|About this Recording
8.223237 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 37
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.
Triumph-Marsch (Triumph March) op. 69
For a variety of reasons, Johann Strauss Son's stately Triumph-Marsch is something of a musical curiosity among his early compositions. At the time of its creation, probably during late autumn or winter 1849, Strauss's regular publisher in Vienna was Pietro Mechetti, a business collaboration which had commenced in January 1845 with op. 1 (Sinngedichte. Walzei) and - notwithstanding certain interruptions during the period 1846-49 - concluded with op. 94 (Rhadamantus-Klänge. Walzer) in late September 1851. For some reason, as yet unclear, it was Mechetti's rival, Carl Haslinger, who published the piano reduction of Strauss's Triumph-Marsch in January 1850, even though it was not until September 1851 that Haslinger struck up a formal, and long-term, publishing agreement with the young composer. Haslinger introduced the Triumph-Marsch on 5 January 1850 as the first number in his "Musikalischer Telegraf" (Musical Telegraph), a weekly publication for 1850 which described itself as "containing interesting musical pieces by various composers".
Also unclear is Johann's precise motivation for composing a Triumph March. For the greater part of 1849, the 23-year-old Kapellmeister had used every occasion to proclaim his obeisance to the young Emperor Franz Josef, in an effort to remedy the damage done to his musical career by his open support for those campaigners for freedom and rights - the students and the National Guard - during the 1848 Vienna Revolution. It is conceivable that the idea of composing the march came not from Johann himself, but from the young Carl Haslinger: the Haslinger publishing house had, in fact, issued a number of "Revolutionary compositions", which now had to be withdrawn from sale. Thus, at the commencement of 1850, both Carl Haslinger and Johann Strauss had a mutual interest in registering their loyalty to the restored order within the Imperial city, which was now governed by the military and suffering under the state of emergency imposed in 1848. If the restoration of internal political stability within Vienna was, in itself, insufficient impetus for a Triumph March, events elsewhere in the Habsburg Empire during 1849 certainly gave cause for celebration in Austria: amongst these may be counted Field-Marshal Radetzky's victorious campaign in Italy, culminating in a decisive victory over the King of Sardinia at Novara in March, and the punitive suppression of the Revolution in Hungary by Austro-Russian armies, resulting in the capitulation of the Hungarian army that August. The general mood was captured by the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung, when it proclaimed on 12 January 1850: "The storms of war have blown over, [and] golden peace, the bringer of blessings, hovers over the meadows of our precious Fatherland; the rushing waves of enraged passion die gradually aways ...".
It is not known when Johann Strauss's Triumph-Marsch was played for the first time. The earliest reference to a performance of the work appeared in Der Wanderer on 16 January 1850, being an advertisement for a charity concert to be held in the Vienna Volksgarten on the afternoon of the following day, 17 January. The event was announced as 'A Festival soirée, resulting from the humane call by his Excellency, the Military and Civilian Governor General [and] Master of the Ordinance [Baron Franz Ludwig] von Welden [1780-1853], to the inhabitants of Vienna to give generously for their needy fellow citizens". The programme of music included three works by Strauss Father and four by the younger Johann, including the Triumph-Marsch. The work is described in the announcement merely as "new", thus indicating that the première had taken place shortly before. Since two other Strauss works on this programme are also announced as "new" - the waltz Die Gemüthlichen op. 70 and the Sophien-Quadrille op. 75 (both heard for the first time in the Sofienbad-Saal on 13 January 1850) - the première of the Triumph-Marsch must also have taken place around this time, possibly at an entertainment at Dommayer's Casino on New Year's Day 1850.
Manifestly, orchestral performing material for the Triumph-Marsch must have existed at the time of the work's performance in January 1850, although Haslinger is not known to have published a printed edition. The orchestral version used for this present Marco Polo recording has therefore been prepared from the piano score by Professor Gustav Fischer, founder and conductor of Vienna's celebrated ensemble, Stadtmusik Wien.
Jugend-Träume. Walzer (Dreams of Youth. Waltz) op. 12
On 15 February 1845 the Viennese newspaper, Der Wanderer, notified its readers: "Strauss Son has been promoted! Today, at the head of his orchestra, he appears for the first time at the scene of his father's most glorious triumphs, in the cradle of his European fame, in the amiable Sperl!". The nineteen-year-old's début soirée at 'Zum Sperlbauer', to give the venue its formal name, drew enthusiastic applause from the large audience, and further appearances there followed in quick succession. (He must also have been flattered by the compliment paid him that March by the visiting "Dance hero of the North", the Danish composer/conductor Hans Christian Lumbye (1810-74), whose specially written waltz Erinnerungen an Wien (Memories of Vienna) presented "reminiscences of waltzes by Johann Strauss Father and Strauss Son".)
