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8.223242 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 42
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The Johann Strauss Edition Edition

The Johann Strauss Edition

Edition; Volume 42

 

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.

 

[1] Piccolo-Marsch (Piccolo March) o. Op

From music for the ballet "Aschenbrödel" (Cinderella)

 

On 5 March 1898 the Vielmese weekly, Die Wage (The Scales), published details of a sensational 'Prize Campetitian' involving the Waltz King: "Far many years, friends af the Maestro Jahann Strauss haue tried ta persuade him to campase a ballet. He has now determined to fulfil this request, and hopes to acquire a suitable text by way af the prize-competitian". Thus it was that, in his seventy-third year, Johann Strauss prepared to embark upon the composition of his first full-length ballet score. By the closing date of 1 May 1898, the competition, which offered a prize of 4,000 crowns (today equivalent to £4,500), had attracted some seven hundred entries from around the world. The winning entry was adjudged to be an updated version of the classic fairy-tale, Cinderella, submitted by one 'A. Kollmann' from Salzburg. (Not until more than thirty years later was the pseudonym revealed to be that of Carl Colbert, a former director of the Society for Graphic Industry in Vienna, the establishment which had published Strauss's ballet in 1900.)

 

Johann Strauss died on 3 June 1899, before finishing his work on Aschenbrödel. His widow, Adèle (1856-1930), strove to ensure completion of the ballet, based on Johann's numerous drafts and sketches, and was instrumental in persuading the experienced and highly successful Director of Ballet at the Wiener Hof-Operntheater (Vienna Court Opera Theatre), Joseph Bayer (1852-1913), to take on this task. Bayer immediately set to work, despatching it promptly and skilfully. Meanwhile, in a shameful volte face, the Artistic Director of the Hof-Operntheater, Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) - who had been a member of the judging panel for the 'Prize Competition' - now refused to present the ballet at his opera house. Thus it was that Aschenbrödel eventually received its world première in Berlin at the Königliches Opernhaus (Royal Opera House) on 2 May 1901, in the presence of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II and Adèle Strauss. Not until 4 October 1908 was a production of Aschenbrödel mounted in Vienna when Mahler's successor at the Hof-Operntheater, Felix Weingartner (1863-1942), eagerly conducted the work.

 

Shortly before the Berlin première of the ballet, Josef Weinberger's publishing house issued seven separate dance pieces based on melodies in Aschenbrödel. These immediately found popularity with the military bands, who introduced them to the Viennese public. A particular favourite was the catchy Piccolo-Marsch, named after one of the characters in the ballet, the personal valet Piccolo, a rôle created in Berlin by Emilie Delcliseur and in Vienna by Louise Wopalenski. The Piccolo-Marsch draws together music from two sources: the Introduction and themes 1A and 1B accompany the entrance of the goddess Flora in the Ac t 2 ballroom scene, whilst the entire Trio section presents a translation into 2/2 time of the slow waltz ("Monogramm-Tanz") in Ac t 3.

 

[2] Auroraball-Polka (Aurora Ball Polka) op. 219

 

Carl Haslinger's Vienna publishing house issued the first piano edition of Johann Strauss's Auroraball-Polka on 6 March 1859. This delightful piece is complemented by a title page illustration depicting a scene froln classical mythology. Apollo's youthful son, Phaeton, is shown aboard the sun chariot, streaking across the skies after the rosy-fingered goddess of the dawn, Aurora, has flung wide the gates of morning. Zeus subsequently despatched Phaeton with a deadly thunderbolt after he ignored Apollo's warning and drove so close to the earth that he nearly destroyed it by fire.

 

Named after the Roman goddess, the 'Aurora' Vienna Artists' Association was founded in 1824 and was the predecessor of the more famous 'Hesperus' Artists' Association. Organised during the regime of the Austrian State Chancellor Prince Clemens von Metternich (1773-1859), the 'Aurora' provided a focal point for sociable gatherings of the city's poets, painters, architects and musicians and, though carefully watched by Metternich's secret police, its meetings were never banned or even disrupted. Its aims, incorporated in its statutes, were to "create, maintain and develop, in the form of sociable conversation, a meeting point for the encouragement of literary and artistic life in Vienna". The 'Aurora' numbered among its membership the Austrian dramatists, Franz Grillparzer (1791-1872) and Ignaz Franz Castelli (1781-1862), painters Carl Rahl (1812-65) and Josef-Anton Mahlknecht (1827-69) and musicians J. Hoven (real name; Johann Vesque von Püttlingen, 1803-83) and Johann Herbeck (1831-77). When the strictness of civil authority eased in the years after 1848, the unity which had bound the membership of the 'Aurora' together began to dissipate, and the Association saw its significance diminish.

