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8.223216 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 16
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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, Joseph 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.

Liguorianer Seufzer "Scherz-Polka (Liguorian Sighs, Joke Polka) op. 57
The political troubles in Vienna during 1848 inspired a number of pro-Revolutionary compositions from the 22-year-old Johann Strauss – amongst them the cheerfully satirical polka Liguorianer Seufzer, which he wrote upon his return to Vienna that May following a lengthy concert tour to the Balkans. The polka took its name from the Liguorians, a Jesuit religious order known also as the Redemptorists, much disliked in Vienna because they endorsed Chancellor Klemens Metternich's hated police-state. After the outbreak of Revolution in Vienna on 13 March 1848 the Liguorians were temporarily expelled from the city, and Strauss took the oppor1unity to ridicule its members with this 'joke polka' – complete with its caterwauling Trio ("Ligouri ci gouri gouriani ani ani") mocking the name of the Order's founder, the recently canonised Alfonso Maria dei Liguori (1696-1787).

Not surprisingly, this enter1aining work found great and immediate favour with the Viennese public when Strauss first conducted it on 3 June 1848 at 'Zur blauen Flasche', a popular tavern in the suburb of Lerchenfeld. Similar expressions of enthusiasm were not, however, for1hcoming from either the authorities or the official censor -who promptly confiscated the polka's first piano edition soon after its publication.

Sängerfahrten, Walzer (Singers' Journeys, Waltz) op. 41
"Most esteemed Gentlemen! Your splendid work, so successful for Art, which has found the most brilliant recognition in all circles of Vienna, prompts me also to give you a feeble demonstration of the fact that I very much enjoy your excellent achievements, and how stimulating an effect these have had on me. It is up to everyone to work within his own sphere and in his own way, and therefore I am being so forward as to make you the offer of accepting the dedication of a waltz entitled 'Die Sängerfahrten', composed by me for this purpose. If the results of my meagre talent give you only a part of the pleasure that your immense vigour has given to me, then it will find its most handsome reward therein."

With these words the 21-year-old Johann Strauss respectfully addressed himself for the first time to the influential Wiener Männergesang-Verein (Vienna Men's Choral Association) on 9 June 1847, just two days before its members left for Greifenstein on one of their artistic excursions (dubbed 'Sängerfahrten') into the surrounding countryside of Vienna. Reportedly with an augmented body of seventy musicians, Strauss gave the première of his graceful and richly-instrumented orchestral waltz Sängerfahrten at a charity performance in the Theater an der Wien on 19 June 1847, and the Männergesang-Verein's swiftly written letter of acceptance guaranteed that the published piano edition of the work bore a dedication "to the honourable Men's Choral Association in Vienna".

Zigeunerin-Quadrille (The Bohemian Girl Quadrille) op. 24
The Zigeunerin-Quadrille was the second of three dance music compositions by the younger Johann Strauss to draw upon material from a stage work by the Irish-born composer Michael William Balfe (1808-70). In this instance Strauss arranged his quadrille on melodies from the most successful of all Balfe's operas, The Bohemian Girl, based on Miguel de Cervantes's novel La Preciosa. The opera had its première at the Drury Lane Theatre, London, on 27 November 1843, and was mounted at Vienna's Theater an der Wien (as Die Zigeunerin) on 24 July 1846, where it ran for thirty-one performances until the end of March 1848.

At this time a successful theatrical première was the signal for the outbreak of fierce composition as Vienna's composers of dance music, above all the elder Johann Strauss, vied with each other to arrange quadrilles on themes from the new work. Both Strausses, father and son, were attracted to Die Zigeunerin, and each hastened to weave its melodies into the six strictly regimented figures comprising the popular ballroom dance. In this instance the race was won by the younger man: at the very latest his Zigeunerin-Quadrille was first played at Dommayer's Casino in the suburb of Hietzing on 2 August 1846. Not until over a week later, at a summer festival in the Volksgarten on 11 August, was his father able to present his own Zigeunerin-Quadrille.

