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8.223222 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 22
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.
(Persian March) op. 289
The Persischer Marsch was actually composed for Johann's 1864 concert season at Pavlovsk, his ninth consecutive 'Russian summer'. At first entitled Persischer Armee-Marsch (Persian Army March), the new work was unveiled before the public at the Vauxhall Pavilion in Pavlovsk Park on 11 July (= 29 June, Russian calendar) and proved the most popular of his compositions in Russia that year, being played on no less than 65 occasions. The Persischer Marsch was in fact to prove a lifelong favourite with its composer, who attached great value to the fact that the Trio section of the work quotes a theme from the Persian national anthem, Johann recognised that his 'characteristic' march was pure programme music; years later, in conversation with Ignatz Schnitzer, librettist of Der Zigeunerbaron (The Gypsy Baron, 1885), he admitted: "I once w rote a Persian march, but I cannot write like that if I need a march for the street". Since the programmes of Johann's 1864 season included a harp solo by Parish Alvars entitled Persischer Marsch, it may have been the success of this latter work which not only gave Strauss the impetus to compose his own Persian March but also furnished him with the original Persian air.
Amusingly, when Näser od-Dïn visited Vienna for the World Exhibition in 1873, a military band, unable to acquire the music for the authentic Persian anthem, instead played Strauss's Persischer Marsch as a hymn for the Shah!
Nearly a century after its première Strauss's march was almost responsible for a diplomatic incident. The Viennese author and broadcaster, Professor Dr. Marcel Prawy, recalls how in May 1960, when he was dramatic adviser at the Vienna Volksoper, he was ordered by a high government official to interpolate the Persischer Marsch into a performance of Die Fledermaus to be attended by the reigning Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Shortly before the night in question the instruction was hastily withdrawn when it was realised that the Shah for whom the march was written belonged to a dynasty which had been deposed by that of the present-day ruler!
Walzer (Maxing Dances. Waltz) op. 79
On 6 July 1850 Maximilian celebrated his eighteenth birthday and the formal opening of his new residence with a glittering evening festivity organised in his honour by the community of Hietzing. Undoubtedly at the recommendation of Ferdinand Dommayer, a leading figure behind the 'Maxing' festival and proprietor of the neighbouring Dommayer's Casino in Hietzing where Johann Strauss acted as 'house conductor', Strauss and his orchestra were invited by the young Archduke to provide the musical entertainment for the event, along with a military band. Johann must have welcomed the engagement with open arms: at a time when he was energetically striving to ingratiate himself at Court after unwittingly making himself persona non grata through his pro-Revolutionary support in 1848, this festivity was his first chance to establish contact with a member of the Imperial family. Strauss and his orchestra were situated in the gallery of the villa which shimmered through the illumination of thousands of coloured lamps. At around nine o'clock, trumpets and timpani announced the arrival of the Archduke and his retinue and, after the National Anthem and various speeches, the Strauss Orchestra commenced their concert with Beethoven's Leonore Overture. The programme, which included Meyerbeer's Coronation March from Le Prophet and two works by Johann Strauss Father – the Ferdinand-Quadrille op. 151 and the waltz Loreley-Rhein-Klänge op. 154 – also featured the first performance of an enchanting new waltz Johann had written especially for the 'Maxing' festival: Maxing-Tänze.
In 1955, just over a century after its construction, the wooden ‘Maxing’ villa, by then in a dilapidated state, was considered to be a fire risk and was demolished. Near its former site there now stands another building – ironically also constructed from wood.
The first public performance of the waltz was scheduled for a magnificent "Decorations- and Music-Festival" at Dommayer's Casino on 10 July, but this event, proclaimed as a "Symbol of Imperial Homage or Patriotic Festival of Honour", was postponed until 17 July and its seems likely that the public première was instead given at Johann's own benefit concert in the Volksgarten on 16 July. The new waltz proved popular, and in its review of the Dommayer evening the Theater Zeitung (23 July 1850) drew particular attention to the evocative and apposite Coda section "with its evening bells and shams [an effect created by oboes, bassoons and clarinet], in Swiss style."
