|About this Recording
8.223241 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 41
The Johann Strauss (1825-1899)
Edition, Volume 41
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.
 Wo uns're Fahne weht! Marsch (Where our banner flies! March) op. 473
With Die Göttin der Vernunft (The Goddess of Reason), which opened at Vienna's Theater an der Wien on 13 March 1897, Johann Strauss bade farewell to the operetta stage. Yet, while the critic for the Wiener Rundschau (1.04.1897) openly praised the "many fine features" of the musical score, he lost no time in pinpointing the underlying weakness of the work: "The misfortune which Johann Strauss had for the most part in the choice of his librettists is well-known, and it can only be attributed to the naïvety of true talent that the maestro once again took a bad book". In his defence, Strauss had recognised at an early stage the dubious nature of a book which sought to introduce burlesque into a tale woven around the terrifying and cruel days of the French Revolution. His subsequent attempt to extricate himself from the venture was met by the threat of legal action from his librettists, and he therefore worked on reluctantly, duly fulfilling his part of the contract. Pleading "harmless bronchial catarrh", however, he did not attend the operetta's première; instead, progress bulletins were telephoned to his home at the end of each act. Later, he was only prepared to attend one of the stage work's final performances.
In its lengthy first night review of Die Göttin der Vernunft, the Fremden-Blatt newspaper (14.03.1897) noted the musical highlights of each act, particularly praising Captain Robert's Act 1 entrance song (No. 2a) at the head of his troops, "Der Schöpfung Meisterstück - ist der Husar" ('The masterpiece of creation - is the hussar'). Upon the appearance of Captain Robert (played by Karl Streitmann, 1858-1937) the Fremden-Blatt critic observed: "It goes without saying that he does not miss the opportunity to sing a lively soldiers' song. The next day it will be sung throughout Vienna in imitation of him, for a march tune of such stirring, popular drive, of such crisp verse, has not been heard from the operetta stage for a long time". In due course this melody took its place alongside two other themes from Die Göttin der Vernunft when, with a youthful vigour which belied his seventy-one years, Johann Strauss raided the score of his operetta to create one of his most exuberant and glorious marches - Wo uns're Fahne weht!. This rousing composition, which has inexplicably failed to gain a foothold in Viennese concert repertoire, presents the following thematic material from the operetta:
The somewhat minor publisher of Die Göttin der Vernunft, Emil Berté & Cie, also undertook publication of the dance pieces arranged from the score of the operetta; in the end, only three of the six items announced appeared in print as piano editions, among them the march Wo uns're Fahne weht! for which orchestral material was also published. The brisk and snappy work does not appear in any programme by the Strauss Orchestra, but it swiftly entered the repertoire of Vienna's numerous military bands. As such it was left to the band of Infantry Regiment No. 84 - the 2nd Vienna 'House Regiment' - under Bandmaster Johann Müller (1856-1924) to give the first performance of Wo uns're Fahne weht! on 5 May 1897 at the restaurant 'Zum wilden Mann' in the Prater, as part of a concert of Richard Wagner's music! It remains in question whether Strauss ever heard a public performance of his march: sadly, there was no pleasure for the ageing maestro in the work with which he took his leave of the world operetta - a world he had so immeasurably enriched with his melodies.
 Burschen-Lieder. Walzer (Students' Songs. Waltz) op. 55
Vienna's students and workers were the principal protagonists in the revolutionary activities against the regime of the Austrian Chancellor Prince Clemens von Metternich (1773-1859) in March 1848. When the younger Johann Strauss returned to Vienna at the end of May / early June of that year from a concert tour to the Balkans which he had commenced with his orchestra in autumn 1847, he swiftly became the favourite Kapellmeister of the revolutionaries and played at many festivities and balls organised by the students of Vienna during summer 1848. For one of these festivities, a ball for the students of the Imperial-Royal Polytechnic Institute (today, the Technical University of Vienna), the 21-year-old Johann wrote a waltz entitled Burschen-Lieder, which he dedicated "to the Gentlemen Engineers". While it has not yet proved possible to determine the exact date on which this waltz was first performed, the period of its genesis can be determined with a remarkable degree of precision. No less than seven of its waltz themes can be traced in the musical sketchbook which Strauss kept at this time (now housed in the collection of the Houghton Library of Harvard University): six of these themes (2A, 2C, 3A, 38, 4A and 4B) are to be found on the same page, the first of them (3B) being dated in the composer's hand "13 July 48". The remaining melody (theme 1B) is to be found three sides later, and it is safe to assume that the first performance took place at the end of July or in August 1848.
