 18 (Berglieder)
Such was the setting in which the younger Johann Strauss introduced his evocative waltz Berglieder, a work which already demonstrates the composer's consummate mastery of orchestral writing. The unaccompanied horn solo in the introduction, and the use of the instrument in the opening waltz, at once establishes the alpine atmosphere of the piece. Although not designated as such, Berglieder is strictly speaking a waltz written in the style of the Austrian Ländler , an unsophisticated rustic ancestor of the Viennese Waltz itself.
Practical Joke, Polka op. 17 (Jux-Polka)
Strauss Father's position in Vienna's musical life was now unassailable, and with orchestral forces exceeding 200 musicians at his command, he continued to dominate proceedings in the Austrian capital's major dance establishments. His son, Johann II, had to content himself with playing in the smaller venues, and 24 January 1846 – the very date of Strauss Father's appointment – found him at the Sträussel-Säle in the Theater in der Josefstadt building, conducting the music for the Industrial Ball. It was on this occasion that he gave the first performance of his merry Jux-Polka. Johann never divulged the exact nature of the 'practical joke', but it may well have been connected with premature newspaper reports of his supposed romantic involvement with the ballerina Kathi Lanner, daughter of the late composer/conductor, Joseph Lanner.
Vienna Punch Songs, Waltz op. 131 (Wiener
Emblazoned on the title-page of Strauss's waltz is Saphir's motto: "To season the raw dough of life, let us love, sing, drink, waltz!" The verse is a parody of lines in the poem Punschlied by the German author Schiller, who recommends four ingredients for making punch: "Lemon, sugar, water and – spirit". The popularity in Vienna at that time of the English humorous-satirical weekly magazine, Punch, apparently prompted Strauss's music publisher to incorporate the 'Punch' character on the title-page of the first piano edition of Johann's waltz, and to adopt the English spelling.
Demons Quadrille op. 19
Small wonder that, for a festival at Dommayer's Casino on 15 October 1845 celebrating the first anniversary of his début there, Johann chose to entitle his latest composition: Dämonen-Quadrille.
Cheerful Greeting, Polka op. 127
Love Songs, Wallz op. 114 (Liebeslieder)
Johann's Liebeslieder may be considered the first of the composer's 'master waltzes', demonstrating the young Waltz King's individuality through sometimes daring developments in melody, harmony and rhythm. Originally announced under the title Liebesgedichte (‘Love Poems), and given its first performance by Johann in the Vienna Volksgarten on 18 June 1852 under the title Liebesständchen (‘Love Serenade’), the enchanting Liebeslieder Walzer even won over the usually austere music critic, Eduard Hanslick. Writing in the Wiener Zeitung he observed: "Those bad-tempered, old-fashioned people, whose narrow-mindedness goes so far as to call today's dance music contemptible, should be serenaded with ashaming generosity by the 'Liebeslieder' of the young Strauss."
Pleasure Train, Quick Polka op. 281
As public confidence in the new trains increased so the railway network expanded, opening up the Austrian countryside. During the 1860s the Southern Railway, for example, operated highly popular 'pleasure trains', offering surprise journeys with mystery destinations. This attraction provided the younger Johann Strauss with the title for the lively and descriptive quick polka he composed for the Association of Industrial Societies' Ball, held in the Redoutensaal on 19 January 1864 – Vergnügungszug (‘Pleasure Train’).
Satanella-Quadrille op. 123 (Satanella-Quadrille)
The first piano edition of the Satanella Quadrille bears a dedication "to the celebrated artiste Maria [sic] Taglioni", and depicts Taglioni in a scene from the ballet.
The Austrians, Waltz op. 22 (Die
Aesculapius, Polka op. 130
Strauss's choice of title was an apposite one, for Aesculapius was the Greek god of medicine possessed of remarkable, even miraculous, powers of healing. His life on earth was brought to an end when Zeus, fearing that the physician might render all men immortal, ordered him to be slain by a thunderbolt.
Lind Songs, Waltz op. 21 (Lind-Gesaenge)
On 28 May, Dommayer's Casino in Hietzing was the venue for a festival soirée given in honour of the Swedish soprano. For the occasion Johann Strauss the Younger wrote his gentle Lind-Gesänge Walzer, dedicating it to Jenny Lind whose portrait adorns the first piano edition of the work.
Amazons Polka op. 9 (Amazonen-Polka)
The Viennese public were first introduced to Strauss junior's Amazonen-Polka during a carnival event at Dommayer's Casino, Hietzing, in January 1845. The work passed relatively unnoticed, since it was Johann Strauss Father and his orchestra who again dominated that year's carnival festivities in the Austrian capital.
CSSR State Philharmonic Orchestra
Alfred Walter has appeared as a guest conductor in various parts of the world. In Vienna he has worked as guest conductor at the State Opera and in 1986 was given the title of Professor by the Austrian Government. In 1980 he was awarded the Golden Medal of the International Gustav Mahler Society.
Close the window