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8.223219 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 19
The Johann Strauss Edition
Johann Strauss II, the most famous and enduringly successful of 19th-century light music composers, was born in Vienna on 25 October 1825. Building upon the firm musical foundations laid by his father, Johann Strauss I (1804-1849) and Joseph Lanner (1801-1843), the younger Johann (along with his brothers, Joseph and Eduard) achieved so high a development of the classical Viennese waltz that it became as much a feature of the concert hall as of the ballroom. For more than half a century Johann II captivated not only Vienna but also the whole of Europe and America with his abundantly tuneful waltzes, polkas, quadrilles and marches. The thrice-married 'Waltz King' later turned his attention to the composition of operetta, and completed 16 stage works besides more than 500 orchestral compositions – including the most famous of all waltzes, The Blue Danube (1867). Johann Strauss II died in Vienna on 3 June 1899.
The Marco Polo Strauss Edition is a milestone in recording history, presenting, for the first time ever, the entire orchestral output of the 'Waltz King'. Despite their supremely high standard of musical invention, the majority of the compositions have never before been commercially recorded and have been painstakingly assembled from archives around the world. All performances featured in this series are complete and, wherever possible, the works are played in their original instrumentation as conceived by the master orchestrator himself, Johann Strauss II.
Marsch (Hail Austria! March) op. 371
In its purely orchestral version, as performed on this recording, Johann's march Hoch Österreich! was given its first performance by the Strauss Orchestra under Eduard Strauss's direction on 25 June 1875 in the Vienna Volksgarten.
Walzer im Ländlerstyle (Village Tales, Waltz in Ländler-style) op. 47
The waltz was one of a clutch of new works presented by Johann in the weeks immediately preceding his arduous six-month concert tour through the lands of the Habsburg Empire to the Balkans, which he undertook with his 13-man orchestra in the late autumn and winter of 1847. The lilting Dorfgeschichten itself was played for the first time on 18 September that year at the concert on the broad open expanse of the Vienna Wasserglacis with which the young 'Musikdirektor' bade temporary farewell to his native Vienna. Also featured on the programme of this concert was Strauss's unpublished Ständchen (Serenade), which he had earlier played in June 1847 at his musical serenades before the palace of the exiled Serbian Prince Miloš Obrevoic I and at the home of one of the professors in the medical faculty of Vienna University.
Polka (Electro-Magnetic Polka) op. 110
Johann Strauss the Eider and his three sons were not only consummate musical craftsmen; they were also astute businessmen who knew instinctively how best to appeal to the sheet music-buying public. For that reason, they spurned the practice of merely assigning keys and opus numbers to differentiate their compositions, choosing instead to christen their dance works with more easily recalled titles which read like a cultural, historical and scientific guide book of the age. Thus, when Johann Strauss the Younger was seeking a name for the new polka he had written for the ballot the technical students of Vienna University, held in the Sofienbad-Saal on 11 February 1852, he simply plucked a term from the contemporary scientific vocabulary Electro-magnetische.
(Legal Amendments, Waltz) op. 146
With the commencement of the 1854 Vienna Carnival Strauss once again devoted his attention to his activities as a dance music composer and conductor. Yet the waltz dedications he wrote for the various festivities differed markedly in their conception: while Ballg'schichten op. 150 (Volume 7) followed the genial style of the old Viennese waltz, Schallwellen op. 148 (Volume 8) and Novellen op 146 – the latter dedicated to the law students at Vienna University on the occasion of their ball held on 31 January in the Sofienbad-Saal – reflect Strauss's fascination for the 'revolutionary' orchestrations of Wagner and Meyerbeer. It was a musical flirtation which did not pass unchallenged, however, for in an article in the Wiener Zeitung (6 November 1854) Vienna's 'Music Pope', Dr. Eduard Hanslick, grumbled: "Even themes like the first ones of 'Wellen und Wogen', 'Schneeglöckchen', 'Novellen', with their lengthy eight-bar motifs, their groaning diminished seventh and ninth chords, [and] the thundering noise of their trombones and timpani are no longer appropriate for dancing. For that reason, not everything which is played in three-quarter-time is a waltz.
