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8.223239 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 39
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.
Ninetta-Marsch (Ninetta March) op. 447
Around the time of the première of Johann Strauss's three-act operetta, Fürstin Ninetta (Princess Ninetta), at the Theater an der Wien on 10 January 1893, the Viennese humorous weekly journal, Figaro, published a caricature of the composer by the artist Theo Zasche. Strauss is depicted, hands clasped in supplication, with the caption: "O holy 'Simplicius', look upon 'Ritter Pásmán' and grant me the wish that 'Ninetta' is not the third of the bunch". Neither of Johann's two previous stage works, Simplicius (1887) and Ritter Pásmán (1892), had met with public or critical acclaim and, privately, the composer harboured severe reservations about his latest theatrical endeavour. The authors of Fürstin Ninetta, Julius Bauer (1853-1941) and Hugo Wittmann (1839-1923), had deliberately refrained from showing Strauss the entire libretto, confining themselves to sending him just the song texts and ensemble scenes. Johann had composed enthusiastically on this basis, but had reacted with horror when the whole plot of the operetta was divulged to him at the final rehearsals. In the event, his fears proved largely unfounded, and Fürstin Ninetta registered a victory at the box-office and with the gentlemen of the press. Der Floh (15.01.1893), for example, considered that "Johann Strauss again brought the salvation of operetta to the Theater an der Wien for this season. The book was a success in the true sense of the word, the music was charming and was thoroughly pleasing. Strauss has once more spun us such delightful melodies ...".
Perhaps nowhere was the still-youthful freshness of Johann's invention more apparent in the score of Fürstin Ninetta than in the melodies cast in waltz and march tempo. The best of these subsequently found their way into Strauss's purely orchestral arrangements from the operetta, the Ninetta-Walzer (op. 445, Volume 22 of this CD series) and the Ninetta-Marsch. For what Die Presse (11.01.1893) termed the "exotic entrance song" (Act 1, No. 5) of the Russian Turk, Cassim Pascha, played by Alexander Girardi (1850-1918), Strauss crafted to the words "Dort wo Slut und Wutki flissen" ('Where blood and vodka flow') a sprightly melody which he later developed into the opening theme (1A) of the Ninetta-Marsch. To furnish theme 1B of the march he utilised music from the Act 2 Finale (No. 12), sung by the chorus in the operetta and commencing with the words "Herrlich erschallt brauset und hallt des Vulcanes Donnerruf" (¡¥The volcano's thunderous voice splendidly rings out, booms and echoes¡¦). For the first part (theme 2A) of the Trio section of the orchestral march the composer selected part of Ninetta's Act 1 (No. 3) entrance song, "Fremdenführer bin ich" (¡¥I am a tourist guide¡¦), sung by Ilka Palmay (1860-1944) in the title rôle. The second melody of the Trio (theme 2B) can be traced to an orchestral interlude which appears during the course of the Act 3 (No. 15) quintet for Adelheid, Anastasia, Ferdinand, Prosper and Baron Morsburg.
Like many of the marches which Johann Strauss wrote in his later years, the jaunty Ninetta-Marsch showed that Vienna's Waltz King could hold his own against the marches of the military Kapellmeisters of the period. Military bands stationed in and around the Austrian capital were swift to take the new march into their repertoire; indeed, it was the band of Infantry Regiment No. 2, conducted by their bandmaster Alois Kraus (1840-1923), who gave the first performance of Strauss's Ninetta-Marsch at their concert in the ¡¥Goldene Rose¡¦ establishment on 5 March 1893, immediately after the work was published by August Cranz.
Irenen-Walzer (Irene Waltz) op. 32
During the Carnival of 1846, the work-hungry younger Johann Strauss accepted an engagement with his orchestra to perform at a ¡¥Schützenball¡¦ (Riflemen's Ball) in the small Hungarian border-town of Altenburg (today, Mosonmagyaróvár), organised by the Altenburg Riflemen's Corps. For this event, held on 9 February 1846 in the Town Hall, Strauss wrote his Altenburg-Walzer (Altenburg Waltz), which he dedicated to the ball organisers. Regrettably, this work remained unpublished and has been lost. The ball itself proved a great personal success for the 20-year-old Kapellmeister, and a poem ("Souvenir of the Altenburg Riflemen's Ball") was written in his honour. Far more importantly, however, as the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung was later to write (1.02.1847), the organisers "were so delighted ... that they spared no expense and trouble to secure him again" for the 1847 Carnival.