Burschen-Lieder commences with a most effective Introduction in march-tempo, quoting note for note the song Der Freiheit Schlachtruf (Battlecry of Freedom) - poem (1812) by Ernst Moritz Arndt (1769-1860), music (1818) by Albert Methfessel (1785-1869) - the words of which begin "Der Gott, der Eisen wachsen ließ, der wollte keine Knechte" ('The God who caused iron to grow did not want any servants'). Quite probably Strauss's inclusion of this entire melody was deliberately gauged to invite the vocal participation of his audience throughout the waltz's introductory section. In the Coda of Burschen-Lieder Johann features a rendition in three-quarter time of the ubiquitous 'Fuchslied' *, which had come to be regarded as the revolutionary song of Vienna's students ever since the first performance of Roderich Benedix's four-act comedy Das bemooste Haupt oder Der lange Israel (The Old Boy or The Long Israel) on 1 April 1848 at the Nationaltheater an der Wien, as the Theater an der Wien was referred to at this time. The text of this popular song, "Was kommt dort von der Höh"' ('What is coming from the heights, there'), will be more familiar to English-speaking listeners as "A-hunting we will go". (The 29-year-old Franz von Suppé, who dedicated a number of songs to Vienna's students during this period, also wrote a set of highly entertaining variations on "Was kommt dort von der Höh"' which are still occasionally performed today.)
Strauss's publisher, Pietro Mechetti, issued the first piano edition of Burschen-Lieder around 16 September 1848, for on that day the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung announced that the waltz had "just appeared", adding that it "belongs to the best and most excellent compositions of this highly talented Kapellmeister. These 'Students' Songs' [ie. Burchen-Lieder], which are not only very melodious but immediately invite one to dance, are made special by the well-known 'Fuchslied' which Herr Strauss has very effectively woven in at the end". The aforementioned 'Fuchslied' was responsible for the fact that this thoroughly tuneful and flowing waltz was no longer played after the army's suppression of the Revolution in late autumn 1848. As with the printed editions of Johann's other works (opp. 52, 54, 56-58 and 60) written during the period of revolutionary activity, that of Burschen-Lieder is said to have been confiscated by the police. Mechetti's publishing house apparently issued no orchestral performing material of the waltz, and Arthur Kulling has therefore arranged the work for this Marco Polo recording from an extant piano edition.
* Note: "Fuchs" (literally a 'fox') is the name for a Freshman in German universities. After a year he becomes "ein Bursch".
 Martha-Quadrille (Martha Quadrille) op. 46
On 25 November 1847 the k.k. Hof-Operntheater, situated beside the Kärntnerthor, opened its doors to the première of a four-act opera written especially for Vienna and entitled Martha ader der Markt van Richmond" (Martha, or The Fair at Richmond). Based on the ballet-pantomime Lady Henriette, ou La Servante de Greenwich (Lady Henrietta, or the Servant-Girl of Greenwich) by J.H. Vernoy de Saint-Georges, the text for Martha was the work of W. Friedrich (real name: Friedrich Wilhelm Riese) while the music had been written by the German composer Friedrich Freiherr von Flotow (1812-83), who had earlier contributed the music for one act of Saint-Georges's ballet (1844). From the royal box at the Hof-Operntheater, the Austrian Emperor Ferdinand (1793-1875) attended the first night of Martha, and was able to witness its triumphant success. The opera swiftly spread around the world: on 4 June 1849 the stage work reached England - the setting for Flotow's gentle, sentimental comedy - when a German-language production was mounted at London's Drury Lane Theatre.
Within days of the world première of Martha, melodies from Flotow's tuneful score were being sung, played and whistled throughout the Austrian capital. With his ever-present keen commercial sense, Johann Strauss Father (1804-49) - "the matador of all dance-music directors", as Der Wanderer (10.01.1848) termed him - hastened to arrange the most attractive melodies from the opera into a Martha-Quadrille (op. 215), which he first conducted at the 'Sperl' on 18 December 1847 and the piano score of which his publisher (Tobias Haslingers Witwe und Sohn) was able to announce on 30 December that year. Such is the welter of melodies in Flotow's score that the elder Johann was able to fashion three alternative figures (No. 2 'Été', No. 5 'Pastourelle' and No. 6 'Finale') "to be interchanged as figures, according to one's wishes": these additional sections are extant only in the piano edition of the quadrille, while the published set of orchestral parts include only an alternative 'Été' figure.
While Martha was first delighting audiences at the Hof-Operntheater and Johann Strauss Father was reaping the success of his Martha-Quadrille, the younger Johann Strauss was on a strenuous concert tour of the Balkans with his orchestra. News of Flotow's triumph had evidently reached him via his publisher in Vienna, H.F. Müller, for on 10 January 1848 Der Wanderer reported: "Strauss Son, whom we thought was dead for this year's Vienna Carnival, is showing signs of life by way of a 'Martha-Quadrille', which will appear in a few days' time from Müller in the Kohlmarkt. The publisher sent on to him in Siebenbürgen [= Transylvania] the score [of the opera], and this demonstrates splendidly how vigorous the demand is for Strauss Son's compositions and how very popular are his quadrilles...". Manifestly, the younger Johann could only have arranged his Martha-Quadrille during his tour, and there is virtually no chance that he had sight of his father's compilation before constructing his own. It is therefore all the more remarkable that - with one exception - Johann junior chose entirely different themes from those selected by his father: the material used for the No. 2 ('Été') figure is almost identical with that used in figure No. 5 ('Pastourelle') of Strauss Father's Martha-Quadrille. (The fact that both Strausses could avoid such duplication is, of course, further evidence of the profusion of melodies in Flotow's opera.) The following sources in Flotow's opera provide the themes for Johann Strauss Son's Martha-Quadrille:
(The above analysis is based on the edition of Martha oder der Markt von Richmond published by August Cranz (Hamburg) / C.A. Spina, Verlags- u. Kunsthandlung (Wien), no date. Plate numbers F.W.1037 & 1039.)