(Languishing Admirers, Quadrille) op. 48
In 1787 a certain Herr Dick, a waiter, built a coffee-house in gardens opposite the Kaiserstöckl, the small lodge at the west entrance of Schönbrunn Park. The coffee house enjoyed great popularity with the Viennese as a meeting place, and in 1817 it was bought by a Hietzing innkeeper, Herr Reiter, who enlarged and extended the property into a tavern. In 1823 Reiter entrusted the business to his son-in-law, a 23-year-old comb-maker called Ferdinand Dommayer (1799-1858), under whose ownership the venue opened on 4 June that year as ‘Dommayer's Coffee- and Restaurant-Keeper's House’. In 1832 the surrounding small buildings were acquired and demolished to enable the Lichtenstein building director, Josef Leistler, to construct the splendid building know as 'Dommayer's Casino'. On 24 June 1833 the comfortably appointed establishment was opened, and respectable Viennese society soon flocked there to enjoy its intimate Viennese festivals, balls and numerous reunions. When Ferdinand Dommayer died, the business was continued for many years by his son, Franz (1822-1900), but after a farewell celebration on 3 February 1907, the building and garden were demolished to make way for the ‘Parkhotel Schönbrunn’ (since 1934, ‘Hübner's Parkhotel Schönbrunn’). In 1921 a new Dommayer's ('Cafe Dommayerhof') was opened at the junction of Dommayergasse and Aufhofstrasse.
Dommayer's Casino provided a regular venue for the younger Strauss and his orchestra during their early years, and it was at his benefit concert there on 15 February 1847 that Johann conducted his Lions-Quadrille for the first time. The title was well chosen, for amongst the clientèle which frequented Dommayer's at the time was the "jeunesse dorée" (literally, "gilded youth") – educated, but spoiled young people from Vienna's best families, who sought to entertain themselves in the most outrageous and extraordinary manner. The young ladies, especially, were prone to flaunt themselves in the latest follies of fashion, and Dommayer's became the preferred arena for the prowling 'Salon-Löwen' (literally 'Salon Lions') or 'ladies' men' – whose proud strutting is so amusingly portrayed in the opening section of Johann's Lions-Quadrille. The work was later published under the title Seladon-Quadrille.
Walzer (Students' Joy, Waltz) op. 285
The 1864 Vienna Carnival proved hectic for the Strauss brothers, who were called upon to provide no less than 16 new works for the various festivities. In January, following disagreements with Carl Haslinger, Johann and Josef (and soon afterwards Eduard) entrusted all their dance music to the publishing house of C.A. Spina. The first Strauss work to appear with this imprint was Johann's waltz Morgenblätter (Morning Papers), one of the 2 waltzes and 4 polkas he wrote for that year's carnival. The other waltz, Studentenlust, was composed for the Students' Ball held in the Redoutensaal of the Imperial Hofburg Palace on 31 January. Strauss respectfully dedicated his waltz to "the most serene and high-born ladies in their capacity as patronesses of the Students' Ball". Rather surprisingly, Studentenlust was programmed only five times during Johann's 1864 summer concert series in Pavlovsk – indeed, its first appearance was not until late in the season at his benefit concert on 20 September (= 8 September, Russian calendar) – whereas, by comparison, Morgenblätter was played on 33 occasions and the Persischer Marsch (op. 289) enjoyed a remarkable 65 performances during the composer's five month Russian engagement.