française (The Unknown One. French polka) op. 182
Much has been written about one romantic chapter in Johann's life concerning Olga Smirnitzkaja (the widely adopted form ‘Smirnitzky’ is incorrect), a musically gifted daughter of aristocratic Russian parents – a deep involvement which commenced during Strauss's 1858 summer concert engagement in Pavlovsk and ended abruptly there in spring 1860. Memories of Olga live on in Johann's polka-mazurka Der Kobold (The Imp) op. 226, but she was certainly far from being the only Russian maiden to fall under his spell! In 1856, during Strauss's first concert season in Pavlovsk, which lasted from 18 May (= 6 May, Russian calendar) to 13 October (= 1 October) – and during the 149 days he and his orchestra performed without a day of rest – rumours reached Vienna of his amorous involvements, of jealous rivals and husbands and even of clandestine betrothals. However, Johann's discretion regarding his female companions was such that he never intended us to identify the special young lady immortalised in his polka L'Inconnue. The composition was the second published Strauss work to be specifically designated a 'French polka' – a dance form imported from Paris to Vienna where it became popular in ballrooms from 1854 as a more elegant variant of the rhythmic Bohemian polka. Johann introduced L'Inconnue at his second benefit concert, held at the Vauxhall Pavilion, Pavlovsk, on 14 August (= 2 August) 1856. Such was its reception that he was forced to repeat it, and to give a further encore at the close of the concert at around 12.45am. The evening also brought the première of a new Strauss waltz, Krönungs-Lieder (op. 184), and the composer mentioned both works in a letter written to Carl Haslinger, his Viennese publisher, on 14 September (= 2 September): "Moreover I have composed a polka. L’Inconnue, and a waltz: Krönungswalzer [sic!], with which two pieces I have had great success here. Although I had little time, I had even less confidence about their successful outcome". In the event, L'Inconnue proved to be Johann's third most played composition during the 1856 Russian season (after the waltz Juristen-Ball-Tänze op. 177 and the Sans-Souci-Polka op. 178), being performed no less than seventy-five times. Viennese audiences were given their first taste of the new polka, with its strong Russian flavour, when Johann conducted it (together with his Krönungs-Marsch op. 183) in the Volksgarten on 21 December 1856 at the first concert he gave upon his return to his native city.
Controversen Walzer (Controversies
Waltz) op. 191
Not surprisingly, the waltz Controversen numbered among the dance novelties written for the 1857 Carnival which Johann took with him to Russia for his second season of concerts at the Vauxhall Pavilion in Pavlovsk, lasting from 14 May (= 2 May, Russian calendar) until 14 October (= 2 October). It is to be regretted that F. A. Zimmermann, a viola-player in the Strauss Orchestra, whom posterity must thank for keeping a series of diaries (preserved in the collection of the Wiener Stadt-und Landesbibliothek, Vienna) meticulously detailing the programmes of music performed during many of Strauss's summer seasons at Pavlovsk, did not participate in the 1857 concerts. For this reason, and because the St Petersburger Zeitung only rarely concerned itself with events at Pavlovsk, one must look elsewhere for confirmation of when Controversen was given its first performance before the Russian public. The precise date – 14 May 1857 (= 2 May) – is revealed in a letter from the composer himself, written that same month to Carl Haslinger, his publisher in Vienna: "I am very happy with our reception by the Russian audiences... Controversen and Une Bagatelle [op. 187] also go down better than any other waltz or polka-mazurka, as a result my recent pieces which were played in the first concert, such as: Etwas Kleines [op. 190], Une Bagatelle, Controversen (I did not yet want to play any of the other new compositions) once again allowed me to achieve a wonderful success".
(Carnival's Hubbub Quadrille) op. 152
In 1833 a German, Karl Schwender (1806-66), travelled from Karlsruhe to Vienna where he settled, working first as a waiter and then as a billiard-marker at the Paradiesgartl in the Volksgarten. In 1835 he converted an old cowshed on ground adjoining the country house of Baroness Pereira-Arnstein in the suburb of Braunhirschengrund into a coffee-house and, moreover, enterprisingly organised regular transport for his customers between the city centre and the area in front of the Mariahilferlinie (one of the outer wall fortifications of the old inner city of Vienna which had been constructed on the orders of Prince Eugen at the beginning of the 18th century), in the vicinity of his premises. From such modest beginnings, and through a process of continual rebuilding work, arose Schwender's massive and grandiose entertainment establishment, the 'Colosseum', which opened in 1865.
