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8.225342 - STRAUSS I, J.: Edition - Vol. 22
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Johann Strauss Snr • Edition • Vol 22

 

[1] Die Schwalben (The Swallows), Walzer, Op 208. On Whit Monday 24 May 1847 Johann Strauss the Elder put on a “big musical afternoon entertainment” in Unger’s Casino and Promenade Garden in the suburb of Hernals to the west of Vienna in what is now the 17th district. It was made known that, as a special attraction and as a kind of harbinger of Summer, a number of new waltzes would be played under title of The Swallows. “You should have been present today” enthused the reviewer, “to have heard the cheers with which the over-capacity crowd of fashionable members of society honoured their favourite. When he unveiled his latest creation, a set of waltzes ingeniously entitled The Swallows, the applause was almost Italianate in its enthusiasm and Strauss was obliged to repeat these splendid waltzes again. These musical swallows are really nightingales in sound which one would always like to hear singing. There is such an abundance of charming and delightful melodies, such verve and so much rhythmic piquancy and originality in these tunes, that one doesn’t know whether to admire the ‘eternal youth’ of Strauss’s fantasy or his brilliant gift for instrumentation.”

[2] Oesterreichischer Defilir-Marsch (Austrian March-Past), Op 209. It is not known when and where Strauss first performed his Austrian March-Past. As Strauss was not only the director of his own orchestra but Kapellmeister of the First Viennese Civilian Regiment, it is not entirely outside the realms of possibility that the first performance of the work took place during one of its parades. What is certain is that the work was played again “to rapturous applause” during an evening entertainment given by Strauss’s orchestra on 18 August 1847 in the Zum Großen Zeisig inn in the suburb of St Ulrich, which today is part of the 7th district of Vienna. But the march achieved particular success in Berlin when Strauss performed it that November in the presence of the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV. He introduced it, under the title Parade March of the 2nd Infantry Regiment ‘for time immemorial’, as the Prussian Federal Republic’s army march. The military musician Wilhelm Stephan compiled a new collection of music for the armed forces, which incorporated the best-known works of the old army- and field-marches and gave them new titles. March-Past has found its way into Volume 2, containing parade marches for the infantry, appearing there under No 119 as a quick march.

[3] Beliebte Kathinka-Polka (Popular Katinka Polka), Op 210. In Strauss’s time, when a typical woman from Bohemia was written about she was mostly called Marianka or Katinka. These are the familiar forms of what were then the most popular Czech female first names of Mary and Catharine. Strauss, who for a long time did not pay the same attention to the polka, which originated in Bohemia, as he did to the quadrille or even to the waltz, sometimes did not use much imagination when selecting the titles for his polka compositions. So two years after the Marianka Polka of 1845 (see Volume 17 / Marco Polo 8.225337) came the Katinka Polka which was unveiled at the traditional two-day church consecration festival in Unger’s Casino in Hernals. If one is to believe the only press notice of this première, it was given on Sunday 29 August, on which day a big musical afternoon entertainment” took place. One would like to suppose that at the very least Strauss would have repeated the Katinka Polka at the following Monday’s “big garden festival with ball” at which occasion people would have been able to dance to its strains; but no such event was mentioned in reviews.

[4] Beliebte Quadrille nach Motiven aus Auber’s Oper „Des Teufels Antheil“ (Popular Quadrille on themes from Auber’s opera Des Teufels Antheil (The Devil’s Due), Op 211. In September 1847 the race was on between the Kärntnertor-Theater and the Theater an der Wien to secure the first performance in Vienna of Daniel-François-Esprit Auber’s La Part du Diable (The Devil’s Due). In the event the suburban theatre (the Theater an der Wien) preempted the Court Theatre by two days, but it was a prize of dubious quality. Even Strauss became heavily involved in what were very exciting days for the opera-lovers of Vienna. “Hardly had the theatre devil put on a piece of devilry badly performed at the Theater an der Wien—Auber’s Antheil des Teufels—than our famous Court Opera brought the same Auber piece to the stage in a splendid presentation, bringing credit again to all opera devils, than our Strauss the Elder, himself a bit of a devil, bestirred himself to present a quadrille based on the prettiest tunes from the opera.” The first performance of the quadrille took place, “to enthusiastic applause” on 25 September, just two or four days after the premières of the opera, in a benefit concert in Strauss’s long-established stronghold of the Sperl. And just three days later the published score of the new work was available!