Only one melody quoted by Strauss in his quadrille - that used for the third theme of the 'Pantalon' section - is nowhere traceable in the published piano score of the opera. Since, however, Der Wanderer (10.01.1848) is specific in its use of the German word 'Partitur' (denoting a full orchestral score) for describing the score of Martha that Johann's publisher sent to him in Transylvania, there exists the possibility that material was excised from Flotow's stage work shortly after its world première (and before publication of the piano / vocal edition), but remained in the manuscript copy orchestral score utilised by Strauss for his quadrille.
Perhaps surprisingly, one of the best-known arias in Martha, the Irish tune of "The Last Rose of Summer" which Flotow incongruously interpolated into this English-based opera (as Lady Harriet's Act 2 No. 9 'Volkslied', "Letzte Rose, wie magst du so einsamer hier blühn?"), is quoted only in Strauss Father's alternative 'Été' figure (as theme 2b). It can only be the merest coincidence that an aria about the summer is featured in the quadrille's 'Été' (= Summer) section!
The first piano edition of the younger Johann's Martha-Quadrille was published by H.F. Müller on 13 January 1848, while its composer was still absent from Vienna on his Balkan tour. The Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung (13.01.1848) commented: "In this quadrille Strauss Son has demonstrated in most brilliant fashion his talent as a composer of dance-music. The choice of themes for the figures has turned out most successfully, and will make this quadrille one of the favourites of this year's Carnival". According to the same edition of the Theaterzeitung, Flotow's opera proved such a moneyspinner that another eight or nine composers opted to fashion quadrilles on themes from Martha. In the event, none of these - including one by Philipp Fahrbach senior (1815-85) - found popularity with the public, and even Johann Son's version failed to fulfil the prediction of the Theaterzeitung critic. Interestingly, it was the younger Johann's publisher, H.F. Müller, who had acquired the rights to Flotow's opera, but his "friendly agreement" with Haslinger had permitted the latter to issue Strauss Father's Martha-Quadrille.
It has not proved possible to determine the date on which Johann Son¡¦s Martha-Quadrille was first played. According to a statement in the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung on Saturday 8 January 1848, "it will be publicly performed during the course of the next week" - thus, between 9 and 15 January 1848. Since Johann and his orchestra did not return from their Balkan trip until the end of May 1848, quite possibly it was one of the military bands stationed in the Austrian capital which gave the quadrille its first Viennese performance.
 Gedankenflug. Walzer (Flight of Fancy. Waltz) op. 215
The tally of compositions which Johann Strauss wrote or sketched during his 1858 season at Pavlovsk included two works which have become standards in Viennese concert repertoire - the Champagner-Polka (Champagne Polka op. 211) and Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka (Tittle-tattle Polka op. 214). Of the remaining six works dating from this visit, there is one which stands utterly apart in its conception: entitled Gedankenflug (Flight of Fancy), it was beyond doubt a response to the concert waltz Perlen der Liebe (Pearls of Love) op. 39 which his brother Josef had written the previous year, and which Josef would follow with two more symphonic waltzes in which he trod the path from the ballroom to the concert hall: Ideale (1858) and Klänge aus der Ober- und Unterwelt (Sounds from the Upper and Lower Worlds, 1860), both of which were unpublished and which have been lost. Johann may also have been moved to abandon the traditional waltz form and explore 'fanciful thoughts' in Gedankenflug as a result of his amorous dalliances with the aristocratic young Olga Smirnitskaja, whom he had first met at Pavlovsk that summer.
Strauss clearly took a great deal of trouble in conceiving Gedankenflug, a fact apparent throughout the exquisitely orchestrated piece from its dramatically fashioned Introduction to the final note of its Coda section. The new composition appeared for the first time on the programme of Johann's orchestra benefit concert at the Vauxhall Pavilion at Pavilovsk on 23 September 1858 (= 11 September, Russian calendar) under the title Gedankenflüchtlinge (Fugitive Thoughts), when it was played as the closing item in the second section of a three-part 'Grand Music Festival'. The following day, 24 September 1858, the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung announced the titles of novelties which Johann had composed in Russia and which his Viennese publisher, Carl Haslinger, would issue. The list included a waltz named "Szecheny-Tänze" (Dances for Szecheny). This was, in fact, none other than Gedankenflug, and with its publication by this name in April 1859 the explanation for the work's alternative title became clear since the waltz bore Strauss's dedication to "His High-Born Count E. Széchenyi" [sic]. The chamberlain and legation councillor Count Emmerich Szechenyi (1825-1898) was the First Secretary and Chargé d'affaires at the Austrian Embassy in St. Petersburg. On a personal level the rather reckless Johann was indebted to the Count for his intervention and assistance in extricating him from various escapades - both amorous and otherwise - and as the young diplomat was also an amateur composer, Johann occasionally performed the Count's works (such as the Fantasie Polka-Mazurka, the Erwartungs-Polka, the Bruck-Csárdás and the Polka dans le genre hongrois) in his programmes.
