|About this Recording
8.223221 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 21
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.
Walzer (Glow-worms, Waltz) Op. 82
Aside from his musical gifts, the younger Johann also inherited his father's love of spectacle, and for 28 July 1850 at the Casino Zögernitz in the Viennese suburb of Ober-Döbling he organised a 'Grand Viennese Public Festival' resplendent "with magnificent ball, imposing illuminations and fireworks". It was on this occasion that the public was first introduced to Strauss's newly-composed waltz in Ländler-style, entitled Johannis-Käferln, written especially for this festival. The splendid work was to prove one of the most successful of the younger Strauss's early compositions, and handsomely demonstrates (in Waltz 1A) his ability to write countermelody passages of great charm. Johannis-Käferln was, moreover, Johann's entry for a music competition held concurrently with the "magnificent ball". Strauss's first biographer, Ludwig Eisenberg (1894) – though incorrectly recording the date ('1852') and venue ('Sperl') of the festival – describes the contest: "Those playing were the famous Kalozdy gypsy orchestra, one of the first of the 'brown' bands, which had won the favour of foreign lands for gypsy art and whose leader today enjoys great popularity in England as a military band master, besides a renowned military band and the Strauss Orchestra. Each orchestra played a waltz. The voting resulted from the way in which each visitor wrote on a slip of paper, which he had been given upon entry, the dance which he considered to be the best. It will cause no astonishment that, almost unanimously, the above-named piece [Johannis-Käferln] received the waltz prize, which was presented to the maestro in the form of a silver cup. The prize-winning entry then had to be repeated 5 times by the Strauss Orchestra – and swiftly became known and popular".
On 23 September 1850, some eight weeks after the Casino Zögernitz festival, Johann Strauss organised another event (delayed by inclement weather from 9 September), this time at the popular Universum in Brigittenau, and besides the Strauss Orchestra engaged the services of two other musical ensembles: the 1st Hungarian National Music Society, conducted by Sarkozy Ferencz, and the band of the "laudable Imperial-Royal 2nd Field-Artillery Regiment", under its bandmaster Sebastian Reinisch. Advertised as a 'Grand Spectacle Fête with Ball and with a large-scale, partly-moving Illumination' under the title 'The Church-Day in the Four Elements', the fête promised fireworks on water and on land and offered as its highlight 'The Air-Journey on Horseback à la Paris' – a version of the original pioneered by the Moulin Rouge in Paris, where a lady on a cardboard horse flew over the audience in a balloon before descending onto the stage. For the Viennese presentation, however, special attention was drawn to the fact that "the balloonist is a jockey, and the balloon has been specially made for this occasion... The horse which today will take part in the air-journey is in no way constructed from cardboard, as the 'Fremdenblatt' totally unjustifiably reports"! To accompany this evening spectacle Johann Strauss composed his Luftreise-Marsch (Air-Journey March), which regrettably was unpublished and has bean lost. Earlier that same day he and "the orchestra of his father, formerly Imperial-Royal Court Ball Music Director Johann Strauss", provided the music for the afternoon ball and, as with the show at the Casino Zögernitz, musical pride of place was given to his waltz Johannis-Käferln. In the brief Introduction to the work Strauss musically portrays the startling appearance of greenish-white phosphorescent lights which signal the illumination of wingless female glow-worms (Lampyris noctiluca), the widespread European and Siberian beetle which continues to be a familiar night-time sight in the gardens and surrounding countryside of Vienna.
(Carefree Polka) Op. 178
W. Tatzelt's title page illustration for the first piano edition of Strauss's polka depicts a peaceful rural setting with a dreamy-eyed young boy in Austrian costume, while in the clouds he pictures his 'castle in the air' – in this case the beautiful 18th-century Laxenburg Castle situated some 10 miles (16 km) south of Vienna which, from the reign of the Empress Maria Theresia, served as the spring and autumn residence of the Imperial Habsburg family and which was the birthplace of the ill-fated Crown Prince Rudolf (1858-89).