On 30 December 1846, the Viennese journal Der Wanderer published the following notice: "This year, Herr Strauss Son has again accepted an invitation to arrange several festive balls at Ungarisch-Altenburg [Hungarian Altenburg]. He is expected there on 1 February ". Since Johann's activities on either side of this date are documented - he conducted at the "Industry Reunion" in Baden-bei-Wien on 30 January 1847 (see Industrie-Quadrille op. 35, Volume 26 of this CD series) and at a festive ball in the Straußl-Säle on 3 February 1847 - he and a part of his orchestra probably set off for Altenburg in several carriages on the morning of 31 January, returning on the morning of 3 February at the latest. Even allowing for the journey being undertaken in the depths of winter, the ensemble could thus have given performances in Altenburg between 31 January and 2 February 1847.
The Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung of 1 February 1847 announced that for his Altenburg engagement Strauss had composed a Magyaren-Walzer (Magyar Waltz), which was dedicated "to an Hungarian count". In the absence of any reports on the ball, it cannot be determined whether the work was first played under this title, although part of the Introduction is indeed in the style of Hungarian national music. All that is known is that the waltz which Johann took with him to Altenburg was later published as the Irenen-Walzer, and that it bore the dedication: "Most respectfully dedicated to the Right Honourable the Countess Irene Zichy by Johann Strauss Son". It has not proved possible to ascertain whether the young Countess was present at the first performance of the work.
The Countess Irene Zichy, née Baroness Irene Meskó of Széklak and Enyiczke (1823-79), had been married since 22 March 1843 to the Imperial-Royal Chamberlain Count Heinrich Zichy-Vásonykeö. There had been links for many years between Johann Strauss Father and his sons and the various branches of the Zichy family: for example, the elder Johann dedicated his waltz Die Vortänzer op. 189 (1846) to the Imperial-Royal Chamberlain, Count Edmund Zichy (1811-66).
The Irenen-Walzerwas subsequently to appear frequently in programmes of the Strauss Orchestra in Vienna. H.F. Müller's publishing house issued the piano edition of the work on 24 April 1847. No orchestral parts were printed, though the publisher announced the availability of handwritten "correct copies" for orchestra. Assuming that these were actually released on to the market, none seems to have survived. The Irenen-Walzer has therefore been arranged for this present recording by Ludwig Babinski, on the basis of the piano score.
Sylphen-Polka (Sylphs. Polka) op. 309
All three Strauss brothers contributed dances to the ball of the Vienna Artists' Association, 'Hesperus', held on 4 February 1866 in the Dianabad-Saal. Each of the compositions proved popular, with Eduard's reportedly attracting the greatest applause. Yet while his waltz, Die Hesperiden (op. 18), and Josef's polka-mazurka Thalia (op. 195) were composed specifically as dedications for the 'Hesperus' festivity, brother Johann's Sylphen-Polka - which he personally conducted on the night of the ball - had been written for quite a different occasion. Conceived with the title of Dagmar-Polka, the work honoured the young Danish Princess Dagmar and her impending marriage into the Imperial family of Russia.
As he had done each year since 1856, Johann Strauss spent the summer months of 1864 at Pavlovsk, near St. Petersburg, conducting a series of concerts at the Vauxhall Pavilion. The season, which had commenced on 5 May 1864 (= 23 April, Russian calendar), was just seven days from its close when a royal proclamation was issued. On 2 October 1864 (= 20 September) it was announced that the Danish Princess Marie Sophia Frederika Dagmar (1847-1928), second daughter of King Christian IX, was betrothed to the Tsarevich Nikolai Alexandrovich (1843-65), eldest son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Though seemingly of robust constitution, the 22-year-old Nikolai died on 24 April 1865 (= 12 April), and on his deathbed expressed the wish that his fiancée should marry his successor. As a result, Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich (1845-94), second son of the Tsar and heir-apparent to the Russian throne, announced his betrothal to Princess Dagmar of Denmark on 23 June 1866 (= 11 June), and the couple were married on 9 November 1866 (= 28 October). In accordance with long-established tradition, the princess was thenceforth known by the Orthodox name of Maria Feodorovna.