Carl Haslinger's reaction to Josef Strauss's concert waltzes had been luke-warm, and Johann carefully bided his time before introducing Gedankenflug to the Viennese public. He planned to present the piece for the first time at the Strauss Ball in the Sofienbad-Saal on 28 February 1859 and announced his intention in the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung on 22 January. Subsequently Johann must have had doubts about the suitability of this setting for the première, for he postponed the first Viennese performance. He then fell ill at the beginning of March, but shortly afterwards the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung (11.03.1859) was able to report: "Johann Strauss, who is already on the road to recovery, will remain in Vienna only for a further six weeks and will then travel via Berlin to St. Petersburg. Before his departure for the Russian capital he will organise a grand soirée in the rooms at the Sperl, in which he will perform his latest waltz in lyric style, 'Gedankenflug'". The arranger of this charity event in the Theater in der Josefstadt was actually Carl Haslinger who, for 3 April 1859, organised there an academy for the establishment of a children's day-nursery (= Kindergarten) in Alservorstadt (situated on the boundaries of today's VIIIth and IXth districts of Vienna). According to the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung (5.04.1859), "Johann Strauss appeared in the second half at the head of his excellent orchestra and played ... a new concert waltz, 'Gedankenflug', with really charming, ingenious instrumentation". Just over a week later, on 15 April 1859, the same paper announced Haslinger's recent publication of Gedankenflug, adding: "Quite apart from the highly original themes and the piquant instrumentation, there wafts through this entire composition a totally unique, indescribable magic, and the enormous, always wholly-deserved applause which has always accompanied this waltz ever since its first performance at the Josefstädter-Theater, and the tempestuously-demanded encores, are the most unequivocal proof of the extent to which this waltz, in a very short time, has been able to win the favour of the public".
Vindicating Carl Haslinger's earlier coolness towards such compositions, the concert waltz Gedankenflug never became popular with the public. From a purely musicological viewpoint, however, it marked a progression in the development towards the 'symphonic waltz', and clearly proved of sufficient importance to the composer's brother, Eduard Strauss, who included one of the waltz's themes in his unpublished monumental potpourri, Chronik der Wiener Tanzmusik seit 120 Jahren (Chronicle of Viennese Dance Music over the last 120 Years), at his concert in the Vienna Musikverein on 6 January 1884.
 Newa-Polka française (Neva. French Polka) op. 288
For centuries, the country north of the River Elbe was a battleground for Danes and Germans. The duchies of Schleswig and Holstein had become the personal property of the king of Denmark in 1460 and 1474 respectively, but between 1843 and 1845 Denmark attempted to integrate the two duchies into the dominions of the Danish Crown. The German Confederation, on the other hand, maintained that Schleswig and Holstein were essentially German, and this conflict resulted in Austria and Germany allying against Denmark in the campaign at Schleswig-Holstein in 1864. (Peace was finally signed at Vienna, with Denmark losing the duchies in their entirety to Prussia.)
These hostilities led Johann Strauss and his wife Jetty to delay their departure for Russia, where Vienna's Waltz King was due to commence his ninth season of concerts at Pavlovsk in spring 1864. Eventually, en route for St Petersburg, the couple made a stopover in Berlin, where Johann conducted the first performance of his Verbrüderungs-Marsch (op. 287, Volume 4 of this CD series). The dedication of this work to the Prussian King Wilhelm I resulted in Strauss being able to add the Order of the Royal Prussian Crown, IVth Class, to his growing collection of medals and honours.
Upon arriving at St Petersburg, Johann and Jetty headed directly for Pavlovsk, where the opening concert at the Vauxhall Pavilion took place on 5 May 1864 (= 23 April, Russian calendar). Johann may well have brought with him from Vienna a new French polka which he unveiled, as an encore item, at his concert on 22 September (= 10 September). Entitled Newa-Polka, after the river on which St Petersburg stands, the work had already been distributed by Johann's Viennese publisher, C.A. Spina, on 27 July 1864. The engraved title page for the work's first piano edition shows a view of the river's left bank with the Tsars' Winter Palace arid the adjacent buildings downstream in St Petersburg. The Neva, some 74 kilometres / 46 miles long and up to 1,300 metres / 4,250 feet wide, flows out of the south west corner of Lake Ladoga, branches in St. Petersburg into three tributaries - the Great Neva, the Little Neva and the Great Nevka (earning the city its affectionate nickname of the 'Venice of the North') - and finally issues into the Gulf of Finland. After the polka's first performance at the Vauxhall as an encore number, it featured 'officially' in the main body of the programme at Johann's afternoon concert on 26 September (= 14 September), and thereafter a further five times before the season's final concert on 9 October 1864 (= 27 September).