Not until 16 October 1858 did a resident Viennese theatre company introduce local audiences to the delights of an Offenbach operetta, when the one-act Le Mariage aux Lanternes (1857) was mounted at the Carl-Theater – as Hochzeit bei Laternenschein – with German text by Karl Treumann and orchestrations by the theatre's house-conductor, Carl Binder (1816-60). The success of this initial venture prompted the Carl-Theater's director, Johann Nestroy, to stage more Offenbach one-acters during 1858 and 1859, all presented in 'the Viennese style' and with instrumentations by Binder. News about the triumph of Orphée aux Enfers inevitably reached Vienna, and on 17 March 1860 the curtain of the Carl-Theater rose on the first German-language production of Offenbach's parody of Greek mythology. The music was again arranged by Carl Binder, who also replaced Offenbach's original brief prelude with an overture which he crafted from the operetta's melodies, and which continues to enjoy worldwide popularity (though almost always attributed solely to Offenbach without any mention of Binder's name). Director Nestroy personally undertook the preparation of the German libretto from the Crémieux and Halévy French original, and moreover wrote the role of Jupiter for himself.
Sitting among the audience in the stalls of the Carl-Theater for the première of Orpheus in der Unterwelt was Johann Strauss. Enraptured by Offenbach's tuneful score he at once set to and – "from recollections of Offenbach's operetta", as the press announcements proclaimed – combined some of the stage work's most attractive themes into an orchestral quadrille which his publisher, Carl Haslinger, was able to issue on 8 April 1860. The first performance of Strauss's Orpheus-Quadrille – initially announced for 15 April in the Volksgarten – in fact took place on 18 April, when Johann himself conducted the new work at a concert in the tavern 'Zum grossen Zeisig' in the Viennese suburb of Neubau. Noting the quadrille "provoked thunders of applause", the Wiener Theaterzeitung (20 April) added: "It is effectively instrumented and presents the most popular melodies of the operetta with freshness and in the most original version possible". Perhaps not surprisingly, in view of the furore created at the operetta's Parisian première by the 'Galop infernal' (now better known as the cancan), it is music from this frenzied bacchanal which frames Strauss's Orpheus-Quadrille by providing material for its opening ('Pantalon') and closing ('Finale') sections. As a point of interest, Haslinger's first piano edition features an illustration of Johann Nestroy (as Jupiter, transmogrified into a fly) and Eurydice in their famous scene from Act 2. A later Haslinger edition published after Nestroy retired from the Carl-Theater on 1 November 1860, presents the identical scene – but with Nestroy's 'fly' character re-engraved to portray a subsequent actor in the role. Music from 'The Fly Duet' is to be heard in the fifth ('Pastourelle') section of Strauss's quadrille.
(Cycloids, Waltz) Op. 207
The 32-year-old Johann Strauss lifted the title of his enchanting waltz Cycloiden straight from the everyday scientific vocabulary familiar to "the Gentlemen Technical Students at Vienna University", for whose ball in the Sofienbad-Saal on 10 February 1858 he wrote and first conducted this waltz dedication. Since in the Vienna of that time military orchestras were only permitted in exceptional circumstances to provide the music for balls, Johann and his brother Josef once again enjoyed undivided sovereignty over the numerous carnival-time dance festivals. Indeed, on 28 February in the Volksgarten at the Strauss brothers' traditional revue of novelties composed for that year's Vienna Carnival, Cycloiden was just one of ten new works presented by Johann, while Josef contributed a further five numbers.
Cycloids, and their more complicated variants like epicycloids and hypocycloids, fall into the classification of 'special curves', and were developed partly as a result of the studies of the Greeks into pure geometry, but principally through the influence of analytic geometry. The cycloid itself is one of the most celebrated of all special curves and describes the locus of a point on the circumference of a circle rolling along a straight line. The name cycloid was given circa 1599 by Galileo Galilei, who later recommended the form of the cycloid for the arches of bridges. Applying the principle in 1658, Sir Christopher Wren discovered that the length of a single arch is four times the diameter of the generating circle. Not surprisingly, the illustrator of the title page design for the first piano edition of Johann Strauss's Cycloiden Walzer restricted himself to a straightforward circle incorporating the name of the work and its composer together with the dedication to the students. Alongside this feature he preferred to depict not only the tools of the technician (like set square and compasses), but also a number of mankind's more tangible technical achievements, such as the steamship, lighthouse, theodolite, steam engine, blast furnace and plough.
française (Patronesses, French polka) Op. 286
One of the stage work's most enchanting musical moments occurs in the Act 1 Finale, in the duet "Ich kann mich nicht beklagen, er ist ein Cavalier" (I can't complain, he is a gentleman), sung by the dancer Franzi Cagliari and Prince Ypsheim-Gindelbach, the Prime Minister of Reuss-Schleiz-Greiz. The beguiling melody of this number is to be found as the first theme of Johann Strauss's Patronessen-Polka française, a work dating from 1864. Unusually, since that year the law students at Vienna University were unable to reach agreement about the personnel of their ball-organising committee, they instead arranged two separate festivities. The first of these took place in the Sofienbad-Saal on 18 January, and for it Strauss composed his high-spirited Juristen-Ball, Polka Schnell op. 280 (Volume 10). The second ball, also held in the Sofienbad-Saal, followed on 2 February. In contrast to the energetic quick polka he provided for the earlier event, Johann this time contributed the winsome French polka Patronessen, which he dedicated to the lady patronesses of the ball. The work was subsequently published, however, without the dedication.
Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald, Walzer (Tales from the
Vienna Woods, Waltz) Op. 325
On 22 June 1868 Johann Strauss conducted a public performance of Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald before an audience of five thousand at the 'Sommerliedertafel' (Summer Song Programme) of the Wiener Männergesang-Verein (Vienna Men's Choral Association) held in Karl Schwender's 'Neue Welt' entertainment establishment in the Vienna suburb of Hietzing. Yet this was no public première: three days earlier in the Volksgarten, at an 'Extraordinary Novelty Festival with Fireworks, for the Benefit of Josef and Eduard Strauss' on 19 June, Johann himself conducted the new work to great applause and was obliged to repeat it four times. A particularly strong impression was made by the waltz's expansive Introduction of 122 bars, a rustic tone-poem evocative of the countryside of the Wienerwald, the wooded eastern foothills of the Alps, situated just north-west of Vienna. It is curious to reflect, therefore, that at no time in his life did the composer himself undertake walks in the Vienna Woods – indeed, he expressed a lifelong fear of climbing even the most gentle of hills! Through the use of zither (replaced on this recording by an optional string ensemble) and Ländler-style rhythms in the Introduction and Coda, Strauss emphasises the close ties between the Viennese Waltz and the peasant music of Lower Austria. A zither-player pictured in a vignette on the cover of the first piano edition further underlines this connection, while the artist also depicts other commonplace scenes and pleasures to be enjoyed in the countryside – shooting on a rifle range, a pair of lovers enjoying rural seclusion, and young men bowling at an outdoor skittle alley.
Listeners familiar with the posthumous Johann Strauss operetta Wiener Blut (1899) will recognise the use of the first waltz theme of Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald in the Einleitung (Introduction) section of the stage work.
Polka-Mazur (Flirtation. Polka-mazurka) Op. 310
The political situation had understandably distracted the attention of Vienna's theatre – and concert-going public, and during spring 1866 the Strauss brothers were delighted to resume their soirées at Dommayer's Casino in Hietzing, since here and at concerts in the Volksgarten they were most likely to attract fashionable and appreciative audiences for their music. That summer and autumn Johann took much pleasure in participating with the Strauss Orchestra in a number of novelty concerts in the Volksgarten, and to celebrate Emperor Franz Josef's birthday he organised a festival with illuminations and fireworks. The event, initially scheduled for 17 August (the day before the Imperial birthday) was twice postponed by inclement weather, and finally took place in the Volksgarten – according to the journals of both Josef Strauss and the horn-player Franz Sabay – on Tuesday 21 August. As was to be expected, Johann Strauss did not come empty-handed, and at the festivities conducted his specially composed polka-mazurka Tändelei, a most feminine creation whose coquettish nature perfectly complements its title.
Rotunde-Quadrille (Rotunda Quadrille) Op. 360
The Vienna World Exhibition was the fifth of its kind, after those organised in London (1851 and 1862) and Paris (1855 and 1867), and was opened by Mayor Kajetan Felder on 1 May 1873. Under eighteen separate classifications, it presented the latest international achievements in the fields of science, weaponry, shipping, trade and industry, construction, agriculture and the arts. After a planning period of twenty years, formal approval for the Exhibition had been given on 24 May 1870 by the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I, who regarded as vital the opportunity to attract much needed prestige to the Danube Monarchy after its disastrous military defeats in 1859 and 1866. In the event, the attendance of more than 7 million visitors was some 13 million below expectation, and the venture closed on 2 November 1873 with a deficit in excess of 19 million gulden - a situation rendered unavoidable by the collapse of the Vienna Stock Exchange on 9 May ('Black Friday'), an outbreak of cholera in July (resulting in 2,983 deaths in Vienna alone) and extortionate hotel prices which dissuaded numerous would-be visitors to the Exhibition.