In 1854, however, Schwender's establishment was still comparatively small – though the Viennese press described it as "excellent" and "splendid" – and each event was guaranteed massive public patronage. Accordingly, on Tuesday 21 February, there was a large attendance for Johann Strauss's benefit ball in the dance salon at Schwender's. The evening occasioned the première of a high-spirited quadrille, the seventh new work written by Johann for that year's carnival. The Wiener Neuigkeits-Blatt (23 February 1854) reported: "Alternating with his brother [Josef] the popular beneficiary conducted the ball music and, besides his recently composed waltzes, amongst which the charming 'Schneeglöckchen' is to be mentioned, performed a new 'Karnevals-Spektakel-Quadrille' which, composed with extreme originality, enjoyed the greatest applause and had to be played six times. In the casino room the able military band [Prince Schwarzenberg Infantry Regiment] of Herr Tischler performed chiefly compositions by the beneficiary".
The din of carnival is entertainingly captured on the title page illustration for the first piano edition of the Carnevals-Spektakel-Quadrille: a central vignette shows groups of carnival-goers chatting animatedly, while either side members of the orchestra play their instruments with great gusto, as Johann Strauss himself wields his baton over all.
(Nightingale Polka) op. 222
Earlier, that March, towards the close of the exceptionally long Vienna Carnival of 1859, Johann had suffered a virtual nervous breakdown and planned to leave Vienna on 25 April, well in advance of the start of his Russian engagement. The apparent inevitability of war (which in fact broke out on 26 April) caused Strauss to delay his departure, and he announced a final farewell concert for 1 May at Unger's Casino in the Viennese suburb of Hernals. It was naturally expected of the young Musikdirektor that he would bring with him a parting musical gift with which to say 'auf wiedersehen' to his Viennese public. He did not disappoint them, and at the head of the Strauss Orchestra gave the first performance of his cheery Nachtigall-Polka. The choice of title and venue could scarcely have been more fitting. As so often during his life, Johann had turned for inspiration to the world of nature, in this instance to the migratory nightingale (Luscinia megarhyncha) whose wonderful bird song graced many a spring and summer evening spent in the large tavern garden of Franz Unger's premises. But Strauss was not content to present merely stylised bird calls in this dance and, within the narrow confines of the polka's 2/4 tempo, he managed to mimic, with considerable accuracy, the song pattern of the nightingale.
Walzer im Ländlerstyle (Ever more cheerful. Waltz in Ländler-style) op. 235
The work was one of a clutch of new dance pieces written by Johann for the 1860 Vienna Carnival, during which the 34-year-old "Herr Musikdirektor" once more reigned supreme despite the musical activities of his younger brother, Josef. Wherever there was dancing, people wanted Johann Strauss. An article in a Viennese newspaper from 21 February 1860 attempted to capture the magic of his presence at the head of his orchestra: "How the couples fly along in tempestuous haste and passionate delight when Strauss, his violin supported against his rhythmically moving knee, stands on the conductor's rostrum; when he himself begins to play, his violin held high far above the horizontal, twisting his body in endless undulations, drawing his bow in swift strokes across the strings – that inflames the hearts, sends electric currents through the legs!"
Johann conducted the Strauss Orchestra in the first performance of Immer heiterer on 20 February 1860 at a genial "Strauss Ball" in the 'Sperl' dance hall in the Viennese suburb of Leopoldstadt. The event was to prove the last festivity of that description, and while the new composition did not meet with the same success as some of Johann's other carnival novelties, notably the waltz Accelerationen (op. 234), it is nevertheless worthy of attention. Particularly effective is Waltz 3B, where Strauss unexpectedly introduces a soaring legato melody entrusted to the cello and bassoon sections. In keeping with the jovial sentiment expressed in the work's title, Johann even calls for the members of the orchestra to exercise their vocal chords in a chorus of laughter during the course of the Coda!