The first Spina edition of the Newa-Polka française bears the fashionable French inscription, "Dedité à Sa Majesté Catolique Isabella II. Reine d'Espagne par Jean Strauss" ('Dedicated to her Catholic Majesty Isabella II, Queen of Spain, by Johann Strauss'), and may have been destined for Spain since no publisher's advertisement for the polka appeared in Vienna until 11 December that year. The reason for Johann's choice of Queen Isabella II of Spain as dedicatee is not wholly clear. Born in Madrid, the elder daughter of Ferdinand VII (1784-1833) by his fourth wife, Maria Cristina (1806-78), Isabella II (1830-1904) was proclaimed queen at the age of three upon her father's death in 1833. Until the youthful monarch was declared of age in 1843, first her mother and then General Baldomero Espartero acted as regents. Isabella's marriage to her cousin, Francisco de Asís de Borbón (1822-1902), was unsuccessful; they lived apart, and the queen's reign (1843-68) was characterised by scandalous reports concerning her private conduct as well as by political unrest, while her unscrupulous interference in politics rendered her unpopular. Following an abortive uprising in 1866, Isabella was exiled in 1868; she settled in Paris where, in 1870, she was induced to abdicate in favour of her son, Alfonso XII (1874-85). Isabella does not appear to have been present in St Petersburg or Vienna during 1864, but the absence of any discernible Russian influence in the music made it perfectly suitable as a dedication to a Spanish regent. Strauss's motives may well have been purely materialistic: if so, then he reaped his reward, for in return for the dedication the queen made the Viennese Hofballmusik-Direktor a Knight of the Royal Isabella Order.
Following his return to Vienna in mid-November 1864, Johann made his first public appearance at a benefit concert with Josef and Eduard Strauss in the Volksgarten on 4 December. The event belatedly celebrated the twentieth anniversary of Johann's professional début at Dommayer's Casino, and the advertised programme promised a performance of his opus 1, the waltz Sinngedichte, together with the Viennese premières of the Persischer Marsch (op. 289), the waltz Aus den Bergen (op. 292) and the polka 'S gibt nur a Kaiserstadt! 'S gibt nur a Wien!. Eduard Strauss's Fitzliputzli-Quadrille (op. 10) was also heard for the first time on this occasion. According to the records of the Strauss Orchestra's horn player, Franz Sabay, this concert also produced the first Viennese performance of the Newa-Polka, perhaps once more conducted by Johann as an encore item. Not until a week later, on 11 December 1864, did the Newa-Polka appear in print on a concert announcement in Vienna, when the composer conducted it again at another concert with his brothers in the Volksgarten. The polka proved popular with the public, and remained for a long time in the Strauss Orchestra's repertoire.
Devotees of Viennese operetta may recognise the opening melody (theme lA) of the Newa-Polka française from its appearance in the posthumous Johann Strauss pastiche operetta Wiener Blut (1899), where it forms the opening section of the Count's aria ('Lied', No. 9) sung to the words "Ais ich lvard ihr Mann, sah man mir¡¦s nicht an".
 Vorspiel zum 3. Akt des Balletts "Aschenbrödel"
(Prelude to the 3rd Act of the ballet "Cinderella")
Whatever the shortcomings of Johann Strauss's venture into the world of grand opera with his ill-starred Ritter Pásmán, which opened at the Wiener Hof-Operntheater on New Year's Day 1892, the music critic Eduard Hanslick (1825-1904) declared only admiration for the composer's Act 3 ballet music, which he termed "by far the glittering crown jewel in this score. No one but Johann 5trauss could have written it!". Later in his review, which appeared in the Neue Freie Presse on 3 January 1892, Hanslick sounded a personal note: "This incomparable ballet music ... awakens in me a frequent, but vainly uttered old wish: Strauss might want to present us with an entire ballet". In the event, the influential music critic lived long enough for his wish to be fulfilled - even though the resultant ballet was not seen in Vienna until after his death.
The "Prize Competition", which the Viennese weekly Die Wage announced on 5 March 1898 for the purposes of acquiring a suitable ballet libretto for Johann Strauss, was not confined to readers in the Austro-Hungarian Empire: on 24 March 1898 The London Musical Courier announced that "Johann Strauss has undertaken to write a new and elaborate ballet for the Imperial Opera, Vienna, in celebration of the Emperor's Jubilee next winter", and in its issue of 7 April the paper gave details of the competition and invited entries by the closing date of 1 May 1898. The appeal of the competition exceeded all expectation: some seven hundred entries were received, from which the judging panel chose A. Kollmann's draft of a modem version of the classic fairy-tale Cinderella as winner of the 4,000 Kronen prize-money.
Strauss made rapid progress with the composition of Aschenbrödel, despite voicing his exasperation in summer 1898 in a letter to his brother Eduard, who was on a concert tour of fifty German towns and cities; "I have my hands full with the ballet - I write my fingers to the bone, and still make no headway. I am on the 40th sheet (full score) and have only managed 2 scenes". Although he had nearly completed his orchestral revisions and alterations to Act 1, and had to hand numerous sketches and drafts, in various stages of development, for the remaining two acts, Johann was destined never to finish work on Aschenbrödel. Following his death from pneumonia on 3 June 1899, the task of completing and preparing the score for production passed to Joseph Bayer (1852-1913), Director of Ballet at the Wiener Hof-Operntheater.