The exact circumstances regarding the genesis of Johann Strauss's Dagmar-Polka may never be known, but the sequence of events may have been as follows. The announcement of the royal betrothal prompted Strauss to dedicate a polka to the princess, but left him insufficient time to compose it in Russia. Instead he planned to write his Dagmar-Polka after returning to Vienna, and then send the work to his Russian publisher so that it could be in print by the time his 1865 Pavlovsk season opened on 7 May 1865 (= 25 April). It was indeed with this title that Strauss's publisher in St. Petersburg, A. Büttner, issued the polka in Russia: moreover, handwritten orchestral performing material for the work, with each part superscribed Dagmar-Polka, has been preserved in the library of the Maryinsky (Kirov) Theatre in St. Petersburg. When Nikolai died unexpectedly in late April 1865, Johann felt unable to perform the Dagmar-Polka (which was already known in Russia from its printed edition) during his 1865 Pavlovsk engagement, and returned with it to Vienna that autumn. He rechristened it Sylphen-Polka for the Hesperus Ball during the 1866 Carnival, though it remains a matter of conjecture whether Strauss viewed the lovely former Princess Dagmar as a sylph-like young woman, or whether the graceful nature of the polka suggested its new title to the composer. Whatever the truth, C.A. Spina issued the Sylphen-Polka, complete with Johann's dedication to the 'Hesperus' Association, on 23 March 1866.
After Tsar Alexander II's assassination by revolutionaries on 13 March 1881 (= 1 March), Maria Feodorovna reigned alongside her husband as Tsarina of Russia. Much loved by the Russian people, she was to involve herself in education and philanthropy, establishing new schools, hospitals and relief centres of various kinds. Trained as a nurse during the Russo-Turkish War (1877/8), she played a major part in developing the Russian Red Cross organisation, of which she was the head. It was in this rôle that the Tsarina invited Johann Strauss to conduct a series of concerts in St. Petersburg in 1886 (see notes for opp. 423-426 inclusive).
Slaven-Ball Quadrille (Slav Ball Quadrille) op. 88
At the height of its influence, the Habsburg Empire spread from what is now southern Poland in the north to the southern coast of Dalmatia in the south; from the Swiss borders of the Alps in the west to the Ukraine in the east. Larger in area than the German Empire, it brought together some fifty million people of eleven nationalities and even more languages.
Of all the minority nationalistic communities of the Habsburg Empire which settled in Vienna during the first half of the nineteenth century, perhaps none exerted more attraction for Johann Strauss Son than the Slavic races. In addition, not only did the young Kapellmeister express a certain predilection for native Slav music, but he demonstrated his considerable understanding of it by utilising several of its melodies in his compositions. For their part, the representatives of the Slavic peoples resident in the Austrian capital held the talented musician in high regard and engaged him for many of their national events. It was therefore entirely natural that they turned to Strauss and his orchestra to provide the musical entertainment for a Slav Ball being organised for 17 February 1851 in the Sofienbad-Saal.
As a further contribution to this festivity, Johann concocted an appropriate quadrille. Although there was press coverage of the Slav Ball in the Sofienbad-Saal, no newspaper specifically named the quadrille which Johann performed. Der Humorist (19.02.1851), for example, simply remarked: "We find it completely appropriate that Slavic melodies should be used as the basis of the quadrilles [sic!]; the Krakoviak and, in general, the Polish tunes which have been interwoven fit particularly pleasingly". Since Strauss was engaged to provide the music for the Slav Ball, and as the eponymous quadrille clearly takes its name from such an event, the Slaven-Ball Quadrille may safely be assumed to have been the work performed on this occasion. Johann's op. 88 utilises music from the repertoire of Slav songs and dances which were then familiar in Vienna. The first theme of the 'Finale' (No. 6) section derives from the folk song "Dornröschen war ein schönes Kind" ("Sleeping Beauty was a beautiful child"), an air known also in Croatia under the title "Na kamen sjela Vidica" ("Upon a stone sits Vidica"). For the third theme of the 'Poule' (No. 3) section, Strauss re-used the melody of a Moravian song (in translation: "Water flows from the stream to the river") he had earlier featured as the Andante second section of his Slaven Potpourri op. 39 (Volume 34 of this CD series).
Although the Slaven-Ball Quadrille seems to have been written especially for the Slav Ball held on 17 February 1851, there is evidence of an earlier performance. On 9 February 1851, Der Wanderer carried the following report: 'The rehearsal of the music which is to be played at this year's Slav Ball (17th of this month in the Sofienbadsaal) took place the evening before last [ie. 7 February 1851] at the hall 'Zum Strauss' [= Zum Goldenen Strauss in Josefstadt] in public and with an admission charge. The pieces played were a polonaise and kolo by [Vatroslav] Lisinski ... a quadrille and two waltzes by Strauss, who performed all the aforementioned musical items with his orchestra. Among the new original compositions, [Anton Emil] Titl's 'Slavjanka-Polka' was received the best and had to be played three times. Of those by Strauss, the quadrille met with the most ardent approval ...". For the rationale stated above, there is every reason to identify this quadrille as the composer's Slaven-Ball Quadrille op. 88.