 

Joseph Lanner (1801-43) and Johann Strauss Father (1804-49) both wrote dances for the 'Aurora', and Johann Strauss the younger contributed a total of four dedication pieces to the Association's festivities, including the waltz Aurora-Ball-Tänze op. 87 (1851, Volume 20 of this CD series) and the polkas Aurora op. 165 (1855, Volume 12) and Une Bagatelle op. 187 (1857, Volume 29). Moreover, in recognition of Johann Strauss's "great readiness to contribute, with his orchestra, to the enhancement of social pleasure" (Wiener AIIgemeine Theaterzeitung, 3.03.1858), at the Association's 1858 Carnival festivity, its committee had presented him with a valuable ring with the name 'Aurora' inlaid in diamonds. As his dedication composition for the 1859 'Aurora-Ball', held in the 'Sperl' dance hall in the suburb of Leopoldstadt on 22 February, Strauss composed one of his most delicious French polkas, which he simply entitled; Auroraball -Polka. Reporting on the event, the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung (25.02.1859) referred to the work as the Aurora-Künstler-Polka (Aurora Artists' Polka), while incorrectly identifying the Sofienbad-Saal as the venue for the ball. For his part, the critic for the Fremden-Blatt (24.02.1859) noted that the 'Aurora-Ball' "was attended by a numerous and select society. The polka, especially composed for this ball by Johann Strauss, gave great pleasure and had to be repeated three times". The Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeiung (6.03.1859) correctly predicted the popularity of the new work, both in Vienna and at Strauss's summer 1859 concert season in Pavlovsk, when it wrote; "This particularly excellent polka is enjoying the most splendid success and ought very soon to number among the favourite pieces of Vienna".

 

[3] Hirten-Spiele. Walzer (Pastoral Play. Waltz) op. 89

 

Apart from the fact that seven of its waltz themes (lA, 1B, 2A, 2B, 4A, 5A and 5B) are to be found on two consecutive pages of Johann Strauss's earliest-known musical sketchbook, now housed in the collection of the Houghton Library at Harvard University, little else is known concerning the genesis or first public performance of the waltz Hirten-Spiele. The work appears to have come into being during the winter of 1850/51. On 31 Oecember 1850, the Viennese Fremden-Blatt newspaper published a report which raises a number of questions: "At today's New Year's Eve Festival in the premises of the 'Sperl', Kapellmeister Johann Strauss will, in addition to other suitable pieces of music, perform for the first time as a Christmas tree present (from J. Strauss) a completely individual little picture in sound of youthful joys, which he has newly composed for this evening, entitled 'Kinderspiele', dalliances in three-quarter-time".

 

Regrettably, since no report on this evening's festivities has yet been found, we do not know what the 25-year-old Johann Strauss actually played on New Year's Eve 1850 in the 'Sperl' dance hall in the Viennese suburb of Leopoldstadt. Nowhere in .the catalogue of Strauss compositions is a waltz entitled Kinderspiele traceable. Fifteen years later, in 1865, however, Johann was to use the title Kinderspiele (Children's Play) für a French polka which he performed first in Pavlovsk near St. Petersburg and then at a children's ball in the Vienna Hofburg Palace: this work was published with the opus number 304 (see Volume 14 of this CD series).

 

The wording of the Fremden-Blatt announcement für the New Year's Eve Festival also gives rise to further puzzles. Did Kinderspiele, Johann's "dalliances in three-quarter-time", take the form of a genuine waltz, or was it fashioned more as an orchestral fantasia? Moreover, was the use of the term "Christmas tree present" merely figuratively-speaking, or was a print of the work perhaps presented as a gift to all those attending the entertainment at the 'Sperl'?

 

The solution to the identity of Johann's "Christmas tree present" may perhaps lie in an advertisement placed in the Wiener Zeitung during autumn 1851 by Johann's regular publisher Pietro Mechetti. Throughout 1851 the publisher had been parsimonious in his use of the press to advertise his young client's latest dances, a circumstance which may have resulted in, or from, Strauss's contractual signing, that September, with the rival publishing house of Carl Haslinger. On 20 September 1851, shortly after Johann's defection, Mechetti placed an advertisement in the Wiener Zeitung, announcing two new Strauss works (opp. 94 and 93) as "just published", and mentioning six other works "published earlier'. Among these pieces is the waltz Hirten-Spiele op. 89 - no earlier mention of which has yet been traced in Vienna's press, but which must have been on sale in the music shops during summer 1851. Was this perhaps the fully developed work which Johann had first presented to his New Year's Eve audience as "dalliances in three-quarter-time"? Both Kinderspiele and Hirten-Spiele share the German word for 'plays' or 'games' ('Spiele') in their titles, although the leisurely, almost rustic, character of the piece better suits the latter title.