Motiven der Operette: 'Der lustige Krieg' (Quadrille on themes from the
operetta 'The Merry War') op. 402
In steering her husband away from the strenuous and time-consuming rôle of dance music conductor/composer, the financially astute Jetty Strauss (1818-78) intended that Johann should instead direct his energies towards theatre composition which, unlike dances and marches, attracted royalties. Once the stage work had been created, little additional effort was required to assemble melodies from the score into separate orchestral numbers for performance beyond the confines of the theatre, thus reaping further income for their composer. The six sections (or figures) of the Lustige Krieg-Quadrille comprise thematic material from the following sources:
Pantalon - Act
2 Ensemble and Dutch Song (No. 12) and Act 1 Finale (No. 7)
Together with the quick polka Entweder – oder! op. 403 (Volume 18), also based on themes from the operetta, the Lustige Krieg-Quadrille was Johann's contribution to the 1882 'Concordia' Ball – the annual dance festivity of the Vienna Authors' and Journalists' Association – held in the Sofienbad-Saal on St. Valentine's Day, 14 February. The Strauss Orchestra was conducted on this occasion by the composer's brother, Eduard, as indeed it was just under a fortnight later at the first public performance of both works at a concert in the Musikverein on Sunday 26 February.
Aus der Heimat.
Polka-Mazurka (From the Homeland. Polka-mazurka) op. 347
Having made the transition from the ballroom to the theatre, albeit reluctantly at first but at the insistence of his wife, Johann wascontentforthe nine separate orchestral numbers he had fashioned from the score of Indigo to be introduced to the Viennese public by his brother, Eduard, who had now assumed sole charge of the Strauss Orchestra. The polka-mazurka Aus der Heimat featured for the first time on the programme of Eduard's concert in the Volksgarten on 2 June 1871. The idea for the work's title was sparked by part of the text of the opening song of Act 1 ("Liebchen, ach, wie hab' ich dich gern, wär' ich mit dir doch in der schönen Heimat fern'"), sung by the 'merry councillor' Janio, and it is the Andantino con moto section of this number which also provides the principal melody of the polka-mazurka. The themes in the Trio section of Aus der Heimat are to be found in the Act 2 Duet (No. 12) and the Act 1 Song with Chorus (No.3).
(Ninetta Waltz) op. 445
Musically, Fürstin Ninetta has much to commend it, and the separate orchestral numbers which Johann fashioned from its score exemplify many of the features which made him the leading dance music composer of his day. Among these pieces is the Ninetta-Walzer, first performed in the Redoutensaal of the Hofburg Palace in Vienna on 21 January 1893 on the occasion of an Imperial 'family dinner' to celebrate the forthcoming marriage on 24 January of Duke Albrecht of Württemberg (1865-1939), the Viennese-born heir-presumptive to the German Württemberg throne, and Archduchess Margarethe Sofie (1870-1902), eldest daughter of Archduke Karl Ludwig and sister of the ill-fated Archduke Franz Ferdinand (assassinated at Sarajevo in 1914). This world première performance was conducted neither by the composer nor by Eduard Strauss, but by Carl Michael Ziehrer (1843-1922) bandmaster of Infantry Regiment No. 4, the famous 'Hoch- und Deutschmeister' (also known as the Viennese 'Hause Regiment'). The first public performance of the new waltz followed a day later, on 22 January, when the band of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand Infantry Regiment No. 19 featured it in their concert in the Vienna Volksgarten. Not until 29 January 1893 did the Strauss Orchestra present a performance of the Ninetta-Walzer, when Johann personally conducted it at one of brother Eduard's regular Sunday public concerts in the Musikverein. On the same programme Johann also directed what was claimed as the first Viennese concert performance of another novelty – the Neue Pizzicato-Polka (ap. 449, Volume 2), which he had originally written for Eduard Strauss's concerts in Hamburg in April and May 1892, and which he subsequently interpolated into the Fürstin Ninetta score, first of all as a children's ballet and later as an intermezzo. The capacity audience in the Musikverein demanded two encores of the Ninetta-Walzer and three of the Neue Pizzicato-Polka. It should be noted, however, that while the advertisements for Eduard's Musikverein concert announced that both the Ninetta-Walzer and the Neue Pizzicato-Polka were enjoying their first public performances – patently incorrect, as we have seen – the audience gathered at Ronacher's establishment for a promenade concert given a little earlier that same afternoon by the 'Hoch – und Deutschmeister' band under Carl Michael Ziehrer were also being treated to a performance of these two works.
