|About this Recording
8.223213 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 13
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.
Fidelen-Polka (Jolly Folk, Polka) Op. 26
Walzer im Ländlerstil (Zillerthal Folk, Waltz in Ländler-style) Op. 30
(Dancing Bear, Polka) Op. 134
Dedicatee of the polka was Countess Julia Batthyáni, née Countess von Apraxin, one of the most entertaining personalities in the art-loving aristocracy of the Austrian Empire. The Countess was a capricious lady about whom numerous scandals circulated, and it may not be too far-fetched to venture that Strauss intended the Countess herself as the bear-leader, with men as the bears whom she caused to dance!
(Sirens, Waltz) Op. 164
The titles Johann Strauss gave his waltz dedications for the technical students frequently echoed the scientific vocabulary of the day, like Motors, Sound Waves, Cycloids and Nodal Figures. With Sirenen, however, one can only guess whether Strauss had in mind either the mechanical warning device or those sinister sea-nymphs of classical mythology: the ornate title page illustration reveals nothing, while there is little in the music to indicate 'sirens' either of this world or any other! Some listeners may hear in the haunting Introduction the song of the Sirens, while others may choose to interpret the sustained horn note heard under the melody of the opening waltz (repeated in the Coda and featured elsewhere for horn and woodwind) as an orchestral imitation of the mechanical siren.
(Patriots March) Op. 8
By way of thanks for the honour bestowed upon him, Johann II dedicated his Patrioten-Marsch to "the Officer-Corps of the honourable 2nd Vienna Citizens' Regiment", and performed it for the first time on 18 August 1845 at a Tyrolean Festival organised in the Tivoli amusement park in the suburb of Meidling.
(Demolition Men, Polka) Op. 269
Johann's Demolirer-Polka may have been given its première during the summer of 1862. However, its first reported performance, together with that of the waltz Carnevals-Botschafter op. 270 (Volume 8), was conducted by the composer at a soirée in the 'Sperl' dance hall on 22 November 1862.
(Thermal Springs, Waltz) Op. 245
The work was to prove a particular favourite with Russian audiences when Johann introduced it during his series of concerts in Pavlovsk during summer 1861, and it remained a staple of his repertoire there for the next two summer seasons. The composer himself wrote in 1861 from Pavlovsk to his Vienna publisher, Carl Haslinger: "Thermen is giving enormous pleasure here – I don't understand it – why should it be so? – Every concert has to have Thermen on the programme; by order of the management!!! It's too silly!!!"
Motiven aus der Oper: Die Belagerung von Rochelle
Balfe himself conducted the Viennese première of the opera, entitled Die Belagerung von Rochelle, at the Theater an der Wien on 24 October 1846. The lead rôle was sung by Jetty Treffz, later the first wife of the younger Johann Strauss. For his part, the 21-year-old Viennese dance music composer, like his father, had already arranged some quadrilles on earlier Balfe stage works, and he now hurriedly prepared one on themes from this latest opera. The plan, however, misfired: by the time of the quadrille's première on 15 November at Dommayer's Casino in Hietzing, the opera had been dropped from the repertoire after just three performances.
Schnell-Polka (Let's away! Quick polka) Op. 383
Melodien-Quadrille (New Melodies Quadrille) Op. 254
Was sich liebt, neckt sich, Polka française (Lovers are
fond of teasing, French polka) Op. 399
Johann arranged a total of ten separate orchestral numbers from the melodies in Der lustige Krieg, among them the French polka Was sich liebt, neckt sich, which he conducted for the first time during his brother Eduard's benefit concert in the Musikverein on 15 January 1882. The polka 's themes are derived from the Act 3 Ensemble "Das grössere ist dick und schwer" and from Violetta's Act 1 Arietta. The first piano edition of the work bears the composer's dedication: "To Herr Alexander D. Golz [sic], in memory of 22 March 1882" – a reference to a charity festival in the Musikverein, given in aid of holiday camps for poor children, at which Strauss conducted and the artists Goltz (1857-1944) and Udel held a fund-raising auction.
(Egyptian March) Op. 335
The opening of this artificial waterway created considerable interest around the world, and in Vienna gave rise to Anton Bittner's burlesque, Nach Ägypten (Into Egypt), presented at the Theater an der Wien on 26 December that year. It was here as a processional march for Egyptian warriors before the final scene, that the Viennese public first became acquainted with the sinuous themes of Johann Strauss's Ägyptischer Marsch. The composer, ever mindful of current affairs, had in fact written the piece for his 1869 summer concert season in Pavlovsk – shared that year with his brother Josef – and had conducted its première at the Vauxhall Pavilion there on 6 July (= 24 June, Russian calendar) at a benefit concert for the two brothers.
Programme notes © 1989 Peter Kemp. The Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain.
The author is indebted to Professor Franz Mailer for his assistance in the preparation of these notes.
Philharmonic Orchestra (Košice)
For Marco Polo the orchestra has made the first compact disc recordings of rare works by Granville Bantock and Joachim Raff. Writing on the last of these, one critic praised the orchestra for its competence comparable to that of the major orchestras of Vienna and Prague, and for its willingness to undertake repertoire of this kind without condescension. The orchestra has contributed several successful volumes to the complete compact disc Johann Strauss II and for Naxos has recorded a varied repertoire.
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.
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