|About this Recording
8.223218 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 18
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.
March) op. 56
Various newspapers confirm that the Strauss Orchestra's serenade took place outside the University on the evening of 3 June. None, however, mentions a performance of the promised Studenten-Marsch, nor is there any reference to the participation of the chorus of the Nationaltheater (by which name the Theater an der Wien had been known since 15 April 1848). Certainly Strauss's march was considered to be so little 'revolutionary' that, despite the state of martial law which still existed, it was published by H.F. Müller in March 1849. Equally certainly Johann's Studenten-Marsch was not the composition for which the young writer and music critic, Eduard Hanslick, had hoped when, on 3 September 1848 he lamented in the Wiener Zeitung: "The 13th of March thirsted for a Marseillaise. A German Marseillaise! – It is to be regretted that the Muse of Austria's composers has not given us a single really original freedom chorus and march".
The present recording utilizes the score for military band in the collection of the Wiener Stadt- und Landesbibliothek, Vienna.
(Streams of Lave, Waltz) op. 74
Ever the opportunist, the young Strauss could not ignore the widespread press reports in early 1850 of volcanic activity within Vesuvius, the volcano rising from the eastern margin of the Bay of Naples in Italy. Thus, on 29 January 1850, the 24-year-old composer/conductor organised a spectacular festivity in Vienna's Sofienbad-Saal, a benefit ball for himself promoted under the daring title of 'Ball in Vesuvius', for which he wrote his waltz Lava-Ströme. The magnificently programmatic Introduction to this work remains one of the finest in the entire Strauss repertoire in the space of 105 bars Johann stunningly portrays in music the first rumblings from deep inside the volcano and the first discharges of lava. Tension mounts following the briefest of lulls; the eruption grows more violent until the volcano finally explodes, unleashing cascades of molten lava into the smoke-filled air, only to stream in torrents down the sides of the mountain, engulfing all in its path. As a point of interest, Vesuvius did indeed erupt as anticipated, from 5-16 February 1850, causing terrible devastation.
The opening melody (Waltz 1A) of Lava-Ströme has proved itself highly serviceable: Eduard Strauss included it in his fascinating homage to his brother, Blüthenkranz Johann Strauss'scher Walzer op. 292 (1894) – a "Collection of the best loved waltzes from 1844 to the present – while Johann himself re-used it as the principal theme in his Jubilee Waltz of 1872.
Invitation à la Polka-Mazur (Invitation to the Polka-mazurka) op. 277
The new work – "which I have cobbled together", Strauss w rote to Carl Haslinger, his publisher in Vienna – was heard for the first time on 18 August (= 6 August, Russian calendar) at Johann's second benefit concert and, despite her husband's dismissive comments, an enthusiastic Jetty Strauss was able to inform Haslinger six days later that Invitation à la Polka-Mazur had "caused a furore". Published in Russia simply as Invitation, the piece received its, Viennese première under Johann's direction on 29 November 1863 in the Volksgarten at a festival concert for the benefit of Josef and Eduard Strauss.
The six individual sections of the Cagliostro-Quadrille, as was customary with this dance form, bore the traditional titles No. 1 ‘Pantalon’ No. 2 ‘Éte, No. 3 ‘Poule’, No. 4 'Trénis', No. 5 ‘Pastourelle’ and No. 6 ‘Finale’. The musical content of the piece is drawn substantially from Act 1 (‘Pantalon’, ‘Trenis’ and ‘Pastourelle’) and Act 2 (‘Poule’ and ‘Éte’ while Act 3 provides the source for the Finale and the opening melody of ‘Éte’.
Alexandra-Walzer (Grand Duchess Alexandra, Waltz) op. 181
Strauss made his Pavlovsk début on 18 May 1856 (= 6 May, Russian calendar) at the head of an orchestra comprising some 38 musicians, and gave daily concerts there until13 October (= 1 October). While the choice of music was left to his discretion, his contract required him to include music by the classical masters and contemporary composers alongside his own works. It was, however, this latter category which drew the greatest applause, and among the eight new works he w rote for Pavlovsk that year was the waltz Grossfürstin Alexandra, dedicated to Alexandra Jossiphovna, née Alexandra Friederike Henriette of Prussia (1830-1911), fifth daughter of Joseph, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg and wife of the Grand Duke Constantin Nikolaievich. Johann conducted the première of the waltz at his first benefit concert held on 26 June (= 14 June) and thereafter it regularly featured on programmes including those given before the Russian royal family. On the manuscript score, in Strauss's hand are the words: "Born in Russia, and styled in keeping with the cold climate", while to his Viennese publisher, Carl Haslinger, he wrote from Pavlovsk on 14 September 1856: "Enclosed find the Alexandra Walzer, kept in the Russian taste and thus indigestible. [Section] No. 5 of this waltz consists of two Russian songs".
Entweder – Oder!
Schnell-Polka (Either – or! Quick polka) op. 403
Johann was kept busy with the success of Der lustige Krieg: on 19 January 1882 he conducted the stage work's Berlin première at the Friedrich-Wilhelmstädtisches Theater, while back in Vienna he conducted the operetta's fiftieth performance at the Theater an der Wien on 27 January and its sixtieth on 6 February. Several of the separate orchestral numbers fashioned from its themes had already received their first performances and were now to be heard in the repertoire of military bands throughout Vienna. However, for the ball of the Concordia', the Vienna Authors' and Journalists' Association, held it the Sofienbad-Saal on 14 February, he provided two further examples the Lustige Krieg-Quadrille (op. 402) and his dapper quick polka Entweder – oder! – the latter dedicated (on later printed editions) to the 'Concordia'. Both works were conducted at the ball by the composer's brother, Eduard, who also presented the first public performance of the two pieces at a concert in the Musikverein on 26 February. The principal melody of Entweder – oder! is to be found in Violetta's marching song "Es war ein lustig' Abenteuer" (Act 2), while the music for the Trio section is drawn from the Act 1 Finale chorus, "Statt der Orgel", and the final section of the Act 2 Introduction, "Den Feind, den möcht' ich seh'n".