Pietro Mechetti published the Slaven-Ball Quadrille later in 1851 in editions for piano, violin and piano, and full orchestra. Regrettably, however, no set of orchestral parts has been found to date, and the composition has therefore been arranged for this present recording by Christian Pollack.
Hell und voll. Walzer (Bright and full. Waltz) op. 216
The Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung of 22 January 1859 published the names of the dance compositions which Johann Strauss had written for the forthcoming carnival season. Amongst them, the paper announced his dedication for the first of that year's formal balls, that of the medical students at Vienna University: it was to be a waltz with the title Hell und often (Bright and clear). Yet the waltz which Johann unveiled with the Strauss Orchestra three days later at the Medical Students' Ball in the Sofienbad-Saal on 25 January 1859 bore an amended name: Hell und voll (Bright and full).
Reporting on the ball, the reviewer for the Fremden-Blatt (27.01.1859) plainly recognised the need for partially explaining the title of this latest Strauss work, obscure to anyone without expertise in the medical field. "The new waltz by Johann Strauss, composed especially for this ball and called 'Hell und voll' after the technical term used in percussion, was very warmly received". Percussion, a clinical advance of premier importance, was of great value to physicians as a means of detecting chest diseases and outlining the position of internal organs. Consisting of tapping a part of a patient's body with the fingers, it was invented by the Graz-born Austrian physician, Leopold Auenbrugger (1722-1809), whose work was published in his New Invention for Discovering Obscure Thoracic Diseases by Percussion of the Chest (1762). Strauss's choice of waltz title indicates a healthy prognosis: when the patient is fit and well, a bright and resonant note will result from percussion of the chest.
Strauss's publisher, Carl Haslinger, took great pains to ensure that he capitalised without delay on the success of the rhythmic Hell und voll. He advertised the publication of the work on 30 January 1859, causing the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung (2.02.1859) to observe: "The amazingly swift publication of the medical students' dances, 'Hell und voll', which Herr Kapellmeister Johann Strauss favourably performed for the first time only a few days ago, provides exceptional proof of the remarkable activity of the Imperial-Royal Court Music Dealer, Carl Haslinger": The first piano edition bears the inscription: "Respectfully dedicated to the Gentlemen Students of Medicine by Johann Strauss".
This present Marco Polo recording utilises the orchestral parts issued in 1859 by Haslinger's publishing house.
I Tipferl-Polka française (The Cot on the 'i'. French polka) op. 377
While the critics universally condemned the libretto of Johann Strauss's three-act comic operetta Prinz Methusalem (Prince Methuselah) when the stage work opened at Vienna's Carl-Theater on 3 January 1877, they generally praised the music. Writing in the Fremden-Blatt on 4 January 1877, Ludwig Speidel observed: "The extraordinarily comprehensive score shows the transition and development which Strauss has gone through between 'Indigo', his first attempt at operetta, and 'Prinz Methusalem'. In the new piece there is a much greater multiplicity of expression and form than in the early works, and the dance tunes appear to be considerably reduced". The critic continued: "The principal comic rôle, entrusted to Herr Matras, was in the safest hands. In 'Prinz Methusalem' the popular comic actor has found one of his best and most worthwhile rôles and, in particular, the performance of the comic song ['Das Tipferl auf dem i'] must be labelled as incomparable". By common consent at the time, this couplet, sung by the diminutive Viennese-born Josef Matras (1832-87) in the rôle of Sigismund, Prince of Trocadero, was one of the highlights of Act 2.
Matras's special strength lay in his outstanding delivery of comic songs and, in a distinguished career, none was to bring him greater acclaim than Strauss's "Das Tipferl auf dem i". The rhyming of Sigismund's couplet (No. 12 in the printed score of the operetta) was probably the work of Karl Treumann (1824-77), who adapted Prinz Methusalem for the stage from the French original by Victor Wilder and Alfred Delacour. Towards the end of the song appear the words: "Am End' fand man das *Zipferl, / die Ursach' ist halt die: / der Mann vergass das Tipferl, / das Tipferl auf dem i!" ('Finally the loose end was found, / the reason for it was: / the man forgot the little dot, / the dot upon the i!'). Strauss's 'pointed' music for this number ideally matches the amusing text. Very swiftly the popularity of the couplet gave rise to parodic verses by C. Reder, which were published in Vienna: entitled "Das Stricherl auf dem ŭ", the text concerns the Germanic custom of distinguishing the letter 'n' from 'u' by writing the symbol £¾ over the latter.