Among the finished sections of Aschenbrödel was a "Vorspiel zum 3. Akt" (Prelude to the 3rd Act), which includes one of the last waltz tunes which Johann Strauss ever wrote. He was still working on his ballet a few days before his death, as the composer's widow, Adèle Strauss (1856-1930), later recalled: "When I came home on 27 May , I found my husband at the tea-table in conversation with my daughter, He was wrapped up in an overcoat, complaining of cold; in front of him - the score of 'Aschenbrödel'. With the help of the servant we carried him to the upper floor into the bedroom. We put him to bed at once and I handed him a cup hot tea, which he drank willingly",
The first performance of the Prelude to Act 3 of Aschenbrödel was given at the "Second Extraordinary Society Concert" hosted by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of the Friends of Music) shortly after midday on 21 January 1900 in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein. The programme of this concert, which was conducted by Richard von Perger, also presented the première of Johann Strauss's symphonic poem Traumbild I (featured on this CD). In its report of the event, the Illustriertes Wiener Extrablatt (22.01.1900) noted: "This 'Aschenbrödel' fragment ('Homeward from the Ball'), painted with the gentlest of pastel shades, sounds like a musical fairy-tale. How the scarcely discernible whispering and murmuring of the Introduction, which is as if spun from silver threads, gradually grows stronger and more alive, until it finally breaks free on the highest plane into a true Strauss waltz, full of gracefulness and breath-taking vivacity - 'no Schubert wrote that, no Mozart composed it, and yet it is so full of poetry'".
 Vivat! Quadrille (Hurrah! Quadrille) op. 103
In Austria the Name-Day and birthday of its Emperor was a cause for annual celebrations throughout the nation, and nowhere more so than at the very heart of the Habsburg Court-in Vienna itself. In the case of Emperor Franz Josef I (1830-1916) his Name-Day and birthday fell on 4 October and 18 August respectively, and for the younger Johann Strauss, in the early years of his musical career, they provided an opportunistic platform from which he sought to ingratiate himself with the all-important Office of the First Master of the Royal Household (Obersthofmeisteramt) and with the younger members of the Imperial family. By the autumn of 1851 the 26-year-old Johann appeared to have secured virtually every position in the musical life of Vienna which his father, who had died in September 1849, had held. Only two things had so far eluded him: the Imperial Court had not yet seen fit to engage the Strauss Orchestra for its festivities and, perhaps more than anything, the ambitious "Johann Strauss, Kapellmeister" (Conductor) fervently wished to be appointed "Johann Strauss, k.k. Hofballmusik-Direktor" (Director of Music for the Imperial-Royal Court Balls) in succession to his late father, for whom this prestigious post had been created in 1846.
In October 1851, the festivities organised in Vienna to celebrate the young Franz Josef's Name-Day included a grand 'Parforce' (horseback) performance of trick-riders, complete with an orchestra and clowns, at the National Circus. More traditional celebrations were also the order of the day, as the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung reported in its edition of 5 October 1851: "Herr Corti, owner of the salon in the k.k. Volksgarten, also saw fit to arrange a splendid festival of rejoicing in the rooms of the k.k. Volksgarten on the eve of his Majesty the Emperor's Name-Day [ie. 3 October 1851]. Herr Capellmeister Strauss and Herr Capellmeister [Josef] Liehmann, the latter of the k.k. Infantry Regiment [Grand Duke] Constantin [of Russia], took charge of conducting the musical productions. Both orchestras performed the latest and most popular pieces of music in well-rounded manner and Strauss had composed for this evening a new quadrille entitled 'Vivat!', which contains charming and delightful original themes and is most inventively scored, so that the very numerous audience demanded that it be repeated four times. The lighting was most ample and tasteful, and the festival was considerably embellished by means of a brilliant fireworks by Herr [Anton] Stuwer". (Three days later, on 6 October 1851, Johann Strauss reaffirmed his patriotism by organising on the Wasserglacis a "Grand Illuminations Festival with Symbolic Fireworks Display" to mark the "After Celebration of the Glorious Name-Day of his Majesty Franz Josef I". Anton Stuwer, "Imperial-Royal Court- and Artistic Pyrotechnician", once again oversaw the fireworks, while Kapellmeister Ignaz Wanek conducted the Band of the King of Saxony Cuirassier Regiment. Almost certainly the sounds of the Vivat! Quadrille rang out again at this event.)
Strauss's title for his new quadrille, Vivat!, was one well-chosen to wish his sovereign "Long life!", while the pomp and ceremony of the Name-Day itself is admirably captured in the opening fanfare and throughout the quadrille's first ('Pantalon') section. (In Austrian dialect, "Vivat!" is also a shout of acclamation, hence "Hurrah!".) By the time that Carl Haslinger's publishing house announced the availability of the Vivat! Quadrille on 4 Apri11852, its composer had succeeded in achieving the recognition of the First Master of the Imperial Household, and had appeared inside the Hofburg Palace with his orchestra to play at his first Chamber Ball and Court Ball during that Fasching (Carnival). As for the Vivat! Quadrille, the cover of its first piano edition presents an interesting (if, for the Strauss researcher, misleading!) curio in the form of an inscription, which reads in translation: "Performed for the first time on the all-highest Name-Day of his Majesty the Emperor Franz Josef on 4 [sic!] October 1851 in the Imperial-Royal Volksgarten in Vienna". As is clear from the aforementioned report in the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung (5.10.1851), the first performance actually took place on 3 October 1851, the eve of the actual Name-Day.