[5] Marien-Walzer (Mary Waltzes), Op 212. Following the great success of the festivities which took place on 1 October 1846 in the little Paradise Garden, part of the Volksgarten which no longer exists today, Strauss decided to put on a restaging of the event in the following year, but at a time when weather conditions would be more favourable. But the calculations did not turn out well. The event had to be postponed twice because of the uncertain weather and it took place finally on 20 July. The public was not deterred and appeared in large numbers, if nothing else to savour the first performance of the new Mary Waltzes, which had been advertised in the newspapers and on posters. “Following the last piece there was a range of acclamation: divine, glorious, vintage, charming and splendid. Eight or ten times during the first rendition of these waltzes they were accompanied by unanimous applause and subsequently a second repeat was demanded, proof enough that the work was understood and appreciated by le beau monde.” But as soon as the closing firework display had got under way the floodgates of heaven opened “…and people walked, ran, hurried and scattered in all directions with the conviction that the pleasures of paradise, enjoyed on earth, could turn to water.”

[6] Feldbleamel’n, Walzer (im Ländlerstyle) (Meadow Flowers, Waltzes, in the style of a Ländler), Op 213. It is conceivable that the possible first performance of the Katinka Polka at the “big garden festival with ball” in Unger’s Casino (see above) was not mentioned by the reviewer because it was overshadowed by another new work by Strauss. That is to say that at midnight he produced: “…a new score of a Ländler called Feldbleaml’n, which met with an enthusiastic reception and had to be repeated twice, to tumultuous applause. These meadow flowers are sweet-smelling blooms from the rich bouquet of tunes of our Strauss, full of melodic beauty and electric power, mellifluous and charming in their unadorned, simple Ländler style. One is drawn irresistibly into the maelstrom of joyous dancing so that one forgets even the sirocco-like heat in the room and the awful service of the German- Hungarian waiters in the Casino.” The new work was named after a recently-published collection of poetry of the same name by the Upper-Austrian dialect poet Joseph Kartsch. Yet again Strauss showed himself to have his finger on the pulse, since both his son (with his Wilde Rosen and Dorfgeschichten) and Philipp Fahrbach senior (with his Schwarzblattl aus’n Weanerwald) had been inspired by literary sources.

[7] Nádor Kör, Palatinal-Tanz (Nádor Kör, Palatine Dance), Op 214. Until the 1848 revolution Hungary had a palatine, called a nádor in the local language, who acted as governor in the absence of the king. On 13 January 1847 the old palatine, Archduke Joseph, died. But before his successor, Archduke Stephan, was appointed to the post in the middle of November, one could read in the newspapers that the popular dancing-master Gorski had devised a “palatine dance”. The Nádor Kör, as it was called in Hungarian, was put together like a quadrille, and consisted of the following movements: 1. Köszöntés (Address of welcome), 2. Látogató (Visit), 3. Hódolat (Homage), 4. Nagy séta (Walk), 5. Ujjongó (Rejoicing), 6. Zárlat (Conclusion). As so many propaganda issues were involved, it was no surprise that nobody other than Strauss could have composed the music for it, and of course it was based on Hungarian national melodies. The new work was unveiled, to great acclaim, during an evening entertainment in the ballroom of the Sperl on 18 December 1847. In the longer term, however, the dance could not gain acceptance, above all because of the national tensions which came to light in the Hapsburg monarchy and because of its association with the post of palatine, which was then abolished.