Johann Strauss's purely orchestral I Tipferl-Polka takes its name, as well as the music for its Trio section, from Sigismund's Act 2 couplet "Das Tipferl auf dem i". Its remaining themes are drawn from the following sources in the operetta:
The I Tipferl-Polka was heard for the first time in Vienna during summer 1877, played by one of the many military bands stationed in the capital. There, music lovers already knew the amusing melody of the polka's Trio section from the theatre and, of course, from the repertoire of the folk singers who had seized upon the original to produce mirth-provoking, and sometimes bawdy, versions of the verse. The polka rapidly entered the repertoire of the regimental bands, but not until 21 October 1877 did it feature on a programme by the Strauss Orchestra, when Eduard Strauss conducted it at his Sunday afternoon concert in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein. A further sixteen months were to elapse before Johann Strauss himself conducted the work for the first time, the occasion being a "Soirée musicale" in the 'Cercle de France International' in Paris on 20 February 1879. This event saw not only the French première of the I Tipferl-Polka (given under the title of Le point sur I'i), but also the world première of Johann's Pariser-Polka (op. 382, see Volume 5 of this CD series).
Klänge aus der Raimundzeit. [Quodlibet aus Gesängen und Tänzen]
Echoes from the days of Raimund. [Quodlibet from songs and dances] op. 479
On 17 May 1991, the manuscript full score of Johann Strauss's final published work with opus number, Klänge aus der Raimundzeit, came under the hammer at Sotheby's London auction house. The manuscript, comprising seventeen pages notated in pencil on one system of twenty-four staves, was contained within a cream board outer, inscribed in dark brown ink in another's hand (in translation): "Klänge aus der Raimundzeit. Musical Prelude on themes by Drechsler, Kreutzer, Lanner, Wenzei Müller and Johann Strauss Father, compiled by Johann Strauss. Performed under the direction of the composer in the Deutsches Volkstheater on 31 May 1898 at the Raimund Festival, organised by the Memorial Committee on the occasion of the unveiling of the Raimund Memorial".
This handwritten information detailed accurately the occasion for which Johann Strauss compiled his quodlibet on melodies from his youth, Klänge aus der Raimundzeit. The festival performance in the Deutsches Volkstheater preceded the unveiling of Franz Vogl's memorial to the great Austrian dramatist, poet and actor, Ferdinand Raimund (1790-1836), on 1 June 1898. The first piano edition of Strauss's work, published in 1898 by Albert Jungmann & C. Lerch, presents a photograph of the monument in front of the theatre, close to Vienna's Weghuber Park. Strauss's potpourri served as a curtain raiser for the evening's programme and preceded Carl Karlweis's one-act biographical play, In Gutenstein, in which Alexander Girardi took the rôle of Ferdinand Raimund. This was followed by scenes from four of Raimund's plays Der Diamant des Geisterkönigs (The Diamond of the Spectral King), Das Mädchen aus der Feenwelt oder Der Bauer als Millionär (The Maiden from Fairyland or The Farmer as a Millionaire), Der Alpenkönig und der Menschenfeind (The Mountain King and the Enemy of Mankind) and Der Verschwender (The Spendthrift), and the evening concluded with an Apotheosis.