Among the events which the younger Johann organised at the 'Sperl' in the summer months of 1845 was an "Extraordinary Summer Night's Festival Soirée with the Imposing View of Naples and Vesuvius". It was for this scenic festival, held on 5 July 1845, that he composed his waltz Jugend-Träume. On 8 July 1845 Der Wanderer reported on the proceedings at the 'Sperl': "Three days ago the festival at the Sperl took place. Music by Strauss Son and, for the first time, a completely new waltz by Strauss Son! What more do the Viennese need by way of incitement to arrive in great numbers? And the Viennese came, heard and applauded, applauded piece by piece, clapped number after number. And when it came to the new 'Jugendträume'! It was no longer mere applause, it was jubilation, it was rapture! The waltz had to be played six times, and the audience still had not heard enough. Even though Strauss Son's earlier compositions are excellent, this waltz surpasses them all. This composition, as indeed all by the young favourite, bears a stamp of genius. Strauss [Father] and Lanner have always been heterogeneous elements in dance composition, exciting passion and fire in the one, geniality, humour and gentleness in the other. Strauss Son, as the third in the group, here stands in the middle, reconciling and combining both elements. If he starts by surprising us with a fiery, sparkling melody which sets our feet in motion, it is immediately followed by a tender, flattering one which finds its way to our heart ... It goes without saying that, given such auspicious circumstances, applause must always break out and the Viennese must swiftly make the composer his favourite. And the fact that Strauss Son has quickly become a leading power in the world of the waltz supports our judgement".
The reviewer for Der Sammler (8.07.1845) concurred with the views of his colleague on Der Wanderer, opining that Jugend-Träume was "one of the most beautiful of this genre, and brings all honour to Strauss Son". Concerning the soirée itself, Der Sammler noted: "The festival was equipped with charmingly illuminated and pleasing decorations and other adornments, the public turned up in exceptional numbers and the very select attendance only dispersed long after midnight".
Almost half a century later, during celebrations in October 1894 marking the Golden Jubilee of Johann's début as composer and conductor, Eduard Strauss honoured his brother by arranging the orchestral fantasia, Blüthenkranz Johann Strauss'scher Walzer (Garland of Johann Strauss Waltzes) op. 292, which quotes from the opening waltz theme (1A) of Jugend-Träume alongside twenty-five other melodies by Vienna's 'Waltz King'.
The original performing material for the waltz Jugend-Träume has regrettably not survived, and full orchestral parts were probably never published. While there exists a later edition for reduced orchestra, this almost certainly presents a greatly altered version of Strauss's original. By skilful reorchestration, the conductor of this present Marco Polo recording, Christian Pollack, has therefore striven to eliminate the obvious shortcomings of this later arrangement and to re-create the original version.
Das Comitat geht in die Höh'! Polka schnell
(The Comitat goes up in the world! Quick polka) op. 457
In a letter to Max Kalbeck (1850-1921), one of the librettists of his forthcoming operetta Jabuka (Das Apfelfest), Johann Strauss wrote: "I am unendingly happy that [Alexander] Girardi is enthusiastic about his part. From his point of view we can only expect a great success. When Girardi shows so much willingness to get to know a role, then one worry - in fact, the greatest worry about the success - disappears".
The earliest Strauss première in which the Graz-born comic singer, Alexander Girardi (1850-1918), had appeared was Cagliostro in Wien in 1875. Subsequently he created leading rôles in several other Strauss stage works, and was to become the most outstanding performer in the history of Golden Age Viennese operetta. The setting for Jabuka was near the Serbian border in one of the 19th-century 'Comitate' (districts) almost exclusively inhabited by Serbs in what was then the kingdom of Hungary. Girardi was cast in the tenor buffo character of the bailiff, Joschko, "whose only passion is seizing goods" (Neue Freie Presse, 13.10.1894). Noting the presence of Johannes Brahms, amongst other luminaries in the audience for the première of Jabuka at Vienna's Theater an der Wien on 12 October 1894, the reviewer for the Neue Freie Presse filed a lengthy report on the operetta's first night. During the course of this he observed of Girardi's performance in Act 3: "The much loved comedian shone right at the beginning of the act with a humorous refrain: "Oas Comitat geht in die Höh"', to which Strauss had written an uncommonly fresh and original melody. The audience responded by demanding encore after encore, and this, according to the critic of the Neue Freie Presse, resulted in "the splendid high point of the evening". Girardi stepped forward and, in homage to Johann Strauss on the occasion of the composer's fiftieth jubilee, sang three specially written verses which had been interpolated into the song "Das Comitat geht in die Höh"'. The first verse reads (in translation): "From all countries / There come fluttering to Vienna / Garlands and bright ribbons - / Hearty sympathies. / Yes, it is not a little to say that / In all the world, in fact, / Only our Comitat has a 'Waltz King"'.
The Neue Freie Presse reviewer continued: "Even after the first allusion to the Strauss celebration, Girardi was interrupted by the jubilation of the audience. When he concluded the flattering verse, endless waves of applause thundered through the house, Strauss had to appear on stage during the act, booming shouts, uproarious clapping rang out towards him, the ladies and gentlemen rose up from their seats, waved their handkerchieves and greeted the maestro with a love and enthusiasm which, even at its most ardent, seemed to blaze up even more. No comic song has enjoyed such a success in Vienna in living memory, for today it rang out as a poem of celebration for the darling of musical Vienna".
With such an enthusiastic reception accorded to Girardi's Act 3 number, it is hardly surprising that "Das Comitat geht in die Höh"' gave its name, as well as some of its music, to the quick polka which Louis Roth arranged from the score of Jabuka. Indeed, Theme 1A and the entire Trio section (themes 2A and 2B) of the work are to be found in Joschko's Act 3 (No. 15) couplet, while theme 1B can be traced to the second section of the Act 2 (No. 12) couplet, sung by Joschko to the words "Und sein Ruf drang immer weiter". The polka's brief Introduction derives from the opening of the Introduction to Act 2.