 

Yet, whether the 'Pastoral Play' of the title is taken to mean the games played by young shepherds (as suggested by the engraving on.the first piano edition of Hirten-Spiele) or the kind of entertainment so popular with the French court of Louis XIV, whereby rural life, and especially the lives of shepherds, is portrayed in an idealised way, shepherds have an important rôle in any Christmas-time representation. A bucolic mood certainly pervades the themes in the Introduction and first part of the waltz Hirten-Spiele, and it is not too fanciful to interpret them as 'shepherds' tunes'. In the absence of any conflicting evidence, it is tempting to suggest that Johann Strauss's Hirten-Spiele was first performed at the 'Sperl' on 31 December 1850 as a "completely individual little picture in sound", perhaps not in its final. published waltz form, but as "dalliances in three-quarter-time".

 

[4] Sängerslust. Polka française (singer's Joy. French Polka) op. 328

 

In autumn 1868 the Wiener Männergesang-Verein (Vienna Men's Choral Association) celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding with several concerts and, on the evening of 12 October, a charity 'Liedertafel' (Programme of Songs) in the sofienbad-Saal Vienna. Johann Strauss who, together with other famous musicians such as Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner and Anton Rubinstein, was made an honorary member of the Association on the occasion of this Silver Jubilee, contributed to the 'Liedertafel' a new polka, aptly entitled Sängerslust (Singer's Joy). The text for the work had been written by Josef Weyl (1821-95), the Wiener Männergesang-Verein's 'house poet' who had also furnished the text for Strauss's waltz An der schänen blauen Donau (By the beautiful blue Danube) the previous year (see also booklet note accompanying Works for Male Chorus and Orchestra in this Marco Polo CD series, 8.223250). The first performance of Sängerslust was conducted by chorus-master Rudolf Weinwurm (1835-1911), while the accompaniment for the singers was provided by the brothers Johann and Josef Strauss on grand piano and the Association's member Adolf Lorenz on harmonium. The polka was well received and had to be repeated, and the composer's wife, Jetty Strauss, was able to inform a correspondent on 19 October 1868 that "Johann scored a hit at the festive 'Liedertafel'... with his polka for chorus, 'Sängerlust' [sic]". The original performing material for this musical première is preserved in the archives of the Wiener Männergesang-Verein. On later occasions, the polka was sung with an orchestral accompaniment.

 

On 11 October 1868, the Fremden-Blatt announced that Josef and Eduard Strauss would give a promenade concert with the Strauss Orchestra at the Cursalon in the Vienna Stadtpark on 15 October, and that Johann Strauss would donate his services to charity and also participate at this event. Amongst other novelties, the programme promised the first performance of the polka Sängerslust in its purely orchestral version, and the reporter for the Fremden-Blatt (16.10.1868) painted a vivid portrayal of the scene in the stylish establishment. "In a tightly packed group, filling the spacious room, ladies and gentlemen sat in the most beautiful attire, listened to the sounds of the Strauss Orchestra and applauded each number. Court Ball Music Director Johann Strauss, who conducted several pieces out of good will, received the greatest applause. His new polka 'Sängerlust' [sic], dedicated to the Männergesang-Verein, had to be repeated three times by tumultuous demand and neither the public, indefatigable in its applause nor Strauss, indefatigable in his conducting, ceased until the waltz maestro once again began to play the 'Beautiful Danube', 'Tales from the Vienna Woods' and 'Freikugeln' and brought forth fresh applause, which was also given to the pieces which the other Strauss brothers conducted in this beautiful programme".

 

The Strauss promenade concert in the Cursalon had a particular importance for the musical annals of the Austrian capital. The mernbers of the Vienna City Council had originally decided against allowing concerts to be held in the Cursalon, stressing that the building was for the exclusive use of people wishing to avail themselves of the health-giving and curative properties of the water there. This alone had proved an insufficiently attractive proposition for the general public, and the limited number of visitors to the Cursalon threatened the commercial survival of the franchise-holders. The critic for the Fremden-Blatt fully recognised the significance of this first musical entertainment in the establishment, closing his report with the words: "The public was happy with the first concert, and no less happy with the city fathers, thanks to whom the Cursalon is finally .fulfilling its purpose".