Episode, Polka française (Episode, French polka) op. 296
Thus, to relieve their older brother, Josef and Eduard Strauss bore the brunt of the 1865 Carnival 'campaign'. But the family's plans for Johann were thwarted when Josef suddenly collapsed at his writing-desk and was unable to continue discharging his duties as conductor/composer. Johann was left no alternative but to appear again at the head of the orchestra, and in addition to contribute more musical novelties than he had planned to write. The only one to which he had really committed himself was the waltz Feuilleton (Volume 10) for the 'Concordia' ball, but for the dance festivities of the lawyers, engineers and students he now composed for each a new polka. That for the Students' Ball bore the name Tanz-Episode (Dance Episode), and Johann conducted the Strauss Orchestra in its first performance at the ball in the Redoutensaal of the Imperial Hofburg Palace on 20 February. Bearing a dedication to "the Gentlemen Committee Members of the Students' Ball", the piano edition of the polka française appeared the following month with its title shortened to Episode.
The work may strike a familiar note with some listeners through Antal Dorati's arrangement of it as the dance for 'The Prima Donna' in his pastiche ballet Graduation Ball (1940).
Rosen aus dem
Süden, Walzer (Roses from the South, Waltz) op. 388
Positive = Herr
Not until 7 November, therefore, at Eduard's Sunday afternoon concert in the Musikverein, did the waltz begin its triumphant conquest of the world, comprising, as it did, many of the musical highlights from the operetta. Two numbers which had drawn especial praise from the Spitzentuch first-night reviewers were the King's Act 1 Trüffel-Couplet ("Stets kommt mir wieder in den Sinn" – the refrain of which Strauss claimed he had rewritten twelve times!) and Cervantes's Act 2 Romance, "Wo die wilde Rose erblüht", and these both appear in Rosen aus dem Süden, as Waltz 1 and Waltz 2A respectively.
Of interest is the publication by Cranz, in October 1880, of two separate piano editions of Rosen aus dem Süden. The first issue bears no dedication and has a title page illustration showing roses and palm branches interwoven in a lace handkerchief. The second, which introduces slight modifications to the musical score and features on its cover a rose-entwined veranda and a volcano – presumably Vesuvius – is dedicated by the composer "in deepest respect to his Majesty Humbert I, King of Italy".
Polka française (Student Travels, French polka) op. 389
Before departing for Germany, however, he still had one obligation to discharge. Rudolf Weinwurm, chorus-master of the Wiener Männergesang-Verein (Vienna Men's Choral Association), who had led the first performances of Johann's choral waltzes An der schönen blauen Donau (1867) and Wein, Weib und Gesang! (1869), had recently left to take up the post of chorus-master with the Akademischer Gesangverein in Wien (Academic Choral Society in Vienna). It was in his new capacity that he requested Strauss to contribute a new choral composition for his first 'Liedertafel' (Song Programme) with the Akademischer Gesangverein, due to be given in the Sofienbad-Saal on 7 December 1880. Johann willingly complied and, to a poem by August Seuffert, wrote his Burschenwanderung, Polka française which he dedicated to the Society. Seuffert's text sings of the joys of student drinking festivals and celebrates the memory of the legendary Herr von Rodenstein, who was in reality reported to have been a devout nobleman from Odenwald who died as a pilgrim in Rome in 1500. As Dr. John Whitten points out, however, the poet Viktor von Scheffel presented Rodenstein as an "heroicdrunkard" who, in order to pay his bills, was forced to pawn his villages. His last he bequeathed to the students of Heidelberg – who likewise promptly drank away their inheritance!
Burschenwanderung is recorded here in its version for orchestra alone, in which form it was first played by the Strauss Orchestra under Eduard Strauss at a 'Carnival Revue' in the Grosser Musikverein-Saal (Great Hall of the Musikverein) on 6 March 1881.