Roth's involvement with this and other selections from the operetta resulted from Johann Strauss's unwillingness to undertake the work himself without additional payment from his publisher, Gustav Lewy. (See also notes in this CD series for opp. 456 and 458.) In the event, Roth merely prepared piano editions of the Jabuka selections (opp. 456-460) - which Strauss then hurriedly corrected - and orchestral performing material was never published. Like the other Jabuka items on this present Marco Polo recording, therefore, Das Comitat geht in die Höh'! has been skilfully arranged from the printed piano score by the conductor, Christian Pollack.
Quadrille nach Motiven der Oper: Die Königin von Leon
(Quadrille on themes from the opera: The Queen of Leon) op. 40
Together with the Viennese waltz and the many variants of the polka, the quadrille was one of the most popular dances in 19th-century ballrooms. Yet, aside from the pleasure which the quadrille gave to dance devotees, the musical content of the form is often of considerable historical interest, frequently recording the musical highlights of long-forgotten theatre works.
A case in point is the younger Johann Strauss's quadrille on themes from the three-act comic opera, Die Königin von Leon (The Queen of Leon), written by the French composer Xavier Doménique François Boisselot (1811-93) to a text by A.E. Scribe and G. Vaëz. The opera was given its première at the Paris Opera Comique on 16 January 1847 under the title Ne touchez pas à la reine (Don't touch the Queen). In Vienna, a German-language production of the opera (entitled Die Königin von Leon) was mounted at the Theater an der Wien six months later, on 15 July 1847, but it was not a success and disappeared from the repertoire after ten performances. The Viennese critics deemed Boisselot's music "almost without a single original thematic idea, although now and then piquantly instrumented", and found it reminiscent of Auber, Halévy, Balfe, Donizetti and Meyerbeer.
The 21-year-old Johann Strauss, however, clearly had his reasons for believing that Die Königin von Leon would be a success. On 16 July 1847, just one day after Boisselot's opera opened in Vienna, the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung reported: "Kapellmeister Johann Strauss Son is a real Döbler of the quadrille! Every moment, another bouquet from Strauss. [Historical note: At that time the entertainer Döbler was astonishing his audiences, for example at the Theater in der Josefstadt, with his "optical presentations", during which he would conjure up more and more bouquets of flowers from his hat and from his pockets.] Barely has the 'Königin von Leon' been presented for the first time at the Theater an der Wien, than Herr Strauss Son has already composed a new, really piquant quadrille on themes from this opera, which met with general applause. 'Königin von Leon' in the Theater an der Wien, 'Königin von Leon' at Dommayer's!". Neither the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung, nor any other Viennese newspaper, identified the actual date on which Johann Strauss conducted his new quadrille for the first time at a concert in Dommayer's Casino in the suburb of Hietzing. However, the wording of the Theaterzeitung review suggests that Johann first played the work on the same day (ie. 15 July 1847) that Boisselot's opera received its première at the Theater an der Wien. Quite possibly, Strauss was already familiar with the piano score of Ne touchez pas à la reine before its first Viennese performance, and this would explain the rapidity with which he was able to work the themes of the opera into a quadrille.
Notwithstanding its evident tunefulness, Johann's Königin von Leon-Quadrille fared little better than the opera on which it was based. A subsequent opportunity, which might have generated public interest in the dance, was also doomed to failure: on 30 July 1847 the Theater in der Josefstadt presented Kart Haffner's romantic-comic tale with songs and dance, Der verkaufte Schlaf (The Bartered Sleep), based on Moritz Saphir's poem of the same name and with music by M. Hebenstreit. A decision was taken to use Strauss's quadrille for a ballet interlude during the play, and although Haffner's piece was generally praised by the critics, there were mixed opinions regarding the musical interpolation. Der Wanderer (2.08.1847), for example, noted that the performers danced to Strauss's quadrille on themes from Die Königin von Leon, "which was received with great applause and had to be encored by popular demand". In the following day's issue, Der Wanderer expressed its own opinion: 'We were not so pleased by the quadrille in the 2nd Act, in spite of the music by Strauss Son on themes from 'Die Königin von Leon"'. The reviewer for Die Gegenwart (4.08.1847) was more blunt: 'The new quadrille by Herr Strauss junior ... is a very dull, sleepy musical work. Even on the ballet personnel the music did not have a favourable effect; they were only able to get in time [with the music] towards the end of the piece".
Such reviews did not, in any way, dissuade the management of the Theater in der Josefstadt from mounting their own production of the Boisselot opera on 28 October that year. However, it is a matter of historical interest that neither of Boisselot's subsequent operas, Mosquita la sorcière (1851) and L'ange déchu (1869), was produced in Vienna, nor did Johann Strauss or his brothers attempt any arrangement of their music.
Strauss's publisher in Vienna, H.F. Müller, issued the piano score of the Königin von Leon-Quadrille on 7 October 1847. Although "correct copies" of the orchestral parts were apparently later put on sale, none has been located, and the original manuscript material has been lost. For this present recording, Christian Pollack has therefore orchestrated the work on the basis of the piano edition and Boisselot's music.
Neue Steierische Tanze (New Styrian Dances) op. 61
One question which continues to puzzle Strauss researchers concerns the movements of the younger Johann Strauss and his orchestra after their concert tour to the Balkans in 1847/48. They left Bucharest in March 1848, but nothing is known of their activities until their reappearance in Vienna at the beginning of June of that year (see Liguorianer Seufzer. Scherz-Polka op. 57, Volume 16 of this CD series).
If Strauss and his musicians made the return journey from Bucharest to Vienna via the Austrian province of Styria, this might provide the explanation for the young Kapellmeister's decision to compose the Neue Steierische Tänze, a sequence of original melodies linked to themes already familiar to the public, after the style popularised by Joseph Lanner (1801-43) in his own Steyrische Tänze op. 165 (1841).