The day before the première, 30 May 1898, Johann wrote in a letter to his brother Eduard: "Klänge aus der Raimundzeit, which little prelude will be performed tomorrow - I shall have copied for you immediately afterwards. The little thing is written for small orchestra, that is 1 flute, 1 oboe, 2 clarinets, 1 bassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets and [string] quartet". For the 72-year-old Strauss, however, the performance of his "little thing" actually proved to be something of a trial in the half-light of the small orchestra pit, it was only with the greatest difficulty that he found his way to the rostrum. Once there, however, he conducted - as the Fremden-Blatt (10.6.1898) noted - "with his famous old verve. How delightful and warm and melancholy, and then again cheerful, sounded these old tunes by Kreuzer, Lanner, Father Strauss and dear, good, simple Wenzel Müller, the Mozart of the couplet [in the days] of bastion-encircled Vienna!". In spite of the audience being tangibly moved by the ageing maestro's musical reminiscences, the performance was greeted by tumultuous applause. The public's acclaim for the work proved even greater when Johann conducted it, under the amended title of Aus der Raimundzeit (From the days of Raimund), at his brother Eduard's afternoon benefit concert with the Strauss Orchestra in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein on Sunday 27 November 1898. This time the Fremden-Blatt spoke of "an enchanting offering, which brought to life Old Vienna with all its comforting charms and advantages"
Although the title page of Strauss's autograph musical score names the composition as Klänge aus der Raymund's Zeit (sic!), the first page of music shows that the composer himsell originaily called the work "Reminiscenz. Aus der guten alten Zeit" (Reminiscence. From the good old days). The manuscript is fascinating for the light it sheds on the painstaking manner in which Strauss marshalled the selection of source material for this potpourri. The pages show the introductions, transitions and codas, together with the composer's cues for the inserted music and Instructions to his copyist - for example: "Please arrange these connecting bars in such a way that no break arises". On another page there appears the direction: "Das Leben ein Tanz. Entire 1st section & 2nd section 15 bars. After that Schönbrunn I".
The sequence of music which Johann Strauss chose for Klänge aus der Raimundzeit is presented as follows:
Introduction - "Brüderlein fein", the Farewell to Youth from the magic play Das Mädchen aus der Feenwelt oder Der Bauer als Milllonär. Music by Strauss's own teacher, Joseph Drechler. Première: Theater in der Leopoldstadt, 10 November 1826.
Joseph Lanner: Steyrische Tänze op. 165 (1841)
"So leb' denn wohl, du stilles Haus", Departure from the charcoal-burner's hut from Der Alpenkönig und der Menschenfeind. Music by Wenzel Müller Première: Theater in der Leopoldstadt, 17 October 1828.
Johann Strauss Father: Das Leben ein Tanz, oder Der Tanz ein Leben! Walzer op. 49 (1831)
Joseph Lanner: Die Schönbrunner, Walzer op. 200 (1842)
Valentin's "Hobellied" (Planing Song) from Der Verschwender. Music by Conradin Kreutzer. Première: Theater in der Josefstadt, 20 February 1834.
Johann Strauss Father: Deutsche Lust, oder Donau-Lieder ohne Text, Walzer op. 127 (1841).
The closing section of Klänge aus der Raimundzeit comprises an interweaving of the two 'farewell' themes, "Brüderlein fein" (Fine little brother) and "So leb' denn wohl, du stilles Haus" (So farewell, thou quiet house).
Considering the prominence Strauss gave to the 'farewell' themes in this late work, it is very tempting to suggest that in spring 1898 he perhaps already suspected that he, too, would soon bid farewell to the world. There is a good deal of poignancy in the final, lingering quotations from "Brüderlein fein" and "So leb' denn wohl, du stilles Haus", and Joseph Drechler's song (with its lines: "Even though the sun shines bright / It must soon give way to night") clearly occupied a special place in the heart of Vienna's Waltz King. As her husband lay dying from pneumonia a year later, Adèle Strauss later recalled: "On 1 June  poor Jean [Johann], in a delirious slate, called incessantly for me and my daughter, when we were both actually sitting by his bed of suffering. And when the invalid recognised us, a weary smile passed over the pallid face, his eyes - of other times so bright - looked dull and melancholy, and from his chest, which was fighting for breath, a faint, heart-rending song struggled forth! An old song, well known to both me and my child, but I had never heard it from him before. Now it sounded forth from his pale lips, solemnly, floating in ghostly fashion around the room: 'Brüderlein fein - einmal muss geschieden sein!"' (Fine little brother, one day there must be a parting!).
Jabuka-Quadrille (Jabuka Quadrille) op. 460
Johann Strauss was hoping for a major success when, during the summer of 1894, he worked towards completing his operetta Jabuka (Das Apfelfest) - Jabuka (The Apple Festival). The stage work was to be produced at the Theater an der Wien on the occasion of major festivities in the Austrian capital marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Waltz King's début as composer and conductor in Dommayer's Casino in the suburb of Hietzing. Strauss had made known his wish for an operetta plot set in a land resounding to Slavic music, and Max Kalbeck (1850-1921) and Gustav Davis (1856-1951) - two established librettists - had tried hard to comply with this request. They fashioned a tale revolving around the Serbian tradition of the 'Jabuka', the 'Festival of Apples' at which all the young men looking for a wife go down on their knees and hand their chosen one a branch bearing an apple: the maiden who wishes to reciprocate his love does so by taking a bite of the fruit. Unfortunately, the collaboration between composer and librettists did not proceed smoothly, and Strauss lost the impetus with which he had begun setting his music to the song texts at one point during Act 3 Johann apologised to his publisher for delays since 'the librettists have left it to me to compose a quartet [No. 17] according to my own ideas'.
