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8.223217 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 17
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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.

Freiheits-Lieder, Walzer (Songs of Freedom, Waltz) op. 52
Like the Revolutions-March (op. 54), Burschen-Lieder Walzer (op. 55), Studenten-Marsch (op. 56) and Liguorianer-Seufzer, Scherz-Polka (op. 57), the wallz Freiheils-Lieder – originally entitled Barrikaden-Lieder (‘Songs of the Barricades’) – numbers among the younger Johann Strauss’s compositions inspired by his support for the 'Gospel of Liberty, during the turbulent Vienna Revolution of 1848. As with these other works, the waltz betrays no features which can be construed as even vaguely 'revolutionary', but the musical products of Strauss's Muse nevertheless found a considerable following among the rebel ranks.

On 26 May 1848 the National Guard and the Academic Legion, assisted by large numbers of the general populace, erected 160 barricades in Vienna – the cue for this action being the government's decree that the Academic Legion was to be disbanded and the main hall of the University closed. A week later, on 2 June, the Wiener Zeitung carried an announcement from Strauss's publisher H.F.Müller: "'Freiheitslieder', Walzer op. 52 will shortly appear. This work was performed at the public festival in Zögernitz-Casino to the greatest applause". The festival had taken place on 28 May, but since the printers were also to be found on the barricades that day no newspapers appeared, and thus there were no first hand reports of events at Ferdinand Zögernitz's elegant Casino in the suburb of Ober-Döbling. Writing on the subject of 'Freiheitsmusik' (Freedom Music) in the Wiener Zeitung of 3 September 1848, however, Eduard Hanslick observed: "For the sake of completeness we would mention a further two waltz sequences, the 'Freiheitslieder' by Johann Strauss and the 'Katzenmusik' by Fahrbach, which will enjoy success, the former because of its pleasing melodies, the latter through its vigorous orchestral fun".

Armen-Ball-Polka (Poor People's Ball, Polka) op. 176
Vienna's 'dancing mania', at its most frenetic during the 1820s, 1830s and 1840s, coincided largely with a period of marked social change within the Austrian capital. Such was the public demand for dance halls, most of which sprung up in Vienna's suburbs, that officialdom contrived to regulate various aspects of these premises by the issue of dance hall licences. The owners responded by demanding set entrance charges, in turn leading the public to make ever higher demands of ballroom decor. One of the most enterprising and innovative of contemporary entrepreneurs was a German, Karl Schwender (1806-66), who in 1833 came to Vienna from Karlsruhe, working first as a waiter. Two years later he built a coffee-house on ground adjoining the palace of Baroness Pereira-Arnstein in the Viennese suburb of Braunhirschengrund. Over the years Schwender extended the property until, in 1865, it had developed into the vast 'Colosseum' entertainment complex with its three ballrooms, restaurants, kitchens and theatre.

On 7 January 1856, Schwender's popular establishment was the venue for a grand Reindorf charity ball. Reindorf, an independent suburb of Vienna, was in 1863 incorporated, with neighbouring Braunhirschengrund and Rustendorf, into the suburb of Rudolfsheim, which today forms part of Vienna's 15th district. The ball's organisers ensured maximum publicity for the event by engaging Johann Strauss to conduct the dance music, and it was "for the Grand Reindorf Poor People's Ball" that he composed his Armen-Ball-Polka – which some listeners may recall was developed into a major production number, "Six Drinks", for the 1972 MGM motion picture The Great Waltz.

Melodien-Quadrille (Melodies Quadrille) op. 112
Almost nine years before his Neue Melodien-Quadrille op. 254 (Volume 13), based on airs from operas by Donizetti, Bellini and Verdi, Johann Strauss had written a Melodien-Quadrille, with themes drawn exclusively from the stage works of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901).

The earlier quadrille was prompted by the Viennese première of Verdi's opera Rigoletto at the Kärntnertor-Theater on 12 May 1852. Though viciously savaged by the Viennese critics, the Italian composer was able to count on the outspoken support of two important adherents – one was the Emperor Franz Josef I and the other was Johann Strauss, of whom Verdi later said: "I revere him as one of my most highly gifted colleagues". Strauss's op. 112, first performed at a Volksgarten concert on 16 July 1852 as the Hesperiden-Quadrille, was subsequently published that September with the amended title: Melodien-Quadrille, nach Motiven von G. Verdi. The quadrille quotes themes from the operas Macbeth (1847) and Rigoletto (1851).