[8] Martha Quadrille, Op 215 / [9] Martha Quadrille, Op 215 (supplement allowing optional replacement of the movements Été, Pastourelle and Finale). In the autumn of 1847 the world première at the Viennese Hofoper of Friedrich von Flotow’s opera Martha, oder der Markt zu Richmond (Martha, or Richmond Market) was eagerly awaited. After many postponements the première, on 25 November, brought the composer great success. The whole of Vienna was in a ‘Martha frenzy’ and everyone sang, whistled or played the catchy tunes from the opera. Naturally Strauss immediately set to work on his own Martha Quadrille which he performed for the first time on 18 December in the Sperl. But there were other composers too who tried to cash in on the favourable situation: “The Strausses Father and Son, the brilliant Waldmüller, Fahrbach etc, a whole army is writing quadrilles from Martha for us! We feel sorry for the busy music publisher Haslinger which, on account of this endless competition, has sold only 3000 copies of its Martha Quadrille (by Strauss the Elder) and the printing-plates had to be engraved twice.” Of course, the little word “only” was a deliberate understatement, since the printed edition of the music was achieved in the short period of time from the end of December to the middle of January! The printed editions of the Martha Quadrille include a supplement containing alternative music for the second, fifth and sixth movements, based on more melodies from the opera—a precursor of today’s bonus tracks.

[10] Die Adepten (The Initiates), Walzer, Op 216. In the battle for the academic and student public Johann Strauss the Younger gained an important partial victory in 1847. It was he, not his father, who was charged with directing the music at the carnival ball held for the architects. With the appointment came a dedicatory commission, the Architects’ Ball Dances, which Strauss (the Younger) presented to his public at the aforementioned event. By contrast the lawyers, the doctors and the engineers remained faithful to Strauss the Elder. For the first two bodies he wrote Themis-Klänge and Herz-Töne (see Volume 21 / Marco Polo 8.225341), while for the Engineers’ Ball which took place on 25 January in the Redouten Rooms he composed a set of waltzes called The Initiates. This term is derived from the Latin and means “those who are initiated into the arcane arts”; by that was meant originally those alchemists who claimed that they could turn inferior substances into gold or that they had found the philosophers’ stone. It has not been documented whether the new waltzes were met with approval at their first performance. Furthermore the printed edition took a year to appear—an unusually long period of time.

[11] Schäfer-Quadrille (Shepherds’ Quadrille), Op 217. In the mid-1840s and onwards Strauss’s preferred location for the premières of his latest works had switched from the Sperl ballroom to the Dianabad-Saal in Winter and Unger’s Casino in the open-air season. On 5 July 1847, in the course of a “big garden festival with ball” there was once again a general announcement that: “Strauss (the Elder) has composed a new work called the Shepherds’ Quadrille.” The reviewer of the event was unusually critical and added: “The title sounds somewhat odd.” The work was not heard of again until 1848: “Why is it that two of Strauss the Elder’s compositions—The Initiates and the Shepherds’ Quadrille, both of which enjoyed much applause every time they were played—are not in print, while many later compositions have already appeared? Surely Strauss will not withhold these from us? They would certainly be most welcomed by everyone at this year’s Carnival.” For reasons unknown the Shepherds’ Quadrille was released no earlier than 29 February. By then even the unusually long Carnival season of 1848 was almost over.

[12] Tanz-Signale (Dance-Signals), Walzer, Op 218. Hardly had Ash Wednesday 1847 brought to an end the crazy season of Carnival than the dance-mad Viennese were consoling themselves with thoughts of the following year’s celebrations. It was planned to last for sixty-one days, with new heightened pleasures and sensations which would await them in the craved-for “better society”: nothing so long had been experienced for forty-two years! In their minds people painted a picture of entertainment offerings: “…sunny, airy salons […] in the style of the hanging gardens of Semiramis” and a “subterranean Elysium from the Danube to the Black Sea.” Dance-Signals was the self-conscious, optimistic title which Strauss gave to his new set of waltzes for the opening on 16 January of the new season of balls in the Sperl. The new work was “received with approval”. The newspaper reports revealed nothing more. In any case, despite heightened expectations, the 1848 Carnival season did not really come to life. The number of balls remained unusually small, since the bad economic situation was now having an impact on every social class, even on those who until then had remained unaffected by it. Revolution was on the doorstep.


Thomas Aigner
English translation by David Stevens


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