 Lagunen-Walzer (Lagoon Waltz) op. 411
A fiasco accompanied the world première of Johann Strauss's ninth operetta, Eine Nacht in Venedig (A Night in Venice), when it opened at Berlin's Neues Friedrich-Wilhelmstädtisches Theater on 3 October 1883. As a result, composer and librettists were forced to effect hurried musical and textual reworkings before the piece opened in Vienna just six days later. In the familiar surroundings of the Theater an der Wien on 9 October the operetta triumphed, and many of its numbers had to be repeated. It is, therefore, all the more regrettable that our present-day opera houses persistently shun this version of the operetta in favour of later, and inferior arrangements.
Even before the Berlin première of Eine Nacht in Venedig, Johann Strauss had arranged - but had not yet performed - the most attractive waltz themes in the score into a purely orchestral waltz, which he had entitled Lagunen-Walzer. The title was derived from the Act 3 "Lagunen-Walzer" ('Lagoon Waltz'), sung at the Berlin production by the Duke of Urbino (Sigmund Steiner in the rôle). The aria commences innocuously enough with the words "Auf der Lagune bei Nacht" ('On the lagoon at night'), but shortly afterwards the hapless tenor was required to sing the lines. "Nachts sind die Katzen ja grau; / nachts tönt es zärtlich Miau!" ('At night all cats are grey; / they tenderly 'miaow' away!'). At this, noted the reviewer for the Berliner Tageblatt (4.10.1883), "the audience protested with embarrassing vigour", spontaneously joining in with a chorus of "miaows"! Unsurprisingly, the text was altered for the next performance and by the time the operetta reached Vienna the tempo of the aria had been slowed down, the number had been transferred from the Duke to Caramello (sung in Vienna by Alexander Girardi) and the words used in Berlin had been replaced by an entirely different text, utterly devoid of feline references, beginning: "Ach, wie so herrlich zu schau'n / sind all' die lieblichen Frau'n!" ('Oh, how splendid to see / are all these lovely ladies!').
The extent to which Johann's "Lagunen-Walzer" became an omnipresent feature of daily life in Vienna - much as present-day radio stations relentlessly grind out today's pop songs - is manifest in a contemporary cartoon, published on 27 October 1883 in the Wiener Luft supplement to the Viennese humorous weekly paper, Figaro. Entitled "The Lagoon Waltz (A Viennese Study)", it pictured the increasingly irritated response of the same listener to Strauss's waltz in four chronological scenes, in sequence: "October 1883 - 'Ah! The Lagoon Waltz!'"; "December 1883 - The deuce! The Lagoon waltz again!'"; "February 1884 - 'For heaven's sake! It sounds to me like the Lagoon Waltz'"; "March 1884 - 'Quick, I've got the bedclothes over my ears. I can already hear the first bars of the Lagoon Waltz!'".
The first performance of the orchestral Lagunen-Walzer was at Eduard Strauss's benefit concert on 4 November 1883 in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein. The critic for the Fremden-Blatt (5.10.1883) reported that the concert, at which Johann Strauss himself was advertised to appear in person, "attracted such a large audience that the booking-office had to be suspended. Johann Strauss, received with tumultuous applause, presented a new waltz, put together from melodies in the operetta 'Eine Nacht in Venedig', a charming harbinger of the Carnival which had to be played three times". Devotees of the operetta will doubtless recognise the sources of the themes used in the orchestral Lagunen-Walzer as follows:
(The above analysis is based on the original version of Eine Nacht in Venedig, as published in the Johann Strauss Gesamtausgabe (Complete Edition), Doblinger-Universal Edition, Vienna 1970.)
Listeners familiar with the 1972 ATV television mini-series, The Strauss Family, will recognise theme 4B of the Lagunen-Walzer as that which the British composer / conductor Cyril Ornadel successfully arranged as the atmospheric theme tune, "When the Whole World Danced".
 Shawl-Polka française (Shawl. French polka) op. 343
Towards the close of December 1870, readers of Vienna's newspapers learned that Johann Strauss's long-awaited operetta début, Fantaska, had undergone a change of name to Vierzig Räuber (Forty Thieves) to avoid confusion with Paul Taglioni's ballet Fantaska (Berlin, 1869), and that the Strauss première previously announced for December 1870 would now be staged at the end of January 1871. On 11 January 1871 the Fremden-Blatt stated that Vierzig Räuber would open at the Theater an der Wien on 20 January, but six days later the paper reported that "preparations for this work are still taking up so much time that the first performance will not take place before the 27th of this month". In its edition pf 24 January 1871, however, Die Presse (along with other newspapers) exposed another, more pressing reason for the continuing deferments: "The performance of the Strauss operetta' 40 Räuber' at the Theater an der Wien has been postponed until Saturday 4 February, since the management has no reason to break off the performances of 'Drei Paar Schuhe' any earlier". Indeed, the success of the Carl Millöcker (1842-99) three-act operetta Drei Paar Schuhe (Three Pairs of Shoes), with text by Alois Berla (1826-96) after Carl Görlitz, was such that Indigo und die vierzig Räuber - as Strauss's stage work was finally called - was not mounted at the theatre until 10 February 1871.