Le premier jour de
bonheur. Opéra de D.F.E. Auber. Quadrille
Auber's opera, Le premier jour de bonheur, was given its première at the Opéra Comique in Paris on 15 February 1868, while performances were staged in Prague and Munich during September of that year. Auber's stage works had long been popular in Vienna, but not until 7 November 1874, in the recently-opened Komische Oper building (later re-named the Ringtheater) on the Schottenring, was a production of Auber's opera mounted there, where it was seen as Der erste Glückstag. By contrast, the Strauss Orchestra once again demonstrated its importance in the cultural life of Austria by introducing selections of the music from Le premier jour de bonheur, arranged as a quadrille, more than six years before the opera was staged in Vienna. Johann Strauss unveiled his new dance piece on themes from Auber's work on 3 September 1868, when he conducted it at a concert in the capacious Blumen-Säle der Gartenbaugesellschaft (Floral Halls of the Vienna Horticultural Society) as one of the many entertainments held during a large scale 'German Artists' Congress' in the Austrian capital.
Millionen. Walzer (Be embraced, ye millions. Waltz) op. 443
It had been Johannes Brahms (1833-97) who had prompted the contract between Strauss and Simrock, his own publisher, when he challenged the latter in April 1889 "to arrange a tie-up with him". Simrock had accepted, and for the next three years acted as Johann's sole publisher (opp. 437-445). In the event, Ritter Pásmán proved an unequivocal failure Strauss was deeply upset, the more so since Brahms, who earlier had shown such an interest in the undertaking, had found serious fault with the compositional form of the opera. Through the dedication of a master waltz to Brahms, however, Johann felt that he could somewhat redress the balance with his friend. Long before the waltz was composed, Strauss had settled upon its title – Seid umschlungen, Millionen – and had even asked Simrock to ensure "a very attractive title page" bearing the words: "Dedicated in friendship to Herr Dr Brahms". The title of the waltz was borrowed from Friedrich Schiller's "Ode an die Freude" (Ode to Joy) – and had been suggested to Johann by his friend Julius Stettenheim, who had requested a waltz of that title for a journalists' ball to be held in Berlin in early 1892. Instead, Strauss chose to use the title for a waltz he had promised Princess Pauline Metternich-Sándor for her grand 'International Exhibition of Music and Theatre', scheduled to open on the Vienna Prater on 7 May 1892. However, when Johann learned that the new waltz would be performed by the Exhibition Orchestra, rather than under his own direction, he preferred to incur the Princess's wrath by conducting the première of Seid umschlungen, Millionen himself at the Strauss Orchestra's final concert that season, held in the magnificent surroundings of the Great Hall of the Musikverein on 27 March 1892 – a full six weeks before the official opening of the Exhibition. Brahms, by this time aware he was dedicatee of the new work, was present at this first performance and the previous day showed his appreciation by addressing his visiting card to the Strauss home, with the message: "Tomorrow, your most happy and proud listener!" The waltz occasioned rapturous applause and Brahms notified Simrock: "The third time the whole audience was playing along". Underlining his high regard for Brahms, Strauss took the unusual step of personally arranging the piano edition of Seid umschlungen, Millionen – a task normally undertaken by employees of the music publisher – and as such Simrock was able to put the waltz (inscribed merely: "Dedicated to Johannes Brahms") on sale in April 1892. Surprisingly, in Vienna the composition was slow to attract the public's favour. Johann wrote to his brother Eduard: "The Millionenwalzer does not bring the business which Simrock anticipated. Fourteen days ago he told me that he had sold only 6,000 copies. Certainly a very modest result. Of course, the waltz appeared only two and a half months ago". For his part, Eduard took the new work with him on his summer concert tour of Germany, and at the end of May could advise Johann: "Your Millionenwalzer is causing a sensation everywhere; I am playing it in every concert". In the event, the ‘Millionenwalzer’ even found a place at the International Exhibition when Eduard and the Strauss Orchestra performed it there on 13 September 1892.
Programme notes © 1991 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.
Czecho-Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra (Košice)
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 several successful volumes to the complete compact disc Johann Strauss II and for Naxos has recorded a varied repertoire.
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