Interestingly, Johann the Younger's Zigeunerin-Quadrille shares with his father's work a total of six themes from Balfe's opera, only two of which (including the second theme of the attractive Finale section) feature in identical positions within their respective quadrilles. It is also interesting that neither man made use of what has become the most famous aria in the opera, "I dream't I dwelt in marble halls". The opening figure (Pantalon) in the younger Strauss's quadrille quotes complete from the exhilarating Act I Galop in The Bohemian Girl, while perhaps rather surprisingly, the father's work omits it altogether.

Schnellpost-Polka (Express Mail Polka) op. 159
Although not designated as such on its printed edition, the Schnellpost-Polka has the distinction of being the very first 'Schnell-Polka' (quick polka) in the Strauss family's repertoire. The hectic and strenuous galop, so popular in Vienna's ballrooms during the late-1830s and 1840s, had been deemed injurious to health and had been outlawed by the authorities. The composers of dance music were obliged to respect this ruling, and it was only in the 1850s that Johann Strauss began to introduce the (only slightly!) less frenetic Schnell-Polka. Yet the Schnellpost-Polka seems to have caused little interest when the composer conducted it for the first time at a St. Katharine's Day ball on 27 November 1854 in Schwender's new entertainment establishment in the suburb of Rudolfsheim. In common with other of Johann's compositions launched during that autumn, the new polka found an indifferent response from a public much more concerned with the ravages of a cholera epidemic in the city.

The late Professor Dr Max Schönherr commented that the title was doubtless suggested to Strauss by two Viennese publications – Moritz Saphir's Schnellpost für Literatur, Theater und Geselligkeit and the earlier Wiener Schnellpost – although in his choice of title, and in the style of the composition, Johann indicated a dance piece which was to be played quickly.

Freuden-Salven, Walzer (Salvos of Joy, Waltz) op. 171
The extent to which the younger Johann Strauss endeavoured to ingratiate himself with the Imperial authorities – and indeed with the Austrian Emperor himself – after his support for the revolutionaries during the events of 1848 had proved prejudicial to his career, is discernible in the many compositions he wrote testifying to his new-found allegiance for the monarchy. When, therefore, on 12 June 1855 the Emperor Franz Josef I journeyed to Galicia – that portion of Poland lying on the northern slopes of the Carpathians which constituted an Austrian crownland between 1772 and 1918 – his return afforded Strauss a further opportunity to display his loyalty. For a festival in the Volksgarten on 17 July 1855 celebrating the monarch's arrival back in Vienna, the young composer wrote his waltz Freuden-Salven, in which the 'salvos' of the title are effectively 'fired' by Strauss in a series of forte chords most clearly heard in the Introduction and opening waltz number. Moreover, Johann took no chance that his allegiance might be overlooked, and ensured that the piano edition of his new work proclaimed on its title page: "Freuden-Salven Walzer...on the safe return of his Imperial-Royal Apostolic Majestythe Emperer Franz Josef Ion 9 July 1855".

Fürst Bariatinsky-Marsch (Prince Bariatinsky March) op. 212
Putti merrily playing trumpets and timpani adorn the cover illustration for the first piano edition of this march, named after the Russian Prince Alexander Ivanovich Bariatinsky (1815-79). In 1856 Bariatinsky had been appointed commander-in-chief of the Caucasian army and deputy to the Tsar, and was later created a field marshal. Johann composed the march during his 1858 concert season at the Vauxhall Pavilion in Pavlovsk, and conducted its first performance there on 10 August (= 29 July, Russian calendar). It is possible that the Prince may have attended Strauss's concerts and expressed particular appreciation for the latter's waltz Juristen-Ball-Tänze (op. 177) since its opening melody is used as the principal theme of the Trio in the Fürst Bariatinsky-Marsch. Moreover there is, perhaps coincidentally, a passing resemblance between the march's opening melody and the main theme of Strauss's op. 176, Armen-Ball-Polka.

After the final Pavlovsk concert Johann travelled to Moscow and thence to Vienna, where he reappeared in public at the head of the Strauss Orchestra in the Volksgarten on 21 November 1858 for a 'Festival Concert on the safe return from St. Petersburg'. Alongside the other compositions written for his most recent Russian season he took the opportunity to introduce his home audience to the Bariatinsky-Marsch, but the work evidently found little favour and thereafter featured only rarely in his concerts.