It has not so far proved possible to determine the exact date on which Johann gave the first performance of his Neue Steierische Tänze, but at the very latest the work was given its première on 26 December 1848 at the composer's "Reunion" at Dommayer's Casino in Hietzing. Reporting on this performance, the critic of Der Wanderer (28. 12.1848) merely noted: "I heard, very delightfully played and worthy of any operatic theatre, the overtures to 'Tell' and 'Martha', a few waltzes, a polka and Strauss's Styrian Ländler [sic!], and also the latest waltz - by Constanze Geiger, as I learned later - pleased me very much". The reviewer added that he found these pieces "full of catchy melodies, well instrumented and contain beautifully agreeable and tuneful themes". The popular melodies quoted by Strauss in his Neue Steierische Tänze are to be heard, respectively, as the first theme in Dance No. 1 and as second theme in Dance No. 4 and are: (with a slightly amended beginning) the old Viennese couplet "'S ist mir alles eins, ¡¥s ist mir alles eins / Ob ich Geld hab' oder keins ...", composed in 1819 by Johann Fuss for a performance at the Theater in der Leopoldstadt, and the song "Der Steirer Land" ("Hoch vom Dachstein an, wo der Aaar noch haust"), with music by Carl Seidel (1844) to a poem by Jacob Dirnböck, and which is today Styria's own National Anthem.
Strauss's Neue Steierische Tänze has survived in two versions: the piano edition, issued by H.F. Müller on 22 March 1849, contains a brief Introduction and four dances, while a possibly incomplete copy of the orchestral parts ends with the third dance and contains some variances from the published piano edition (for example, a four bar transition between the first and second sections of Dance No. 2 is missing from the piano score). The conductor of this present Marco Polo recording, Christian Pollack, has assumed that the orchestration of the extant manuscript parts is complete, and has therefore not supplemented these parts at all. However, his precise knowledge of Strauss orchestrations has enabled him to add the fourth dance (present only in the piano edition), arranged in the style of the first three.
Tanze mit dem Besenstiel! Polka française
(Dance with the Broomstick! French polka) op. 458
Smetana's opera, Die verkaufte Braut(The Bartered Bride, 1866), proved a sensation at the 1892 International Music and Theatre Exhibition in Vienna, and awakened in Johann Strauss the desire to compose an operetta with a Slavonic background. He found it in the libretto of Jabuka, written by Gustav Davis (the pseudonym of Gustav David, 1856-1951) and Max Kalbeck (1850-1921), and the resultant operetta received its première at the Theater an der Wien on 12 October 1894.
The publisher of the new Strauss stage work was a friend from the composer's youth, Gustav Lewy (1824-1901). The contract they signed not only made over to Lewy the entire copyright in the planned operetta, but entrusted him with the marketing of the work and also with the publishing of the dance pieces which were to be arranged on themes from Jabuka. Under the terms of his agreement with his old schoolfriend, Strauss initially undertook to deliver the score of the operetta and one orchestral waltz ("Ich bin dir gut!" op. 455) based on its themes. These appeared in due course from Lewy's publishing house which, by that time, was being run by Gustav Lewy's son, Richard (who was later to call himself Richard Haller). During summer 1894, however, there arose a complex and highly interesting dispute over the dance arrangements. In an undated letter to Gustav Lewy (merely headed "Sunday"), Strauss told his publisher that, in addition to the agreed waltz, he felt the score of Jabuka contained enough material to fashion two quick polkas, a French polka, a quadrille and, possibly, a polka-mazurka. He continued: "However, I can no longer undertake this time-consuming work for absolutely nothing". Arguing that he himself should attend to the selection of the themes and the instrumentation of each dance piece, Strauss made his point forcefully: "The arrangement and instrumentation by another would have to be shown on the title page - which I would most decidedly insist upon. Also, it cannot be assumed that another person is more capable than myself of effectively treating a dance piece for orchestra, to say nothing of choosing more suitable themes and putting them in sequence. It will take me 2 months to do the arrangement for dancing and instrumentation of 2 quick polkas, a French polka and a quadrille. You cannot find it unreasonable if, for the arrangements for orchestra which come after the waltz, I require the same sum of money that I have always received since Spina". [This is a reference to C.A. Spina, Johann's previous publisher since 1863.]
In a further letter to Gustav Lewy, dated 2 September 1894, Strauss developed his argument against the publisher's intention to employ the conductor/composer Louis Roth (1843-1929) as orchestral arranger for the Jabuka dance pieces. "No dance composition of mine has been published which I have not orchestrated myself. I can, therefore, on this occasion make no exception, because I hold too dear my painfully earned name than to give room to an interpretation by someone else which departs from my form of orchestral treatment ... Although the orchestral arrangement of the dances from 'Jabuka' would be a torment for me, I would nevertheless be prepared to make a concession to you as regards the fee that I have always received, in order to take into account our mutual interests".