 

The Cursalon, opened in 1867 and still extant (though renovated after wartime darnage in 1945) as a cafe-restaurant, lies in the south-west corner of the Stadtpark. Within sight of this establishment is Edmund Hellmer's famous memorial statue of Johann Strauss II, unveiled on 26 June 1921. In hindsight, a more suitable location for this monument might have been the Volksgarten in front of the Imperial Hofburg Palace, where Johann was no stranger. The Cursalon, too, reverberated frequently to the sounds of the Strauss Orchestra, but Johann himself played there only once - to conduct the first orchestral performance of his Sängerslust-Polka on 15 October 1868.

 

[5] Sentenzen. Walzer (Sentences. Waltz) op. 233

 

On 9 December 1859 the Viennese theatrical journal Der Zwischen-Akt notified its readers: "Johann Strauss is already preparing for the coming carnival. That is to say, he is composing several dances for the committee balls". Six weeks later, on 19 January 1860, the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung announced the titles of the dedications which the 34-year-old Johann had written for that year's Vienna Carnival. Amongst these dances was a waltz, amusingly entitled Rigorosenseufzer (Oral Examination Sighs), intended for the ball of the students attending Vienna University's Law Faculty. The students, it seems, failed to share Strauss's sense of humour when it came to being reminded of their viva voce examination worries amid the enjoyment of their festive ball in the Sofienbad-Saal, and they urged the composer to rename his waltz Sentenzen. The new title was equally apposite for the law students: in legal parlance it signified the judge's verdict in a trial, while in everyday usage the word meant a motto or maxim. It made little difference to Johann Strauss, while the artist commissioned to create the cover illustration for the first piano edition of the work settled for portraying an ancient and deliberating legal figure, together with the magisterial fasces and a book of statutes. Bearing Strauss's dedication to "the Gentlemen Students of Law at Vienna University", the new waltz was published by Carl Haslinger at the beginning of May 1860. Der Zwischen-Akt (3.05.1860) termed it a "richly melodic dance, which numbered amongst the most popular in the past carnival".

 

The Fremden-Blatt of 2 February 1860 carried a brief report of the Law Student's Ball which had taken place on 31 January 1860: "The lawyers' society ball was also very well attended this year. The new waltz 'Sentenzen', composed for this evening by Johann Strauss, received vigorous applause". The organisers of the ball must have been especially pleased by the large numbers of guests at the festivity, for the net proceeds from the event, totalling 1,114 florins, were destined for a benevolent society for the law students.

 

Some two weeks after the Lawyers' Ball, on 13 February 1860, the waltz Sentenzeu featured on the list of new dances played at the Strauss Benefit Ball in the Sofienbad-Saal. The event took the form of a "Monster Festival", during the course of which Johann and Josef Strauss took it in turns to conduct the Strauss Orchestra in a programme comprising no less than fifty dance pieces. Reporting on the entertainment, the critic for the Fremden-Blatt (15.02.1860) remarked that "in no year to date has the venue been so full as on this evening, [and] the popularity enjoyed by the Strauss brothers was demonstrated in a most splendid fashion by the enormous crowd, which cannot be attributed either to the Sofienbad-Saal or to the restaurateur who operates there. STRAUSS was the watchword, and will remain so for a long time".

 

[6] Gruß aus Österreich. Polka-Mazurka (Greeting from Austria. Polka-mazurka) op. 359

 

Johann Strauss's second operetta, Der Carneval in Rom (The Carnival in Rome), was launched on a tide of optimism, with the composer conducting its première at the Theater an der Wien on 1 March 1873. For almost a quarter of a century Vienna had been planning a massive World Exhibition to focus international attention on her manifold achievements in fields as diverse as commerce, agriculture, science and the arts. Yet the dream became a nightmare when, only eight days after the opening of the exhibition, Vienna's Stock Exchange collapsed on 9 May. The grim mood of the exhibitors and the business community was further depressed by some exceptionally unfavourable weather which served only to keep visitors away from Vienna and her World Exhibition.

 