Windsor-Klänge, Walzer (Windsor Echoes, Waltz) op. 104
In 1849 the governments of Great Britain and Austria became divided over the question of Hungary. After Imperial forces had brutally crushed the revolution in Hungary and declared martial law, England became home for countless Hungarian refugees and many were the fund-raising events organised in London in support of their cause. The discord between the two governments persisted until late 1851 when Queen Victoria, anxious to smooth over the differences, despatched the eminent diplomat and lieutenant general John Fane, the 11th Earl of Westmorland (1784-1859) – formerly Lord Burghersh – to be her Ambassador in Vienna. Such was the estrangement between the two governments that Austria twice postponed the presentation of the envoy, though eventually he was well received by the Imperial Court in Vienna and his tenure there (1851-55) was immensely successful.

In private life the Earl, like his wife Priscilla, was a gifted musician and prolific composer, and his output includes several operas and cantatas, as well as a Grand Mass (which was performed at Vienna's Karlskirche). It was therefore natural that his residence at the Palais Coburg in Vienna attracted many of the capital's leading musical figures, among them the younger Johann Strauss. Strauss rapidly became the Earl's favourite conductor and, in addition to playing numerous compositions by both the Earl and Countess, he took part at all Westmorland's house festivities. On 10 January 1852, for example, Johann and his orchestra were on hand for a ball hosted by the Earl at the Palais Coburg, and for which Strauss composed the waltz Windsor-Klänge, dedicated to "Her Majesty Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland".

'S gibt nur a Kaiserstadt! 'S gibt nur a Wien! Polka (There's only one Imperial city! There's only one Vienna! Polka) op. 291
Johann derived the title of this polka from the refrain of a waltz duet in Aline, a 'Singspiel' (musical comedy) by Adolf Bäuerle, with music by Wenzel Müller, first seen at the Theater in der Leopoldstadt on 9 October 1822. The song, "Was macht denn der Prater", became an immensely popular hit, while its refrain – "Ja nur ein' Kaiserstadt, ja nur ein Wien" (Yes, only one Imperial city, yes only one Vienna) became a household phrase. Strauss's polka uses no music from Aline, though into its Finale he appropriately weaves a quotation from the beginning of Haydn's Austrian Hymn. ("Gott erhalte"). Johann conducted the Strauss Orchestra in the first Viennese performance of 'S gibt nur a Kaiserstadt! 'S gibt nur a Wien! on 4 December 1864 at a festival concert in the Volksgarten celebrating the twentieth anniversary of his public début at Dommayer's Casino. Like so many of Johann's compositions dating from the 1860s, however, 'S gibt nur a Kaiserstadt! 'S gibt nur a Wien! was actually unveiled before a Russian audience during one of Johann's highly successful summer concert seasons at Pavlovsk. Strauss featured the polka for the first time on the programme of his penultimate concert at the Vauxhall Pavilion on 8 October 1864 (= 26 September, Russian calendar), performing it under its original title of Vergiß mein nicht (‘Forget me not’).

Bürgersinn, Walzer (Public Spirit, Waltz) op. 295
A gently rolling, almost pastoral, Introduction heralds the splendid waltz the 'k.k. Hofball-Musikdirektor' Johann Strauss wrote for the Citizens' Ball held during the Vienna Carnival of 1865. Upon being granted the prestigious post of Director of Music for the Imperial-Royal Court Balls in February 1863 – a position he had twice earlier been denied because of what a confidential Court file deemed his "reckless, improper and profligate life" – Strauss stated his immediate intention to restrict his musical appearances "to the balls at the all-highest Court, the noble households or the closed corporations, and otherwise, at the very most, to the concerts in the k.k. Volksgarten since it is the Court locale". The annual Citizens' Ball, an important social occasion in the calendar of the middle class, had been inaugurated during the Biedermeier era. After the Vienna citizens' own militia regiments were disbanded during the 1848 Revolution, the young Emperor Franz Josef I sought to regain the support of the middle classes by placing at their disposal for their traditional ball the festive hall in the Habsburg's winter residence. Thus it was here, in the Redoutensaal of the Imperial Hofburg, that Johann conducted his waltz Bürgersinn, dedicated "to the Gentlemen Committee Members of the Citizens' Ball", on 7 February 1865.

Liebchen, Schwing' Dich! Polka-Mazurka (Sweetheart, sway! Polka-mazurka) op. 394
Strauss constructed his delightful polka-mazurka Liebchen, schwing' Dich! from music in his seventh operetta, Das Spitzentuch der Königin (‘The Queen's Lace Handkerchief’), which was mounted at Vienna's Theater an der Wien on 1 October 1880. The subject matter of the stage work, woven around the idealised figure of the poet Cervantes, inspired Johann to write a welter of finely crafted melodies which are characterised by a lightness and inventive charm. The libretto itself, however, was far less amusing than the story of its creation, for the first night critics recorded at least four librettists and their accomplices, while a court case which followed in the wake of the successful première unearthed even more collaborators!