Strauss invested his Ninetta-Walzer with a tranquil Introduction of great beauty, and the entire work breathes the unmistakeable warmth of Italy which had inspired its creation. The opening waltz section (1A), foreshadowed at the start of the Introduction, presents an orchestral arrangement of the operetta's most popular number, "Einst träumte mir" (Once I dreamed), sung in Act 3 (No. 14) by the Egyptian Finance Minister, Kassim Pascha – a rôle performed at the operetta's première by Alexander Girardi. The principal melody of this waltz song also makes a fleeting appearance in the Blüthenkranz Johann Strauss'scher Walzer (Garland of Johann Strauss Waltzes) op. 292 which Eduard Strauss selected and arranged in 1894 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of his brother's public debut as composer and conductor.
The sources of the remaining themes in the Ninetta-Walzer may be found within the following numbers:
Waltz 18 - As 1A, Act 3 (No. 14), Kassim's waltz song
klapp-Galopp/Schnell-Polka (Click-clack. Galop/Ouick polka) op. 466
Waldmeister is set in Saxony, and in Act 1 we meet a group of young men and women who, while on an excursion, are caught in a sudden storm and seek refuge in a mill. A number of the ladies, at their head the celebrated opera singer Pauline, hurriedly exchange their sodden attire for the peasant clothing of female millworkers. Following the ladies' example, the male members of the party, mainly forestry apprentices, don the clothing of miller boys. Thus arrayed, the troupe of "honest miller's apprentices" launch into their ensemble, "Klipp, klapp, klipp, klapp, rasch dem Glücke nach". This entertaining number has an interesting provenance, reported by the press in both Austria and Britain. In his youth, Strauss had evidently courted a miller's beautiful young daughter and composed for her a song entitled "Klipp klapp". When, in 1894, Strauss was offered the libretto of Waldmeister, with its opening act played in a mill, he recalled the melody he had written some fifty years earlier and incorporated it in the new operetta. One might be tempted to disregard this report as pure journalistic fantasy, were it not for the existence of a letter written by Josef Weyl (author of, amongst other works, the original text for the Blue Danube Waltz) to Johann in October 1884 on the occasion of Strauss's fortieth jubilee as conductor/composer. Recalling "the happy hours we experienced together 44 years ago today", Weyl elaborated: "Do you still remember the naive little song: Klipp klapp! klipp klapp, geht die Mühle im Thal/Müller, Müller! War sehr radical etc. [Click-clack!click-clack, goes the mill in the valley/Miller, miller! Was very radical etc.] I wrote it in five minutes, you took hardly any longer to compose it, then the poor, unforgettable brother Pepi [= Josef Strauss] had to sing it! How often I dared to scrape your splendid melodies on my violin, and you had the touching patience to accompany me on the piano. Present day Vienna has absolutely no idea of the artistic treats which the four-handed waltz playing of the brothers Johann and Josef offered!"
Strauss created a total of six separate orchestral numbers from the score of Waldmeister, among them the quick polka Klipp klapp, echoing the rhythmic sound of a working mill. The galop's title and principal theme derive from the Act I ensemble, "Klipp, klapp, klipp, klapp, rasch dem Glücke nach", although it should be mentioned that this same theme is requoted in purely orchestral form (in the correct key of F) in the 'Melodrama' section of the Act II Finale. The sources of the remaining melodies are as follows:
Theme B - Act 1: Jeanne's Entrance
Couplet, "Das, das ist wahrhaftig kein Spass"
The world première of the Klipp klapp-Galopp (Schnell-Polka) was given by the Strauss Orchestra under the direction of the composer's brother, Eduard, at the annual ball of the Vienna Authors' and Journalists' Association, 'Concordia', held in the Sofienbad-Saal on 10 February 1896. The first public performance of the new piece followed just under two weeks later, on 23 February, when Eduard Strauss again conducted it with the orchestra at one of his regular Sunday concerts in Vienna's prestigious Musikverein.
Programme notes © 1991 Peter Kemp. TheJohann Strauss Societyof 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.
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