Meanwhile, Strauss had his own problems. Not only was the gloomy economic situation reflected in the reduced takings at the Theater an der Wien, but Johann had caused ill-feeling - particularly with his brother Eduard - by being instrumental in bringing to Vienna the Julius Langenbach Orchestra from Germany, comprising "40 men from Elberfeld and 30 foreign musicians", to ac t as the official 'World Exhibition Orchestra' - thus relegating Eduard and the Strauss Orchestra to the perimeter of Exhibition entertainment. The atrocious weather delayed the opening concert from 1 May 1873 until 11 May, when it took place under Langenbach's, rather than Strauss's, direction in the still-unfinished music pavilion in the Prater. Johann's absence from the performance drew adverse comment from the press. Anxious to placate the press and the public, the composer wrote a long letter to Vienna's newspapers explaining that his doctor had advised him against appearing outdoors following a severe dose of influenza. Furthermore, to demonstrate the excellent Langenbach Orchestra's abilities, Johann organised a number of concerts in the establishments on Vienna's Ringstrasse. Amongst these was one announced in the Fremden-Blatt newspaper on 9 July 1873 for an "Extraordinary Grand Garden Illuminations and Scenic Festival" to take place the same day in the garden and terrace of the Floral Halls of the Horticultural Association (Blumensäle der Gartenbaugesellschaft). The advertisement stated that the music would be provided by the World E.xhibition Orchestra under Johann Strauss and Julius Langenbach, as well as by two regimental bands - the Graf Reischach (No. 21) conducted by bandmaster Heinrich Münzer, and the Graf Gondrecourt (No. 55) under its recently appointed bandmaster Johann Hopf. The net proceeds from this charity concert went to assist the Emperor Franz Josef Foundation for Small Business, which had been especially affected by the ecanomic crisis. Reporting on this event in its issue of 11 July 1873, the Fremden-Blatt noted: "The public, which had assembled in large numbers, enthusiastically applauded Herr Strauss's matchless compositions, and numerous encores of these pieces were an inevitable result of the vehemence of the storm of applause. Generally liked were his splendid waltz 'Wiener Blut', the waltz 'Karnevalsbilder', the polka 'Gruß aus Österreich', [and] the polka 'Nimm sie hin', the last three on themes from his excellent operetta 'Carnival in Rome'. The charitable intent of the gifted Court Ball Music Director Johann Strauss who, as a real artiste has his heart in the right place, must have been fully realised, too, as the Horticultural Association's premises were filled almost to the point of overcrowding".

 

Interestingly, the programme details for this concert, published in the Fremden-Blatt on 9 July 1873, omit the polka Gruß aus Österreich but include another of the dances compiled from melodies in Der Carneval in Rom: the quick polka Am Donaustrande (op. 356), which Johann had conducted for the first time on 6 April 1873. There was no connection between the plot of Der Carneval in Rom and the title Gruß alls Österreich; rather Johann intended his naming of this polka-mazurka to be a nod in the direction of the visitors to the Austrian capital who had finally started to arrive at the begim1ing of July 1873. Furthermore, since Friedrich Schreiber's publishing house issued the piano edition of the piece on 2 July 1873, guests from around the world were able to take home with them Johann Strauss's personal 'Greeting from Austria'.

 

Rather surprisingly, two of the melodies which Strauss used in Gruß aus Österreich - themes 1A and 2B - are not traceable in the published piano score of Der Carneval in Rom. This leads one to suspect that these tunes were either composed for the operetta but never used, or were discarded from the final version of the stage work. The melody comprising theme 1B of the polka-mazurka is to be found in the Act 1 Finale (No. 4), specifically in the Più lento duet section for Therese and Franz to the words "Ach, nach unserm trauten Stübchen", while later in the same Act 1 Finale the accompaniment to Marie's aria (commencing with the words "Nach der Heimath Bergeshöhen") provides the music for theme 2A of the polka's Trio section.

 

[7] Hommage au public msse. Potpourri (Homage to the Russian People. Potpourri) o. op.

 

When Johann Strauss died in 1899 he was close to being a millionaire. The foundation of his fortune had been laid in Russia where, each year from 1856 to 1865, he conducted highly successful summer concert seasons in the delightful surroundings of Pavlovsk Park, where the enterprising Tsarskoye-Selo Railway Company had constructed a music pavilion, the 'Vauxhall', in an effort to generate passenger traffic on its St Petersburg to Pavlovsk line. Return visits to Russia in 1869 and 1886 further consolidated Johann's early success.

 

Strauss's contract with the railway management left the choice of programmes to the Viennese Kapellmeister, but stipulated that "apart from his own compositions he is also to perform the most popular and latest compositions of other famous masters". Johann was to abide faithfully by the terms of his contract, and alongside established classical masters like Auber, Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Donizetti, Mozart, Rossini, Schubert and Verdi, he championed the music of contemporary Russian composers - indeed, in 1865 he gave the first-ever public performance of music by the young Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93), when he conducted the latter's Characteristic Dances. In 1864 and 1865 the proportion of Russian compositions in Johann's Pavlovsk programmes was particularly large, a situation resulting, at least in part, from political events.