While Das Spitzentuch der Königin has all but disappeared from the operetta stages of the world, many of its melodies live on in the separate orchestral numbers crafted from its score. The composer's brother, Eduard, conducted the first performance of Liebchen, schwing' Dich! on 6 March 1881 in the Vienna Musikverein, where it featured in a programme alongside the novelties which Johann and he had written for that year's Vienna Carnival. The individual themes of the polka-mazurka are to be found in the Act 2 Scene and Couplet, the Queen's song (Act 3) and the Act 1 Introduction.

Feen-Märchen, Walzer (Fairy Tales, Waltz) op. 312
So obviously does the plaintive theme featured in the Introduction and fifth waltz section of the lovely Feen-Märchen suggest itself for balletic treatment, that it would have been surprising had Antal Dorati not included it in the pastiche ballet Graduation Ball (1940). His arrangement of the theme provides the accompaniment for the pas de deux danced by 'The Scotsman and the Sylphide', and listeners may also recognise another melody from Feen-Märchen (Waltz 4A) as part of the first act duet, "Pepi! Er?", in the posthumous Strauss pastiche operetta Wiener Blut ( 1899) .

During the second half of 1866 – that fateful year when the Austrian army met bitter defeat at the hands of Prussian forces in Königgrätz – Johann took pleasure in participating with the Strauss Orchestra in several novelty concerts in the Vienna Volksgarten. It was in these idyllic open-air surroundings, on 18 November, that he conducted the first performances of the waltz Feen-Märchen before his adoring public at a benefit concert for his brothers, Josef and Eduard.

Fest-Polonaise für grosses Orchester (Festival Polonaise for full Orchestra) op. 352
In July 1871 Johann Strauss travelled to the fashionable German spa town of Baden-Baden to conduct at a series of concerts, at first alternating with the Bohemian conductor Miloslav Köennemann. The engagement was important for the Viennese maestro: the resort, which attracted many prominent personalities, enjoyed a European reputation and Strauss knew his activities would unfailingly be reported by the press, not only in Germany, but also in Austria, France, Great Britain, Russia and Scandinavia. Indeed, the day before the commencement of the season on 15 July, an additional concert was hurriedly mounted at the express request of1he German Empress Augusta, and reports of the "extraordinary success" of the event resulted in Strauss being invited to conduct in Berlin. On 25 August Johann left Baden-Baden for Berlin, taking with him a splendidly festive composition he intended for the German Emperor Wilhelm I (1797-1888). Regrettably no suitable opportunity presented itself to perform the piece – a stately polonaise – in Berlin, so Strauss instead despatched it to Vienna where his brother Eduard conducted it for the first time at his benefit concert in the Volksgarten on 15 September. As the Fest-Polonaise, the work was published for piano duet, though when Johann performed it the following year in Baden-Baden before the Imperial German couple it underwent a change of name, becoming instead the Kaiser Wilhelm-Polonaise. The full orchestral edition was issued under this new title and bore a dedication to Emperor Wilhelm, who rewarded Strauss by conferring upon him the Order of the Prussian Red Eagle.

Adelen-Walzer (Adele Waltz), op. 424
Johann Strauss and his second wife, Angelika (née Dittrich), were granted a divorce by consent on 9 December 1882, following Lili’s infidelity with the director of the Theater an der Wien, Franz Steiner. So ended months of anguish for the 57-year-old composer. For consolation he had earlier that year turned to a young widow, Adèle Strauss (1856-1930), who had known Johann's family for many years. Not until 15 August 1887, however, were the couple able to marry, the numerous obstacles to their union having finally been overcome. Adèle transferred from the Jewish faith to Protestantism, while Johann, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, became a Lutheran Protestant and renounced his Austrian citizenship for that of the German dukedom of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, in which city the couple were married.

On 10 January 1884 the first soirée of the 'Wiener Kunstfreunde. (Vienna Friends of Art) was held in the Musikverein. Johann himself did not come empty-handed, and presented each guest with a unique gift. Entitled '1884', it was a decorated page reproducing a facsimile of a waltz theme in Strauss's hand, signed by the composer and prefixed by the verse: "Horcht und nehmet mit nach Haus/Ein frisches Sträusschen von Johann Strauss" (Hark, and take back to your house/A fresh bouquet from Johann Strauss). Shortly after midnight this brief waltz passage was performed by the Strauss Orchestra, under the title Walzer 1884.