In the event, with the sole exception of the waltz "Ich bin dir gut!", Lewy's publishing house did not issue any orchestral versions of the dance pieces (opp. 456-460) based on melodies from the operetta Jabuka - a decision almost certainly resulting from the mediocre success of the new stage work. The piano editions of the dances arranged from the score of Jabuka were put together by Louis Roth, and then hastily corrected by Strauss himself. In the case of the French polka Tanze mit dem Besenstiel!, Strauss clearly found little enjoyment in Roth's treatment of his music. The title page of Roth's manuscript bears corrections in Johann's hand - Tanz mit einen Besenstiel (as appears in Act 3 of the operetta) is changed to Tanze mit dem Besenstiel, and the operetta's title is amended from Jakuba to Jabuka - as well as his frustrated remark: 'This arrangement is hopelessly bad. Improving it gave me a lot of trouble. For this I demand 1 florin 20 [Gulden] which I lost at tarock yesterday". Later in the score, he again censures Roth's work: 'The continuation [is] incomprehensible; Lord forgive them, they know not what they do". Finally, he notes indignantly on the last page: 'To spare myself the total reworking of the polka I have attempted to make improvements - only where it was absolutely necessary in order to bring it into line with practical application. The instrumentation will do its bit to ruin my efforts. T o obviate this, please indicate: Polka on themes from the operetta Jabuka by J. Strauss put together and instrumented by L. Roth. I can not give my name to an orchestral treatment on another's part". Despite these protestations, the printed editions omit Roth's name as arranger.
The thematic content of the French polka Tanze mit dem Besenstiel! draws upon the following sources in the operetta Jabuka:
The orchestral arrangement of Tanze mit dem Besenstiel! featured on this Marco Polo recording has been made by the conductor, Christian Pollack, from the published piano score.
Spitzentuch-Quadrille (Spitzentuch Quadrille) op. 392
On the evening of Friday 1 October 1880, Johann Strauss mounted the rostrum of the Theater an der Wien to conduct the première of his latest operetta, Das Spitzentuch der Königin (The Queen's Lace Handkerchief). The theatre had been closed for some five months: four weeks after its end of season, its director, Maximilian Steiner, had died in the night of 29/30 May 1880. His 27-year-old son, Franz, who had deputised for his ailing father since the beginning of 1880, now took over the lease and management of the financially-troubled theatre, and Spitzentuch represented the first production there under his management.
The critic for the Fremden-Blatt newspaper (2.10.1880) commenced his report on the operetta's opening night with the wish that "fresh, happy life and, we hope, continuing prosperity, have taken up residence in the Theater an der Wien". With regard to Strauss's score for Das Spitzentuch der Königin, the same reviewer expressed his view that "It will give pleasure with its abundance of delightful melodies in which the true pulse of Vienna beats, [and] the gaiety, charm and gracefulness of Viennese life and temperament can be found". Eduard Hanslick, writing in Die Presse (2.10.1880), was equally full of praise for Strauss's music, adding: "And how beautiful his orchestrations always sound! How naturally piquant, and yet, at the same time, full and sweet ... One has to wish him well and still, to some extent, commiserate. For the same good music which he has given us would, if allied with an interesting, attractive plot, have made a disproportionately stronger and longer-lasting impression". Hanslick's critical remarks about the Spitzentuch libretto - officially the work of Dr Heinrich Bohrmann-Riegen and Richard Genée, but subsequently discovered to involve several more 'collaborators' - found an echo in the reviews of other papers. Johannes Brahms, on a visit to Vienna, was even more forthright. Usually so generous in his admiration for his Viennese friend's music, he wrote on 2 October 1880 to Fritz Simrock, his publisher in Berlin: "I have been here for some days [and] yesterday evening heard the new opera by Strauss (which was really boring) ...".
While public interest in the new work was to slacken off more quickly than Strauss or Steiner would have liked, it generated sufficient attention for a parody to be staged at the Fürst-Theater in the Vienna Prater on 9 October 1880, just eight days after the opening night of Strauss's stage work. Written by the theatre dramatist Joseph Doppler, and entitled Das Schnupftuch des Königs (The King's Pocket Handkerchief), it was to remain longer in the repertoire than the work it sought to parody!
As with the other separate orchestral numbers which Johann Strauss arranged on themes from the score of Das Spitzentuch der Königin, the Viennese public first heard the Spitzentuch-Quadrille played by the Strauss Orchestra conducted by the composer's brother, Eduard. The novelty featured on the programme of Eduard's afternoon concert in the Great (= Golden) Hall of the Musikverein on Sunday 23 January 1881, alongside pieces such as Eduard's own waltz, Das Leben ist doch schön! (op. 150, 1876), the Entr'acte and Pizzicato-Polka from the ballet Sylvia by Delibes, and works by Richard Wagner, C. von Behr and Albert Jungmann. The printed editions of the Spitzentuch-Quadrille were published by August Cranz just a few days later but, inexplicably, given the appealing nature of the composition, the piece subsequently appeared only rarely in concerts by the Strauss Orchestra.
Johann Strauss clearly took great pains over the choice and division of themes for the Spitzentuch-Quadrille. In evidence of this, he skilfully split the Act 3 Chorus (No. 18): the opening (Tempo di Marcia) part, "Singt dem König Heil", he used for the opening melody of the quadrille's 'Pantalon' section, but he kept the second part ("Eilt in buntem Gedräng") for the concluding theme in the 'Finale' section. The thematic material for the six sections (or figures) of the Spitzentuch-Quadrille may be located as follows in the score of the operetta:
Of interest is an undated autograph sketch-leaf containing numerous drafts in Johann's hand, offered for auction by the London branch of Sotheby's on 27 November 1987. The second theme notated is identifiable as the second melody (theme 5B) used in the 'Pastourelle' section of the Spitzentuch- Quadrille.