Studenten-Polka (Students Polka) op. 263
On 24 February 1862 the impressive and spacious interior of the Imperial Redoutensaal in the Hofburg was the setting for the first ever Students' Ball to be organised in Vienna. The glittering event was held under the patronage of a dozen ladies from leading Viennese society, and the Strauss Orchestra was engaged to provide the dance music. Johann paid his respects with two specially composed works, the Patronessen Walzer op. 264 (Volume 18) and the Studenten-Polka.

The cheerful scene of carousing students depicted on the title page of the Studenten-Polka is reflected in the mood of this lighthearted carnival-time work which Strauss based on popular student songs and dedicated "to the Gentlemen University Students in Vienna". The main section of the polka quotes "Gaudeamus igitur" and "Sind wir nicht zur Herrlichkeit geboren?", while "Wohlauf nun getrunken den herrlichen Wein" provides the source material for the Trio.

Motoren, Walzer (Motors, Waltz) op. 265
Despite the growing musical stature of his younger brother, Josef, Johann Strauss once more reigned supreme over the numerous festivities of the busy 1862 Vienna Carnival. Among more than sixty balls at which Johann conducted during the season was that of the technical students at Vienna University, held in the Sofienbad-Saal on 10 February. The wide vocabulary employed by the ever-innovative engineering profession provided an unending source of apposite titles for Vienna's dance composers and for his new waltz, dedicated to the technical students, Johann lighted upon one of the more obvious – Motoren.

By the close of the 1862 Carnival 'campaign' Strauss was physically drained. Soan afterwards Vienna's newspapers carried the news that Eduard Strauss, Johann's youngest brother, was to make his début with the family orchestra that April as a conductor of concerts. It is clear that Johann desired Eduard, rather than Josef, to deputise for him at the head of the Strauss orchestra during his absences abroad, and to be the interpreter of his (Johann's) music.

Éljen Magyar! Schnell-Polka (Long Live the Magyar! Quick polka) op. 332
Immediately after the close of the official 1869 Vienna Carnival calendar, Johann and Josef Strauss began preparations for their joint Russian summer season of concerts in Pavlovsk from 9 May (= 27 April, Russian calendar) until 10 October (= 28 September). But a number of concert engagements had to be fulfilled before their departure, including a journey by the Strauss orchestra under the direction of all three brothers, Johann, Josef and Eduard, to the Hungarian town of Pest on the banks of the Danube. To coincide with the opening of Pest's imposing new Redoutensaal building, the brothers had organised two concerts there on 16 and 17 March. It was at the first of these that Johann conducted his quick polka Éljen a Magyar!, composed especially for the occasion and dedicated "to the Hungarian Nation". From his early days as a composer Johann was as much at home with the music of Hungary as he was with that of his native Vienna, and this exciting work, further enhanced at its première by the participation of the Budapest Men's Choral Association, was triumphantly applauded and had to be repeated several times. The Coda of the work features a fleeting quotation from the Rákóczi March, which Berlioz had earlier utilised in his Damnation of Faust (1846), but which owes its origins to the patriotic Magyar Rákóczi song.

La Berceuse, Quadrille (The Lullaby Quadrille) op. 194
The Vienna Carnival of 1857 was not marked by any particular high spot. Since the Austrian Emperor and Empress were in Italy no balls were held at Court, and only a very few festivities took place in the palaces of the nobility and embassy buildings. Johann and Josef Strauss were nevertheless kept extremely busy with the usual round of dedications which they were commissioned to compose for the numerous balls of the capital’s various associations and professional organisations. Their tally of new works played at that year’s 'Garnival Revue' totalled thirteen, nine of them by Johann – amongst them his quadrille La Berceuse. After much discussion and delay, the nobility and townsfolk of Vienna had pledged their support for the establishment of day nurseries, and a fund-raising Society Ball was held in the Sofienbad-Saal on 2 February 1857 to further this worthwhile project. Strauss's suitably-entitled La Berceuse was written especially for the occasion. Of interest is a letter written by Johann in May from Pavlovsk to his publisher in Vienna, advising that he was working on the score for the 'Trenis' figure (= 4th section) of the quadrille. From this one may infer that either the first performance lacked this particular figure (as was customary in quadrilles danced elsewhere in Europe) or, more likely, that the composer was not satisfied with his original version.