In the wake of the understandable euphoria which greeted the opening night of Jabuka on 12 October 1894, the public reaction became polite and respectful. As audience interest dimmed after a short run of performances, the directrix of the Theater an der Wien, Alexandrine von Schönerer, was forced to remove the work from the schedule. One of the results of the limited impact of Jabuka was that the dance pieces arranged on its themes, with the exception of the waltz "Ich bin dir gut!" op. 455, were published only as piano editions. Wishing to limit his financial risks on the theatrical venture, the publisher Gustav Lewy refused to pay Strauss additional sums for arranging and orchestrating the separate dance pieces and instead commissioned the conductor/composer Louis Roth (1843-1929) to make the arrangements of the pieces for piano. Johann was engaged to check and correct Roth's work, but he jealously guarded his own reputation and insisted that Roth's name appear as arranger on the title page of each piece. While Strauss vehemently refused to allow Roth to arrange these dances for orchestra as well (see op. 458, Volume 37 of this CD series), he did permit his brother Eduard to make the orchestration for the Jabuka-Quadrille. However, this too was not without its problems, as Johann advised Gustav Lewy on 2 September 1894: "It should have been announced that the quadrille from the operetta would be provided by Eduard, for this reason, that he is disposed to play all your arrangements in his concerts. Eduard is a rather difficult gentleman, and has to be won over to promoting your orchestral editions. I fear that when he learns that someone else is providing the instrumentation of the dances he may abandon every performance of these pieces". In the event, the Jabuka-Quadrille did not feature on the programmes of any of Eduard's concerts in the Musikverein during the 1894/5 season, nor was it played during his three-month London concert season in 1895. Since the quadrille is also absent from the records of the Strauss Orchestra's Archive which Eduard prepared after his retirement in 1901, it may be assumed that he decided against making an orchestration of the piece. For this Marco Polo recording, Christian Pollack has therefore arranged the Jabuka-Quadrille from the piano score, taking into account the orchestrations in Johann Strauss's operetta score.
At no time does the rhythmical and attractive Jabuka-Quadrille suggest to the casual listener that its melodies are drawn from an unsuccessful stage work. The themes presented are to be found exclusively in Acts 1 and 2, and may be summarised as follows:
Abschieds-Walzer [in F-dur] (Farewell Waltz [in F major]) o. op.
The Strauss Orchestra's traditional seasons of Sunday afternoon concerts which, for a full thirty years, Eduard Strauss had conducted in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein, came to an end on 25 March 1900. In their place, during the winter of 1900/01, Eduard and his orchestra undertook a concert tour of the United States of America. At the end of this engagement, an embittered and dispirited Eduard disbanded the Strauss Orchestra and retired from public life.
The void left in Vienna's musical life during the Strauss Orchestra's absence in America was filled by the Wiener Konzertverein-Orchester (Vienna Concert Union Orchestra), a body of musicians founded in 1900, who moved into the Musikverein and took over the Sunday afternoon concerts under the conductors Karl Stix and Karl Komzák II. (In a letter to Komzák on 30 May 1900, Richard Heuberger enthused: "We have the Sunday concerts in the Musikverein hall!!!".) It was at these concerts that the Waltz King's widow, Adèle Strauss (1856-1930), permitted two compositions from Johann Strauss's estate to be performed: a waltz in A major entitled Ischler Walzer (Ischl Waltz) and another waltz in F major, announced as Abschieds-Walzer (Farewell Waltz). The orchestral scores for both works, which are in Johann Strauss's own hand, but incomplete, are to be found in the collection of the Wiener Stadt- und Landesbibliothek in Vienna. It is not known who undertook the preparation of the complete version for performance, nor is an arranger or editor named on the printed editions of the works issued by the Leipzig publishing house of Hermann Seemann Nachfolger.
The first performance of the Abschieds-Walzer (also identified as Posthumous Waltz No.1) took place on 9 December 1900 in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein, with Karl Komz8.k (1850-1905) conducting the Wiener Konzertverein-Orchester in a "Popular Concert". Unfortunately, it has not been possible to determine what kind of reception the public accorded the work.