Schwungräder. Walzer (Flywheels. Waltz) op. 223
Johann Strauss's sense of humour once again manifested itself in the titles he gave his waltz dedications during the 1859 Vienna Carnival: for the law students, Promotionen (Graduations); for the medical students, Hell und voll (Clear and full) and Irrlichter (Will-o'-the-wisps) for the technical students. His choice of title - Schwungräder - for the waltz he dedicated to Vienna's engineers on the occasion of their ball in the k.k. Redoutensaal of the Imperial Hofburg Palace on 27 February 1859 was particularly apposite. The work is not merely one of the numerous musical tributes to technological progress in the second half of the nineteenth century, but it has a special relevance to the development of the railways in the Danube monarchy. The engineers, who organised the festival ball in the Redoutensaal, had set themselves apart from the broad field of technical science because of their enormous, and justifiable, pride in their achievements in the construction and operation of the railways. A year earlier, in 1858, in addition to the Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railways (Kaiser Ferdinand-Nordbahn), the Raaber Railway (Raaber-Bahn) and the Southern Railway which now led over the heights of the Semmering Pass (marking the boundary between Lower Austria and Styria), construction of the Empress Elisabeth Western Railway (Kaiserin Elisabeth-Westbahn) had begun, so that lines led in every direction from the Austrian capital. In addition, the engineers also constructed and operated the many factories which had been established around the Imperial city.
In physical science, cast-iron flywheels (= Schwungräder), with their heavy rims and great mass, store kinetic energy for the purpose of smoothing the operation of a reciprocating engine by maintaining a constant speed of rotation over the whole cycle. In industrial applications they have a stabilising effect once a given speed has been achieved and, moreover, by being able to release a reserve of force, they can overcome sudden resistance. Just as the function of the flywheel, in the practical operation of the railways and factories, was to maintain a certain rhythm, so Johann Strauss ensured that his cleverly-conceived waltz Schwungräder would establish a rhythmical, evenly flowing, motion in the ballroom. In the space of just 14 bars the waltz's Introduction vividly portrays the gathering momentum of a flywheel until, attaining its stable rhythm, the work glides effortlessly into its opening waltz number. From this moment, despite the variety and contrast of the ensuing waltz themes, the rhythm of the piece remains constant from the first bar to the last. Nor is this rhythmical pattern in any way disrupted by Strauss's effective countermelody for the cellos in Waltz 2A.
Johann conducted the Strauss Orchestra in the first public performance of his waltz Schwungräder at the Strauss Benefit Ball ("Carnival's Perpetual Motion") in the Sofienbad-Saal on 28 February 1859, the night following the Engineers' Ball. On 2 March 1859 the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung carried a report on the festivity in the Sofienbad-Saal, generally observing that "Johann Strauss's latest compositions once again all show the freshness of melody and piquancy of rhythm which have made his earlier creations so popular and sought after". As for Schwungräder itself, the reviewer devoted no more time to it than noting that the "ingenious" new waltz had to be repeated. This apparently cursory attention paid to the piece is surprising, for the Schwungräder Walzer became part of the permanent repertoire of the Strauss Orchestra in the decades that followed.
Carl Haslinger's Vienna publishing house issued the piano score of the waltz Schwungräder on 21 August 1859, embellishing it with an engraved title page depicting two huge flywheels superimposed on a steam locomotive emerging from a tunnel.
Sonnenblume. Polka-Mazur (Sunflower. Polka-mazurka) op. 459
'The atmosphere and music of the operetta are strongly reminiscent of 'Der Zigeunerbaron' [The Gypsy Baron, 1885]. The people in the area [Serbian south Hungary] don't talk a lot of sense, but they sing and dance all the more frequently and have the good sense to have the music for this provided by Strauss".
Thus wrote the critic for the Vienna Neue Freie Presse (13.10.1894) in his review of the opening night of Johann Strauss's operetta, Jabuka (Das Apfelfest), which was presented for the first time at the Theater an der Wien on 12 October 1894 during the composer's Golden Jubilee year. The reviewer's remarks about the music in Jabuka found an echo in most sectors of the press: Richard Heuberger, later the composer of the operetta Der Opernball (The Opera Ball, 1898), wrote in the Wiener Tagblatt (13.10.1894): "The music is true Strauss, even if it is quieter and more discreet. It no longer strikes up the bright, joyous laughter of 'Fledermaus'".
Of particular interest, in view of one of the dances that was later arranged from the score of Jabuka, is another observation by the Neue Freie Presse reporter: "Remarkably, an instrumental piece in the Strauss operetta made an absolutely thrilling impression: the orchestral prelude to the third Act, starting off in waltz-time, exhibits uncommonly tender feeling and overflows with melodic sweetness. The audience could not hear enough of this entr'acte music and it had to be repeated: everyone thought instinctively of the dazzling success which Mascagni's Intermezzo enjoyed at the first performance [20.03.1891] of 'Cavalleria rusticana' in our [Court] Opera Theatre". For reasons explained in detail in the notes accompanying opp. 456 and 458 in this Marco Polo CD series of recordings, the task of selecting and arranging all but one (op. 455) of the separate dances (and march) from the score of Jabuka fell not to Strauss himself, but to the conductor and composer Louis Roth (1843-1929). Earlier, on an unidentified Sunday in the summer of 1894, Strauss had written to his friend "Gustl"Lewy, the publisher of Jabuka: "I have today sorted out the themes which are suitable as dance music. From them can be made 2 excellent quick polkas, a French polka of equally high standard [and] a highly effective quadrille. Perhaps I can even produce a polka-mazurka out of them, too".