These delays placed Johann Strauss in a quandary. He had promised a dance dedication to the Vienna Authors' and Journalists' Association, 'Concordia', for their ball on 7 February 1871 - more precisely, as Die Presse reported on 17 January 1871, he "has declared himself ready to dedicate a waltz on themes from his first opera". Although Johann naturally wished to promote the score of Indigo, he was afraid to allow the most potent melodies in the operetta to become known, out of context, before the première. He was, of course, well aware that the most powerful tunes in the stage work were those cast in waltz-time, but not wishing to disappoint the influential members of the 'Concordia' he decided instead to offer them a polka fashioned from the operetta's store of melodies. Accordingly, the Fremden-Blatt was able to report in its evening edition of 8 February 1871: "Herr Hofball-Musikdirektor Johann Strauss personally conducted his new polka '1001 Natht' [1001 Nights] on themes from the operetta 'Indigo', and the number met with such a noisy reception that the orchestra had to repeat the interesting piece three times. The polka was conceived as a concert piece and to its sounds there was no dancing, but with the third encore the first half of the ball was concluded".
When the printed edition of Johann's polka appeared from C.A. Spina's Vienna publishing house in March 1871 it confirmed the composer's personal dedication to the 'Concordia', but the work itself bore a completely new title: Shawl-Polka française. Tausend und Eine Nacht (= 1001 Nacht), the polka's original title, was instead appropriated by Johann for his waltz on themes from Indigo, later published with the opus number 346. The unusual name of the Shawl-Polka derives from the oriental setting of the operetta on whose themes it is based. A re-working of a tale from The Arabian Nights, Indigo und die vierzig Räuber naturally enough presents a harem and various choreographic set-pieces, including dances by bayaderes, slaves, mulattos and Moors. Just as much a part of oriental life, however, is a dance originating in the East - the 'shawl-dance' - in which a shawl or scarf is waved. Several references to shawls are made by Alibaba and his wife, Toffana, in the Act 3 Ensemble (No. 21), for example: (Alibaba) "Kind, dein Leben zu versüssen, / leg' ich dir den Shawl zu Füssen" ('Child, to sweeten your life, / I lay the shawl at your feet'). The thematic material comprising Johann's Shawl-Polka may be found in the operetta as follows:
Eduard Strauss conducted the Strauss Orchestra in a public performance of the Shawl-Polka at his promenade concert in the Musikverein on Sunday 26 March 1871. Alongside the work, incorrectly given on the printed programme as "Schawl-Polka française", is the description "Neu" (New), a term usually indicating a composition which has already - albeit very recently - received its première. Although no earlier mention of a public performance of the polka is discernible from Vienna's press, it is possible that Eduard featured the work as an encore item at the Strauss Orchestra's "Carnival Revue" in the Musikverein on 26 February 1871, where its absence from the printed programme is most noticeable - the more so since Eduard's own contribution to the 'Concordia Ball', the polka-mazurka Mit der Feder (op. 69) is among those pieces announced as receiving their first public performance.
 Traumbild I (Dream Picture I) 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 cruelty. Imagine the portraits of [my sisters] Netti and Therese! The latter portraits are certainly no small task for the musician! Plenty of hair, and then it'll be fine!".
On another occasion, Johann asked Eduard to play through the sketches of Traumbilder at 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, was 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 [sic]".
Shortly after midday on Sunday 21 January 1900, the prestigious Gesellscllaft 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 'Traumbild' which, if it had been less spun out would 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".
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: "Schönberg, Glasergasse 19", The Viennese-born Arnold schönberg (to give his name correctly, though 'Schoenberg' has been widely adopted) 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 Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava)
The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), the oldest symphonic ensemble in Slovakia, was founded in 1929 at the instance of Milos Ruppeldt and Oskar Nedbal, prominent personalities in the sphere of music. Ondrej Lenárd was appointed its conductor in 1970 and in 1977 its conductor-in-chief, succeeded recently by Robert Stankowsky. The orchestra has given successful concerts both at home and abroad, in Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Spain, Italy, Great Britain, Hong Kong and Japan. For Marco Polo the orchestra has recorded works by Glazunov, Glière, Miaskovsky and other late romantic composers and film music of Honegger, Bliss, Ibert and Khachaturian as well as several volumes of the label's Johann Strauss Edition. Naxos recordings include symphonies and ballets by Tchaikovsky, and symphonies by Berlioz and Saint-Saëns.
Michael Dittrich was born in Silesia and studied the violin at the Music Academies in Detmold and in Vienna. As a student he was employed as second Concertmaster and Assistant Conductor of the Tübingen Chamber Orchestra and was also a violinist in the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, of which he has been a member since 1970. His career as a conductor was developed under Hans Swarowsky, Karl Österreicher, Otmar Suitner and Franco Ferrara and through the advice and friendship of Carlo Maria Giulini. In 1977 he established his own ensemble Bella Musica for the historically correct performance of music from the Baroque, Classical and Biedermeier periods, with concel1 tours throughout Europe and the Americas. Since 1978 his recordings for Harmonia Mundi have won six international prizes, including the Diapason d'Or of Radio Luxemburg and the Paris Grand Prix du Disque. He has served as a guest conductor in Italy, Germany and Austria and given television performances.
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