Strauss's Rotunde-Quadrille carries a dedication to the Exhibition's General Director, the Austrian Imperial Commissioner his Excellency Baron Wilhelm von Schwarz-Senborn who, after severe altercations with his management, was removed from his post on 18 June, shortly after the Exhibition's opening. The composition draws exclusively on material from Johann's second operetta, Der Carneval in Rom (The Carnival in Rome), which received its première at Vienna's Theater an der Wien on 1 March 1873. Although achieving wider popularity than its predecessor, Indigo und die vierzig Räuber (1871), Der Carneval in Rom still failed to generate more than modest public interest – as did, surprisingly in view of their melodic excellence, all five of the orchestral dances Johann arranged from the operetta's score. To the great and justifiable annoyance of Johann's brother, Eduard, the Strauss Orchestra (now solely under Eduard's direction) was not secured as official 'World Exhibition Orchestra': the honour fell instead to the Julius Langenbach Orchestra from Elberfeld in Germany, an engagement made by Baron von Schwarz-Senborn at Johann's special request. It was with this body of musicians that Johann conducted the first performance of the Rotunde-Quadrille. Although the World Exhibition Orchestra began its concerts in the Prater on 11 May, Johann did not appear at its head until 16 May at the very earliest. A marked absence of press reports renders it impossible to determine the exact date of the quadrille's first performance, beyond observing that it must have taken place in the Prater during May. The first piano edition of the new work appeared from the publishing house of Friedrich Schreiber on 2 July, along with the other four dances (opp. 356-359) which Strauss had arranged on themes from Der Garneval in Rom.
At first the orchestra's performances aroused little interest, largely owing to public attention being deflected by the welter of other competing entertainments. Jetty noted to a friend on 15 June: "The beginning was very difficult, inasmuch as one did not want to decide to spend 6 to 10,000 francs for advertising and trumpetings; - thus, one had to wait until the matter became known of its own accord. And that's what happened". Crucial to this 'propaganda machine' was Hypolite [sic] Auguste Delaunay de Villemessant (1810-1879), the enthusiastic and skilful editor-in-chief and founder of the revamped Paris newspaper, Le Figaro, who began to champion the Waltz King in a series of articles in his publication commencing on 24 May. De Villemessant's plaudits, and the sensational success Strauss scored at a ball hosted by Princess Pauline Metternich at the Austrian Embassy on 28 May turned the tide, and Jetty could justifiably boast: " Jean [Johann] is now the lion here, and no one has had a similar success here for years and years. It is a fever and a colossal stroke of luck... We will not only make up for the losses in Paris, but have hopes for quite a nice profit". Johann acknowledged his debt to de Villemessant by dedicating to him the specially composed Figaro-Polka, whose piano edition (arranged by Ferdinand Dulcken) was first published on 28 July in the Paris Magazine. On 30 July the work also appeared in Le Figaro, and that same day Johann Strauss conducted the Bilse Orchestra in the orchestral première of the polka during his concert at the Cercle International building within the Exhibition complex. In turn the editorial staff of Le Figaro showed its gratitude for the polka by hosting a banquet for the composer and his wife.
Not until 19 January 1868 were Viennese audiences given a chance to hear the Figaro-Polka when Johann himself conducted it with the Strauss Orchestra at a charity promenade concert in the Blumen-Säle der Wiener Gartenbaugesellschaft (Floral Halls of the Vienna Horticultural Society), on which occasion he also introduced the first performance of his polka-mazurka Stadt und Land Op. 322 (Volume 18).
Marsch (Ottinger Cavalry March) Op. 83
The younger Johann Strauss declared that he had written his Ottinger Reiter Marsch at the express commission of the Graf Wallmoden Kürassier-Regiment (Count Wallmoden Curassier Regiment), whose Regiments-Inhaber (regimental patron) until 1862 was General Ludwig Wallmoden Gimborn, and which in 1867 was redesignated a dragoon regiment. The composer himself conducted the Strauss Orchestra in the first performance of this musical tribute to Franz von Ottinger at a promenade festival in the Vienna Volksgarten on 6 October 1850. The march was subsequently to live on for many years in the repertoire of the Hussars Regiment No. 1 (The Emperor Regiment), dedicated to its regimental patron (from 1852 to 1869), General of Cavalry Freiherr von Ottinger.
Since Strauss's publisher, Pietro Mechetti, issued no orchestral performing material for the Ottinger Reiter Marsch, the present recording utilizes the original printed version for military band.
Programme notes © 1991 Peter Kernp. The Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain.
The author is indebted to Professor Franz Mailer for his assistance in the preparation of these notes.
Close the window