The polka-mazurka indeed came into being, fashioned by Roth from the plentiful melodies in Strauss's jubilee operetta, and entitled Sonnenblume. The choice of title derived from a reference to the flower in the text to the Act 2 duet (No. 10) for Anitta and Vasil von Gradinaz: "Da sah er, wie im Thale die Sonnenblume stand / Zu ihr mit einem Male war er in Lieb' entbrannt" ('Then he saw how the sunflower was standing in the valley / At once he was enflamed with love for it'), although the accompanying melody does not feature in the polka-mazurka itself. The themes used for Sonnenblume commence (theme 1A) with material from the moving Prelude to Act 3, anticipating the first melody in the Act 3 Quartet (No. 17), "Siehe die Sonne verglüh'n", while the sources of the remaining melodies are as follows:
(This latter quotation, "O blüh' für mich, o sei mir gut" - 'Oh flower for me, be fond of me' - is also to be found jotted on a billet doux Strauss wrote for his wife Adele.)
As Lewy's publishing house issued no orchestral performing material for Sonnenblume, the polka-mazurka has been arranged for the performance on this Marco Polo recording by its conductor, Christian Pollack.
Romanze Nr. 2 in g-Moll (Romance No. 2 in G minor) op. 255
The enormous success of Johann Strauss's first summer concert series at Pavlovsk in 1856 persuaded the management of the Tsarskoye-Selo Railway Company in St. Petersburg to extend their contract with the Viennese Kapellmeister, initially for a further two seasons. Accordingly, on 5 December 1856 (= 23 November 1856, Russian calendar), Johann appended his signature to the contract binding him to appearances at the Vauxhall Pavilion in Pavlovsk for the summer months of 1857 and 1858. The contract made a number of stipulations, amongst them that, while "the choice of classical, operatic, garden- and dance-music pieces is left to Herr Strauss, in this he is to follow the taste of the local audience and, apart from his own compositions, is also to perform the most popular and latest compositions of other famous masters, with a full orchestra and under his personal direction".
"The taste of the local audience" in mid-19th-century Pavlovsk was reflected in the six musical 'romances' which Johann was to compose between 1860 and 1865. Two of these, Romanze Nr. 3 (1863) and Romanze Nr. 4 (1864) remain unpublished. Of the four which were published, the first two (in D minor and G minor) probably originated in Pavlovsk during the summer of 1860 and first appeared in piano editions by A. Büttner of St. Petersburg. It has not so far proved possible to trace performances of either work in Russia during 1860, although both featured on numerous occasions in Johann's Pavlovsk programmes for 1861 - Romanze Nr. 2 being heard for the first time that year (according to the orchestra's diarist F.A. Zimmermann) at Strauss's concert on 25 June (= 13 June, Russian calendar).
On 21 November 1860 the Fremden-Blatt newspaper announced that Johann Strauss planned to give the first Viennese performance of Romanze Nr. 1 and Nr. 2 together at his concert in the Vienna Volksgarten on 25 November, an event marking his first public appearance since his return from Russia. Since, however, a further advertisement for the same concert in the Fremden-Blatt of 23 November omits the two romances from the list of new compositions which Johann was scheduled to play, and neither work is mentioned in the detailed review of the concert which was published in Der Zwischen-Akt on 27.11.1860, it seems highly probable that Johann decided against playing the two pieces on this occasion. Instead, both romances featured on the "Programme of novelties" which Johann and Josef Strauss presented at the 'Sperl' dance hall on Saturday 1 December 1860.
The evident popularity of musical romances in Russia at that time was not shared by Johann's regular publisher in Vienna, Carl Haslinger. A ready market for Strauss's dance music ensured that such compositions moved swiftly from his shelves: romances by Vienna's 'Waltz King' were a different matter. Not until almost a year later, in October 1861, did Haslinger publish the work, when he included it in the collection "Neuigkeiten für das Pianoforte, 14. Abt. No. 141 " (New Pieces for Pianoforte, Volume 14, No. 141). The delay in publishing the Romance in G minor might also explain Haslinger's error in allotting to it the opus number 255, which he had also assigned to Strauss's St. Petersburg Quadrille nach russischen Motiven, published that same month. The Haslinger piano edition of Johann's Romanze op. 255 carried no dedication, but a report in Der Zwischen-Akt a year earlier, on 8 November 1860, mentioned that Johann had composed two romances during his recent Pavlovsk visit, adding that "one is dedicated to the Grand Duchess of Oldenburg and the other to the Princess of Mingrelia". Since the first of the two works (op. 243, see Volume 14 of this CD series) bears the dedication to Catherine Dadian, mother of the ruling Prince Nikolai of Mingrelia, it is clearly the Romanze No. 2 in G minor which the composer dedicated to the Grand Duchess Elisabeth Pauline Alexandrine of Oldenburg (1826-96) - a fact confirmed by the dedication on the Russian Büttner edition of the work to "Sa Altesse Royale Madame la Grande Duchesse d'Oldenbourgh". The dedicatee, the fourth daughter of Joseph, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg, was the wife of the Grand Duke Nicholas Friedrich Peter of Oldenburg (1827-1900), whom she had married in 1852 and by whom she had two sons and a daughter.
Regrettably, Haslinger did not issue an orchestral version of the Romance in G minor, and so this present recording uses the arrangement for cello, harp and orchestra made in the late 1960s by Max Schönherr. Although Dr Thomas Aigner of the Vienna Institute for Strauss Research reports (1993) that he has recently located a manuscript copy of the orchestral score, together with a set of parts - both dating from 1861 - at the State Shostakovich Philharmonia Library in St. Petersburg, this material was not available at the time of this CD recording.