Bürgerweisen, Walzer (Civic Airs, Waltz) op. 306
Those carefree revellers at the numerous dance festivities of Vienna's 1866 Carnival season could not have known that within a few months Austria would be defeated by the might of Prussia in a bitter war which would mark the further disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and change her political fortunes forever. But for the meantime the Viennese lost themselves in the many delights of their traditional 'Fasching' (Carnival). The three Strauss brothers participated in the various musical events, providing a record number of new compositions – 22 in all. Among the seven contributed by Johann was his lovely waltz Bürgerweisen, dedicated to "the Gentlemen Committee Members of the Civic Ball", and first heard at the 'Bürger-Ball' on 24 January 1866 in the magnificent surroundings of the Imperial Redoutensaal.

Johann was later to re-use melodies from his Bürgerweisen Walzer for the pastiche Manhattan Waltzes, which he arranged for his American visit of 1872. This work, in turn, he adapted, and it saw publication in Vienna the following year as Walzer-Bouquet No.1.

Brautschau, Polka (Looking for a Bride, Polka) op. 417
Der Zigeunerbaron (‘The Gypsy Baron’), Johann Strauss's tenth operetta, opened at Vienna's Theater an der Wien on 24 October 1885 – the eve of the composer's sixtieth birthday. The libretto's colourful setting, inspired by Mór Jokai's novel Saffi, has a factual background rooted in history, and Strauss's musical score achieved a perfect fusion of Hungarian passion and Viennese sentimentality. The première was a triumph, and the critic of the Fremdenblatt observed: "The riotous applause which greeted Herr Strauss, and which broke out after every theme of the Overture, repeated itself after each vocal number...Fully half the operetta had to be encored".

Adopting his, by now, customary practice, Strauss reworked many of the operetta's melodies into separate orchestral numbers. For the most part these six pieces – a waltz, a quadrille and four polkas – were first heard during 1885 at concerts in the Musikverein given by the Strauss Orchestra. Such was the case with the polka Brautschau, whose première the composer's brother Eduard conducted on Sunday 29 November 1885. The work has, rather surprisingly, not held its place in concert repertoire, for it features music from two of the operetta's most popular numbers: Zsupán's Act 1 aria "Ja, das Schreiben und das Lesen" and the Act 2 trio "Darum nur klopfe, klopfe, klopfe". The polka's title derives from the Act 1 maidens' chorus, "Hochzeitskuchen, bitte zu versuchen, kommt und schaut, hier die Braut!" (‘Try the wedding cake, come and look, here's the bride!’)

Programme notes © 1990 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.

Czecho-Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra (Košice)
The East Slovakian town of Košice boasts a long and distinguished musical tradition, as part of a province that once provided Vienna with musicians. The State Philharmonic Orchestra is of relatively recent origin and was established in 1968 under the conductor Bystrik Rezucha. Subsequent principal conductors have included Stanislav Macura and Ladislav Slovák, the latter succeeded in 1985 by his pupil Richard Zimmer. The orchestra has toured widely in Eastern and Western Europe and plays an important part in the Košice Musical Spring and the Košice International Organ Festival.

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. The orchestra has contributed several successful volumes to the complete compact disc Johann Strauss II and for Naxos has recorded a varied repertoire.

The orchestra has received outstanding reviews of its volumes in the complete Johann Strauss edition. Gramophone praised in "sparkling playing" and Fanfare its "good feel for the music".

Alfred Walter
Alfred Waller was born in Southern Bohemia in 1929 of Austrian parents. He studied at the University of Graz and in 1948 was appointed assistant conductor to the Opera of Ravensburg. At the age of 22 he became conductor of the Graz Opera, where he continued until 1965, while serving at Bayreuth as assistant to Hans Knappertsbusch and Karl Böhm. From 1966 until 1969 he was Principal Conductor of the Durban Symphony Orchestra in South Africa, followed by a period of 15 years as General Director of Music in Münster.

Alfred Waller 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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