Alliance-Marsch op. 158
The "political opportunity" to which the Ost-Deutsche Post referred in its edition of 28 December 1854 was the announcement in Vienna on 16 December that year of the 'Treaty of Alliance' ('Allianz-Vertrag') signed by the ambassadors Baron Franz Adolph Bourqueney (for France) and John Fane Earl of Westmorland (for Great Britain and Ireland). The subject matter of the treaty was the Crimean War, in which Great Britain and France had been actively involved since 28 March 1854 – together with the Ottoman Empire and (from 1855) Sardinia-Piedmont – against Russia, whose expansionist ambitions in the Balkans had brought about the conflict. The opportunity of concluding an alliance with Great Britain offered the French Emperor, Napoleon III, the chance of realizing one of his principal goals. The Austrian government, though sympathetic to the allies, took no part in the war, despite the Russian occupation of the Danubian territories of Moldavia and Wallachia in July 1853.
Strauss conducted the first performance of his Alliance-Marsch in the Vienna Volksgarten on 26 December 1854 – during celebrations after the birthday of the Empress Elisabeth of Austria (24 December) – at the festive opening of the new 'Glass Salon' pavilion in the Wintergarten. The reporter for the Österreichischer Zuschauer (3.1.1855) noted that, in response to public demand for a larger venue for the well established winter musical entertainments in the Volksgarten, the Corti family had now provided an elegant and tastefully-decorated new building, designed by August von Siccardsburg (also co-designer of the later Vienna Court Opera House). The salon boasted illumination by gaslight and featured richly arranged plant displays and busts of the Austrian Emperor and Empress. Many of the general public voted with their feet in response to the high admission charges for the opening festivity, but despite this the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung (29.12.1854) reported: "The fairly numerous public gave a very favourable reception to Strauss's new march entitled 'Alliance March', which he performed alongside his most recent compositions and which had to be played da capo three times, as also the extremely successful 'Napoleon March' which, to thunderous applause, had to be repeated several times".
(Patronesses, Waltz) op. 264
(People of Leopoldstadt, Polka) op. 168
In Leopoldstadt, too, was to be found the ‘Zum Sperlbauer’ dance hall, known to the dance-loving Viennese simply as the ‘Sperl’. Opened in 1807 the venue had become virtually second home for the elder Johann Strauss after making his début there in 1829, though until the latter's death in 1849 his eldest son, Johann II, had found great difficulty in gaining the merest toehold at this leading entertainment establishment. But by 1855, when he wrote the skittish Leopoldstädter Polka in honour of the local populace, the younger Johann and his orchestra had long since become the Sperl's principal attraction. The work, first heard in the ‘Sperl’ on 29 January 1855, was Strauss's contribution to a ball given "for the benefit of the poor house in Leopoldstadt and the Jägerzeil"'. W. Tatzelt's engraving for the title page of the Leopoldstädter Polka presents a view across the Danube Canal (Donaukanal) with the old Schlagbrücke, which the writer Johann Ziegler describes as being "the only solid link, until 1872, between the old Rotenturm-Bastei [one of the oldest city fortifications] and Leopoldstadt".
Die Publicisten, Walzer
(The Publicists, Waltz) op. 321
Die Publicisten belongs to that period when Strauss was at the height of his creative powers as a composer of dance music; the waltzes Wiener Bonbons (op. 307), The Blue Danube (op. 314) and Artist's Life (op. 316) were already behind him, while Tales from the Vienna Woods (op. 325), Wine, Woman and Song (op. 333), and Wiener Blut (op. 354) were still to come. Themes from the Introduction of Die Publicisten feature in the Antal Dorati/David Lichine pastiche ballet, Graduation Ball (1940), as an introductory section to the 'Perpetuum Mobile' dance (No.10).
Stadt und Land,
Polka-Mazurka (Town and Country, Polka-mazurka) op.322
The contrast between rural and city life also left its mark on Johann's music, and appears to have inspired him to the polka-mazurka he wrote for an English-style promenade concert which he organised for 12 January 1868 in the spacious Blumen-Säle (Floral Halls) of the Wiener Gartenbaugesellschaft (Vienna Horticultural Society) on the Ringstrasse. In the event Johann's illness enforced the postponement of the concert for one week until 19 January, when the new work, Stadt und Land, was accorded an enthusiastic welcome by those attending the charity concert given in aid of the city's crèche. The piece also proved popular with audiences in Pavlovsk the following year when Johann introduced it at the Vauxhall Pavilion on 15 May 1869 (= 3 May, Russian calendar), and it was issued by Strauss's Russian publisher as Vilanella [Country Girl] Polka- Mazurka.
Walzer (City Hall Ball Dances, Waltz) op. 438
An amusing postscript is to be found in Strauss's letter of 25 February 1892, written to the publisher of Rathaus-Ball-Tänze, Fritz Simrock. Johann complains that he has found an error in the piano duet printed edition of the waltz "which spoils the whole melody; this mistake exists neither in the score, the parts, nor in the piano [solo] edition. As the composer I am thereby the most damaged – and I have more claim to conscientious performance than you have, my argumentative friend Fritz. You have effectively mutilated me. After that, am I supposed to say with best wishes? Yes, I'll say it anyway!"
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)
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.
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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