 

Strauss felt a close affinity for the music of the Slavic races and, among Russian composers, he was particularly drawn to Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-57), considered the 'father' of Russian music. During his 1863 Pavlovsk season, Johann organised a 'Glinka Festival' which attracted an audience of eight thousand to the Vauxhall Pavilion. The success of this venture prompted Johann to present a second such festival during his 1864 'Russian Summer', and it was during this five-month visit that he flattered his host nation with a potpourri which he entitled Hommage au public russe. Strauss conducted the first performance of the work on 6 August 1864 (= 25 July, Russian calendar) at a benefit concert, organised at his own risk, the proceeds of which were given to Russian invalids. The new work - which was published only in Russia and sports a title page reflecting the vogue for the fashionable French language, reading: "Hômmage au public russe. Potpourri sur des mélodies russes, composé pour Piano par Jean Strauss" - is based on melodies from two of Glinka's operas: Russlan and Ludmila (1842: the Overture and Cavatina), with which the piece opens, and A Life for the Tsar (originally Ivan Sussanin, 1836: the Cavatina, Krakówiak and Mazurka), together with music from Glinka's orchestral Kamarinskaya (1848) and popular songs "Do not tempt me needlessly" (1825, revised 1851), "The Lemon-Seller", "Doubt" (1838) and "To Molly" (1840, based on the nocturne "Le Regret" of 1839). Strauss also drew upon contemporary Russian folk songs to complete his score for the potpourri.

 

Hômmage au public russe was to resurface during Johann's 1869 Pavlovsk season, appearing for the first time on the programme given on 11 May (= 29 April), two days after the opening concert. The work featured on another seven occasions during the 1869 season, and always with success - but never more so than at Johann's concert on 29 August 1869 (= 17 August), held inside the Vauxhall pavilion because of heavy rain. According to the detailed notes of the orchestra's diarist, the viola-player F.A. Zimmennann, the potpourri was played no less than seven times on this particular evening.

 

The Russian conductor Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (b. 1931) unearthed the Hômmage au public russe in St Petersburg at the beginning of the 1980s, and gave the British première of the work, in a much-truncated arrangement, at the Royal Albert Hall 'Proms' on 14 August 1981, a version which he later (1983) recorded commercially with the USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra. More recently, Dr Thomas Aigner of the Vienna Institute for Strauss Research located the original orchestral version of Strauss's potpourri, and this was taken into consideration for this present Marco Polo recording.

 

[8] An der Moldau. Polka française (By the Moldau. French polka) op. 366

 

Considering the universal popularity of Johann Strauss's operetta Die Fledermaus [Première: Theater an der Wien, Vienna. 5 April 1874], it is remarkable that at least two of the orchestral dances crafted by the composer from its score should have remained virtually unknown. This is particularly surprising in the case of the delightful An der Moldau, Polka française.

 

An der Moldau brings together material from Acts 2 and 3 of Die Fledermaus. The polka commences with music from the ballet (No. 11b in the score) which Johann Strauss wrote for the grand ball hosted by Prince Orlofsky in Act 2, in which a series of national dances are performed. To accompany the "Bohemian" dance, two female members of the chorus sing a text beginning: "Marianka, komm und tanz' me hier!" ('Marianka, come and dance with me here!'), and it is the attractive melodies of this dance which provide the opening themes (lA and 1B) for the orchestral polka An der Moldau. The thematic material for the Trio section (themes 2A and 2B) of the polka is to be found in Act 3 of Die Fledermaus: firstly, "0 Fledermaus, o Fledermaus, lass endlich jetzt dein Opfer aus", sung by the chorus at the opening of the Finale (No. 16) and, secondly, the trio (No. 15) "Ein seltsam' Abenteuer ist gestern mir passiert", sung by Rosalinde, Alfred and Eisenstein.

 

At his concert in the Musikverein on Sunday 25 October 1874, Eduard Strauss conducted the Strauss Orchestra in the first performance of a new work by his brother. This was announced in that day's Fremden-Blatt as: "'Marianka-Polka' by Johann Strauss". Beyond doubt, this was the polka already published under the title An der Moldau. Moreover, this performance under Eduard's direction, may not actually have been the very first, and the work may already have been heard in the programme of one or more of the numerous military bands resident at that time in Vienna. Since An der Moldau had appeared in print on 6 September 1874 - thus a full seven weeks before the Strauss Orchestra played it - there was ample time for an adept bandmaster to make his own arrangement of the work from the published editions for piano solo, piano duet or violin and piano. Strangelv, on no occasion is An der Moldau listed in the repertoire of the Strauss Orchestra, although it should be noted that, only in the rarest of cases, have the programmes of their concerts from the 1870s at the 'Neue Welt' and other establishments survived.

 

Johann's use of melodies from the Bohernian dance in his FIedermaus ballet score prompted the choice of title for his op. 366. Whether actually chosen by Strauss or his publisher, Friedrich Schreiber, the reference to the Moldau is apposite, for it was along the banks of this great river (known also as the Vltava), which traverses the whole of Bohemia from its southernmost tip northwards, through Prague, to its confluence with the River Elbe, that the Bohemian national dance - the polka - was born. Popular legend has it that the originator of the polka was a young Bohemian girl named Haniczka Selezka.