An interesting piano edition of the posthumous waltz appeared in 1905. As a notice in the Illustriertes Wiener Extrablatt of 21 May 1905 records, "the recently published No. 10 of Volume VI of the 'Musikblätter' [presents] a Johann Strauss Album which includes the Waltz King's last two works, 'Abschieds-Walzer' and 'Ischler Walzer'". The advertisement specifically mentions that this album is not only available from the music dealers, but also "from all Vienna's tobacco shops for 30 crowns". The modern marketing of Strauss had begun ...
Unparteiische Kritiken. Polka-Mazurka (Impartial reviews. Polka-mazurka) op. 442
After a four-year gestation period and numerous postponements, Johann Strauss's long-awaited grand opera, Ritter Pásmán (Knight Pásmán), opened at the Wiener Hof-Operntheater (Vienna Court Opera Theatre) on 1 January 1892. Over the days that followed the Viennese press carried reviews which were, for the most part, negative. On the very day of the première, for example, the Fremden-Blatt had trumpeted the new Strauss stage work as "a box-office draw that rates alongside 'Cavalleria rusticana' and 'Manon' ...", but in its edition of 3 January 1892 the paper opined: "Without a doubt, people will go to 'Fledermaus' in order to recover from 'Ritter Pásmán'". The composer felt badly let down by the press, and was deeply hurt by Eduard Hanslick's review which appeared in the Neue Freie Presse on 3 January. Hanslick's viewpoint was summed up in a cartoon in the Viennese humorous weekly publication, Figaro. Beneath Theo Zasche's caricature of the revered critic, the caption reads: "What the supreme god has to say about it: 'Cobbler, stick to your last!'".
His pride sorely wounded, Johann Strauss voiced his contempt for music critics. "They are professors!", he wrote to his friend, Gustav Lewy. "They have to know better than others, and have to be right. Thus, there are many thousands of worms in the world who would remain unnoticed if they did not feel obliged to make themselves noticeable ... I shit on all professors of musicology ...". With regard to Ritter Pásmán, Strauss felt especially aggrieved that it had been judged more as the work of Vienna's Waltz King, rather than as a contemporary opera in its own right. A sense of burning injustice still irked him when he came to christen the polka-mazurka he had written as his dedication for that year's ball of the Vienna Authors' and Journalists' Association, 'Concordia', to be held in the Sofienbad-Saal on 22 February 1892. He pointedly entitled his new dance piece Unparteiische Kritiken (Impartial reviews). If the 'Concordia' Ball Committee was aware of the markedly personal reference expressed in Johann's choice of title, it said nothing, and Unparteiische Kritiken took its place alongside the dedications of eleven other composers on the ball-music programme. On the night of the 'Concordia' Ball, Eduard Strauss conducted the Strauss Orchestra in the first performance of his brother's polka-mazurka, and the charming work was loudly applauded by the dancers.
Strauss duly sent a score of Unparteiische Kritiken to his publisher in Berlin, Fritz Simrock. Some two weeks before the 'Concordia' Ball, on 5 February 1892, he wrote to Simrock. "You can publish it earlier than 22nd February (day of the Concordia Ball). It would therefore be good if you could come out with it during the carnival season ...". In the event, the German publisher may well have complied with Johann's request, for the Neue Freie Presse of 19 February 1892 announced that Unparteiische Kritiken "will appear shortly" from Simrock in editions for piano and orchestra. Inwardly, however, Strauss continued to seethe. He plainly considered that the critics had dealt Ritter Pásmán a mortal blow: on 18 March 1892, after just nine performances, the opera disappeared from the repertoire. It would clearly have been imprudent for the composer to have withdrawn his promised dedication work for the 'Concordia' Ball, but on 13 February 1892 he notified Simrock: "I have sent by express mail ... the title pages, only I have crossed out the dedication, i.e. 'Dedicated to the Concordia'. This way it becomes possible to utilize this title without hurting anybody".
Eduard Hanslick initially showed no reaction to the title Strauss chose for the dance dedication he submitted for the 'Concordia' Ball. Later, however, after the piano edition of the polka-mazurka had appeared from Simrock's publishing house with a cover illustration depicting the female figure of 'Justice' wearing a blindfold, Hanslick felt greatly insulted. Not daring to inform Strauss of his displeasure, he instead protested to Simrock, the publisher, who merely found the episode amusing.
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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