More than two years were to elapse before this capricious melody was to emerge, fully developed, as the opening theme of Johann’s Adelen-Walzer. The composer himself conducted the 80-man orchestra of the Imperial Russian Opera in the first performance of the new work on 28 April 1886 (= 16 April, Russian calendar) in the riding arena of the Horse Guards Regiment in St. Petersburg, to which city Strauss and his wife-to-be, Adèle, had been invited by 'The Russian Red Cross Society' and a local children's foundation. Viennese audiences first heard the Adelen-Walzer when Johann conducted it at his brother Eduard's benefit concert in the Musikverein on 7 November 1886.

Violetta, Polka française (Violetta, French polka) op. 404
Violetta is the principal female character in Johann Strauss's operetta Der lustige Krieg (‘The Merry War’), which had its première at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, on 25 November 1881. The Budapest-born soprano Caroline Finaly – who was later also to create the rôles of Annina in Strauss's Eine Nacht in Venedig (1883) and Laura in Millöcker's Der Bettelstudent (1883) – sang the part of Violetta, the widowed Countess of Lomellini who occupies a key position in bringing about an end to the 'merry war' being waged between the armies of Massa-Carrara and Genoa.

The attractive French polka which Strauss named after his eponymous heroine was one of ten separate orchestral numbers which he arranged on melodies from the score of Der lustige Krieg. The composer himself conducted the Strauss Orchestra in the first performance of the piece at the Musikverein building on 15 January 1882, and during the concert performed also five other works from the operetta. Featured in the Violetta Polka is music from the Act 1 duet for Violetta and Umberto ("Von einem Mann liess ich mich küssen"), the Act 3 duet "Zwei Monat sind es schon, dass wir die Kinder nicht mehr sah'n" and the Act 2 Ensemble "Me frown, ick wensch u gooden dag".

Kaiser Franz Joseph-Marsch op. 67
After the 1848 Vienna Revolution was crushed, the seriously ill Austrian Emperor Ferdinand was persuaded to abdicate in favour of a sovereign not compromised by any concessions or promises to the revolutionaries. On 2 December 1848 his 18-year-old nephew, Archduke Franz von Habsburg-Lothringen, was proclaimed Emperor of Austria. Thus began one of the most important chapters of European history, in which Franz Josef was to play a central rôle until his death in 1916. During his long reign architecture, art, literature and especially music flourished in all regions of the far-flung and multi-national Habsburg Empire.

The young Musikdirector Johann Strauss, who in 1848 had sided with the revolutionaries, was one of the first to sense the awakening of a new era under the youthful Franz Josef. On a personal level he had soon recognised that his political stance during the recent insurrection was proving damaging to his career. Anxious to proclaim his new-found loyalty to his monarch, but at the same time not wishing to parade his change of allegiance overtly on concert placards, Strauss introduced his Kaiser Franz Joseph-Marsch with a marked absence of publicity during August 1849. The work may well have featured for the first time at a "Preliminary Celebration of the Noble Birthday Festival of his Majesty the Emperor" given by Strauss on 16 August in Dommayer's Casino in Hietzing. It was most certainly played on 20 August, two days after the actual birthday, at a festival ball held in Dengler's Bierhalle in the suburb of Fünfhaus. The glittering event, promoted under the title of "Austria's Joyful Future", also boasted splendid illuminations in the garden and was held to celebrate both Franz Josef's birthday and Austria's recent signing of peace with Italy.

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 Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava)
The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), the oldest symphonic ensemble in Slovakia, was founded in 1929. The orchestra's first conductor was František Dyk and over the past sixty years it has worked under the batons of several prominent Czech and Slovak conductors.

The orchestra has made many recordings for NAXOS ranging from the ballet music of Tchaikovsky to more modern works by composers such as Copland, Britten & Prokofiev. For Marco Polo the orchestra has recorded works by Glazunov, Glière, Rubinstein and other post-romantic composers.

Alfred Eschwe
Alfred Eschwe was born in 1949 in Vienna where he later attended the Vienna Conservatory in order to study piano, violin and conducting. From 1972 to 1975 he studied at the Vienna Academy of Music with Professor Hans Swarowsky. After a series of engagements in musical theatres throughout Austria and Germany he was appointed in 1989 as permanent conductor of the Vienna Volksoper. He has conducted many distinguished orchestras including the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.


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