 

[9] Gartenlaube-Walzer (Garden Bower Waltz) op. 461

 

During the second half of the 1890s, the celebrated Austrian conductor Ernst von Schuch (1846-1914) wanted to include a Strauss waltz in one of his major concerts with the Dresden Court Orchestra. He asked his friend, the writer Paul Lindau, to enquire of the composer which of his waltzes would be the most suitable, whereupon Lindau addressed the question to Strauss. Back came the reply: "The waItz question is very difficult to answer. I am the person least able to answer it, because I do not consider any to be the most appropriate". He continued: "My wife informs you, you should suggest to Schuch 'Frühlingsstimmen', the 'Kaiserwalzer', 'Millionen seid gegrüsst' and 'Gartenlaubewalzer'. He should choose one from these four". (In the event, Schuch selected Frühlingsstimmen and enjoyed a triumph with it.)

 

Adèle Strauss's inclusion of the now unfamiliar Gartenlaube alongside three of Johann's master-waltzes is interesting, and reflects the way in which many of the composer's later waltzes were conceived more for the concert hall than for the ballroom. Johann's written response is also amusing since it shows that the Waltz King himself could not correctly recall the name of one of his greatest creations, the waltz Seid umschlungen, Millionen op. 443, which he had dedicated to Johannes Brahms (1833-97).

 

The waltz Gartenlaube dates from 1894, the year of Johcinn Strauss's Golden Jubilee celebrations. It was composed as the result of an agreement reached with the proprietors of the widely distributed family magazine Die Gartenlaube, which had been founded in Leipzig by Ernst Keil (1816-78) in 1853 and whose readership encompassed German-speakers from all parts of the world, including the United States of America. The illustrated magazine had celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1893, and the following year one of its journalists, Gerhard Ramberg, had marked Strauss's forthcoming Golden Jubilee with some laudatory words, in which he voiced his opinion that the Viennese composer "could call himself: Johann II, by the grace of God - King in the vast Realm of the Waltz". The contract was dated 14 November 1894 and was signed by Johann Strauss two days later, on 16 November. By that time the composition had already been completed while, in Munich, the artist Oscar Gräf had created a delightful illustrated cover for the work showing a garden scene with couples and children merrily dancing to a violinist, while a group of men cheerfully raise their wine glasses to one another. Thus it was that the piano edition of Johann's Gartenlaube-Walzer appeared for the first time on 12 February 1895 as a special supplement to Die Gartenlaube (1895, No. 1), bearing the warning: "The retail sale of this free supplement is prohibited". A separate edition, destined for the music shops, was issued shortly afterwards by the same publisher. Both editions bore the inscription: "Dedicated by Johann Strauss to the Readers of the Gartenlaube".

 

The first performance of the Gartenlaube-Walzer was conducted by Johann Strauss himself in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein on Epiphany Sunday, 6 January 1895, during his brother Eduard's benefit concert with the Strauss Orchestra. On the printed programme a note against the new waltz states: "Property of the journal 'Gartenlaube'". The waltz (and its footnote) featured again on the programme of Eduard's concert a week later, 13 January 1895, commemorating both the 25th anniversary of the Musikverein itself and of the staging of Strauss concerts at the venue. The Neue Freie Presse of 8 January 1895 carried an enlightening review of the première of Gartenlaube, which it considered "a musical piece of the most winning charm, the most original inventiveness and piquant rhythms". The paper continued: "Upon his appearance, Maestro [Johann] Strauss was greeted with enthusiastic applause by the tightly-packed audience, which increased to hurricane force at the end of the waltz. Strauss had to repeat the waltz and, when the enthusiasm showed no sign of abating, gave as an encore the picture couplet [ = Bildercouplet] from 'Jabuka'. This musical composition was also rewarded by great applause and, likewise, had to be repeated. In the director's box the composers [Carl] Goldmark, Brahms and Heuberger witnessed the concert, in which also the novelties by Eduard Strauss, especially the intermezzo 'Im hypnotischen Schlummer' [In Hypnotic Slumber, o. op.], met with plentiful applause". What makes this report all the more interesting is the corroborative eye-witness account which one of the three composers, Richard Heuberger (1850-1914), noted down at the time and later published in his Erinnerungen (Memoirs): "After a dinner [at the house of Viktor Miller in Aichholz] I went with Brahms and Goldmark to a Strauss concert in the director's box at the hall of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. Strauss was conducting his 'Gartenlaube-Walzer' for the first time. Brahms commented that it was remarkable that waltzes, ostensibly easily understood compositions, are only being accorded due attention after a fairly long time. - Brahms finds little in the new 'Gartenlaube-Walzer'. 'Yes, all very Straussian, but there's nothing more to it. My pleasure is the orchestration. That is wonderfully handled'".