Traumbild II (Dream Picture II) o. op.
Towards the end of his life, the thrice-married and wealthy Johann Strauss permitted himself the luxury of writing music for his own pleasure, rather than out of financial necessity. He said as much in a letter written in April 1896 to his brother Eduard: 'The way I spend the time now is very comical. I started an orchestral piece which lies between seriousness and humour, without tying myself to any particular form, even though each theme has been introduced in accordance with form. From seriousness to jollity is a great leap, accordingly it has to be left just to free imagination how the leaps occur. The first of these musical oddities is more passionate, the second (I have sufficient time to write such stuff) is a portrait of Adèle. You see, that without a publisher, I can now act and do as I please, and I am also able to enjoy myself, which was formerly denied me. For the musical portrait of my wife which I have created, I don't get 5 florins. One must be free from restraint, which I never was, to hit upon the idea of portraying the family in music. Your turn will also come; nobody is immune from my cruelty. Imagine the portraits of [my sisters] Net ti and Therese! The latter portraits are certainly no small task for the musician! Plenty of hair, and then it'll be finel".
On another occasion, Johann asked Eduard to play through the sketches of Traumbilderat a rehearsal in order to check the sound of the orchestra and to correct any mistakes. He wanted to publish the works himself: however, this did not happen. Left unpublished at the time of his death in June 1899, the two-part orchestral composition about which Johann enthused to Eduard bore the title Traumbilder (Dream Pictures). Quite unlike anything else he wrote, it shows the 'Waltz King' as a passionate, yet melancholic figure, and begs the question of what he might have achieved musically had he not been shackled to the commercial constraints of writing popular dance music.
On 8 December 1899, six months after Johann's death, Josef Weinberger's publishing house placed the following announcement in the Viennese newspapers: "! Novelty ! Sensational musical Christmas present. The posthumous work 'Traumbilder', by Johann Strauss, has just been published. Two fantasy pieces for piano solo". This edition has survived. Interestingly, however, the pieces were placed in the wrong order by the publisher and, whereas the composer had termed Traumbild I as the "more passionate", now Traumbild II was so described. Regrettably, it was only for Traumbild I that Weinberger published orchestral material, and it is this work which, according to Strauss¡¦s letter, is to be taken as a ¡§portrait of his wife Adèle". Moreover, the title page of Strauss's autograph score bears his inscription (in translation): "Dream Pictures. Dedicated to my most dearly beloved wife Adèle". In the absence of published performing material, the conductor of this present Marco Polo recording, Christian Pollack, has written out the orchestral parts for Traumbild II from the composer's barely legible manuscript.
Shortly after midday on Sunday 21 January 1900, the prestigious Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien (Society of the Friends of Music in Vienna) hosted their "Second Extraordinary Society Concert" in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein. Given "In Memory of Johann Strauss", the event was conducted by the concert director Richard von Perger, and two musical premières were announced for the third item on the programme: the prelude to Act 3 of Johann Strauss's ballet Aschenbrödel (Cinderella) and, before that, Traumbild. From the report of the concert which appeared in the Fremden-Blatt on 22 January 1900, we may be sure that it was Traumbild I which was played on this occasion: 'The orchestra presented two interesting pieces from the maestro's estate; an 'Entre'act' from the ballet 'Aschenbrödel', whose homely waltz tune was exceptionally pleasing and had to be repeated, and an elegiac tone picture 'Traumbilder' which, if it had been less spun out would have been equally successful on the basis of its charming sound". To be sure, only Traumbild I can be described as an "elegiac tone picture" - the moving and emotional "Portrait of Adèle". It seems highly probable that Traumbild II was known at that time only in the piano edition.
Later in the afternoon of that same Sunday, 21 January 1900, Eduard Strauss appeared with the Strauss Orchestra in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein for one of their regular series of Sunday afternoon concerts. By coincidence, the first half of the programme also featured a fantasy piece entitled Traumbilder. This was not, however, his brother's work, but one of a handful of works in the orchestra's repertoire written by the popular Danish light music composer/conductor, Hans Christian Lumbye (1810-74). Of further interest regarding this particular concert by the Strauss Orchestra is a programme sheet, now in the collection of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. It suggests that among the audience was a 25-year-old composer who was soon to make his mark in 20th-century music: Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951). Noted in pencil on the programme are the words: "Schonberg, Glasergasse 19". The Viennese-born Arnold Schönberg (to give his name correctly) lived with his mother at this address, in Vienna's IXth district, from 1898 until 1900/1, whereupon he transferred to Berlin. Among his catalogue of works are transcriptions of waltzes by Johann Strauss II, including Wein, Weib und Gesang! op. 333 and Kaiser-Walzer op. 437.
Programme notes © 1994 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.
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 many successful volumes to the complete compact disc Johann Strauss II and for Naxos has recorded a varied repertoire.
The Austrian conductor Christian Pollack was born in Vienna and now lives in Lucerne. He studied violin, viola, organ and composition at the Vienna Academy of Music, followed by conducting studies with Hans Swarowsky and Sergiu Celibidache, making his début as a conductor in 1971 at the Regensburg Theatre. There followed engagements in Aachen, Klagenfurt and Vienna, before his appointment as principal conductor in Lucerne. His activities have included guest appearances with the Radio Orchestra of the Südwestfunk in Baden-Baden, the Nuremberg and Essen Operas and the Vienna Volksoper, and musicological research, particularly in the field of Viennese dance music and the works of the Strauss family.
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