 

Soon after the world première of the Gartenlaube-Walzer, London audiences were introduced to the waltz when Eduard Strauss played it in his programmes with the Strauss Orchestra at the Imperial Institute in Kensington during summer 1895. It was heard for the first time at their opening public concert on 11 May 1895, and when Queen Victoria commanded Eduard and his musicians to perform at a State Ball in Buckingham Palace on 30 May 1895, the new waltz again featured on the programme, this time entitled Garden-Bower Waltz.

 

[10] Soldatenspiel. Polka française (Soldiers' Games. French polka) op. 430

 

"Yesterday's third performance of the new Strauss operetta 'Simplicius' was given to a completely full house in the Theater an der Wien, conducted again in person by the composer and accompanied by tlze most spirited applause. As on the previous evenings, there were tempestuous demands for encores of several numbers, and at the end of eaclz act Maestro Strauss and the principal members of the cast were repeatedly called for and fêted". Thus enthused the reporter of the Fremden-Blatt newspaper on 20 December 1887.

 

Strauss's disappointment was understandable, therefore, when Simplicius was withdrawn from the repertoire of the Theater an der Wien after just twenty-nine performances, the première having taken place on 17 December 1887. Never fully conversant with the ways of the theatre, Johann had displayed great error of judgement in choosing to set to music an adaptation of Grimmelshausen's 17th-century novel about the Thirty Years War and its heroes, Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus (Adventurous Simplicissimus). Under the circumstances, it is extraordinary that the composer had felt able to notify his friend Gustav Lewy in a letter written from Coburg, around 1 July 1887: "From the musical point of view, the operetta [Simplicius] as a whole will be handled in a much lighter vein than the 'Zigeunerbaron' [Gypsy Baron]". The weighty subject matter, even when cast in the form of a 'serious operetta' by Vienna's leading composer of light music, was doomed to failure from the outset.

 

A similar fate was to befall all but one (op. 427 Donauweibchen Walzer, Volume 11 of this CD series) of the eight separate orchestral numbers which Strauss arranged on themes from Simplicius. Quite why popularity has continued to elude these works is not easily explained, but it has been particularly true of the French polka Soldatenspiel. Musically, the piece has much to commend it, its melodies being drawn from the following sources in the operetta:

 

Theme 1A   -

Act 1 Entrée-Couplet (No. 2): Melchior von Grübben's 'Astrology couplet', "Die Jungfrau strahlt in hellem Glanze"

Trio 2A       -

Act 3 'Glockenlied' (No. 14): Ebba, "Einst wollt ein Eh' mann wissen"

Trio 2B       -

Act 3 Couplet (No. 11): Simplicius and chorus, to the words "Na, sind das den Sünden"

 

The melodic material for Theme 1B is nowhere traceable in the published piano score of the operetta, indicating either that it comprises music composed for, but never used in, the operetta or material discarded from the final version of Simplicius.

 

Not until Sunday 19 February 1888 did the polka française Soldatenspiel enter the repertoire of the Strauss Orchestra, when Eduard Strauss conducted it at his annual "Carnival Revue" in the Musikverein. The announcements for this concert proclairned "The first performance of 10 Novelties", and besides Soldatenspiel the programme included the première of Johann's Simplicius-Quadrille (op. 429) and five new works by Eduard himself. The Neue Freie Presse (21.02.1888) merely reported that the audience had accorded the greatest applause to the Simplicius numbers, Eduard's dance pieces, a potpourri from Sullivan's Mikado and the overture to Julius Stem's Die Hochzeit des Reservisten, all of which had to be repeated. Yet, although the Musikverein concert offered the public their first chance to hear Soldatenspiel played by the Strauss Orchestra, the work had already been heard two weeks earlier, on 5 February 1888, when the excellent band of the Großherzog von Baden (Grand Duke of Baden) 50th Infantry Regiment, under their bandmaster Pranz Lehár senior (1838-98), had performed it as the opening item of their "Grand Military Concert and Ball" at the 'Zweites Kaffeehaus' (2nd Coffee House) in the Vienna Prater.

 

Almost a decade later, the polka was to be found on the programme of music played by Gottlieb's Viennese Orchestra for a State Evening Party hosted by the Prince and Princess of Wales at Buckingham Palace on 24 June 1897. The work did not, however, feature at any time that summer in the concerts given by Eduard Strauss and the Strauss Orchestra at London's Imperial Institute from May to August 1897.

 

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.

 

Christian Pollack

 

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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