About this Recording
8.223224 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 24
English  German 

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.

Viribus Unitis Marsch (With United Strength. March) op. 96
At the beginning of August 1851 Johann Strauss was reported to be unwell, though he rallied enough to appear in person at engagements which he deemed important – particularly those which furthered his goal of becoming his late father's successor, even within the Imperial Court. One can therefore well imagine the enthusiasm with which he prepared for one such event, announced in the Theater Zeitung of 14 August 1851: "For the glorification of the grand festival of rejoicing, which the coffee-house proprietor in the Imperial Royal Volksgarten, Herr Corti, has organised on 18 August for the 21st birthday of his Majesty the Emperor, the unremittingly hard-working conductor, Herr Johann Strauss, has written a new festive march, which is entitled 'Viribus-unitis-Marsch'". When seeking an appropriate title for his march, Johann had simply borrowed the motto of his Emperor, Franz Josef I.

In the event, bad weather forced a postponement of the open-air festival until Friday 22 August. In its report on the proceedings, the Theater Zeitung (24.08.1851) noted: "The very melodious 'Viribus unitis Marsch', composed for this festival by Herr Strauss, [and which is] worthy to stand beside the world-famous 'Radetzky Marsch' of Strauss Father, was performed by the combined orchestras of Herr Strauss and the King of Saxony Curassier Regiment with such favourable success that, amidst general shouts of approval, it had to be repeated several times".

But the young composer was not merely content with this public expression of his loyalty to his Emperor. The day before the festival took place, an announcement appeared in the Theater Zeitung, in which it was stated that, by way of "a generous demonstration of his benevolence", Strauss (after prior agreement with his publisher, Carl Haslinger) would himself meet the cost of printing his Viribus unitis Marsch, and that the profit arising from the sale of the sheet music would be donated to the "Fund for the support of crippled soldiers". The Theater Zeitung concluded its announcement with the words: "Considering the popularity of our Strauss, the yield will certainly be a splendid one".

Heski-Holki Polka (Pretty girls. Polka) op. 80
Though quite unable to compete on an equal footing with his illustrious father during the latter's lifetime, the younger Johann Strauss swiftly overcame such obstacles and opposition as existed to his musical activities after Strauss Father's death in September 1849. Indeed, just four months later, on 22 January 1850, the journal Der Wanderer voiced its support for the young conductor/composer in (for that time) astonishingly outspoken terms: "He has not only inherited his unforgettable father's magic violin, [but] the latter's talent has also passed to the son, as has the father's restless industriousness and his sense of charity. His excellent compositions and the many entertainments which [he] gives for humane purposes bear witness to what has been said. When one considers that, by his talent, Strauss has to support a numerous family for which there is no other provision, he can be allowed the great favour which he enjoys with the public, and we regret that the all-highest Court has not honoured him with the post of Hofball-Musikdirektor [Director of Music for the Court Balls], left vacant by the death of his father".

With the approach of the annual 'Annentag' – one of the most eagerly-awaited of red-letter days (26 July), celebrating the Name Day of St Anna in the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church – the younger Johann was again able to demonstrate his charitable leanings. On Monday 22 July 1850 the summer and winter rooms of the immensely popular 'Sperl' dance hall in Leopoldstadt were given over entirely to a charity ball and music festival organised as a preliminary celebration of St Anna's Day. The net proceeds were to be donated in equal portions "to the prebendary of the alms-house in the parish of Leopoldstadt and the baby nursery founded by Herr Dr Hügel for the communities in the Wieden district". The popularity of the Anna Festivals at the Sperl would have ensured a capacity attendance, even in the absence of the continuous rain which led to the abandonment of the planned illumination of the garden, driving the public indoors. "Meanwhile", observed the reporter for the Theaterzeitung (24.07.1850), "there was no shortage of dance-devotees, for Capellmeister Johann Strauss II, the worthy successor of his famous father, conducted his excellent orchestra and performed his latest compositions, among which the 'Madlein-Polka', especially composed for this ball festivity, received particular applause".

Now, the Madlein-Polka presents a conundrum for the Strauss researcher. The title of the work – almost certainly a typesetter's error for Madeln-Polka (Viennese dialect for 'Mädchen', meaning a young girl) – does not feature in any catalogue of published compositions by Johann Strauss, the solitary reference to it is that in the Theaterzeitung and the work is not programmed under that name in any subsequent Strauss concert. On 16 August 1850, however, the Wiener Zeitung announced a "Grand Festival with appropriate decorations and illuminations", to be held that day in the Volksgarten to celebrate the birthday of the Austrian Emperor, Franz Josef. Johann and the Strauss Orchestra were engaged to provide the musical entertainment, which included the first performance of the composer's Bon Vivant-Quadrille (op. 86). More interestingly, listed among the composer's "latest dance pieces" was the Heski Holki-Polka. 'Heski Holki' is a Germanism from colloquial Czechoslovakian (correctly: 'Hezký Holki') for 'Pretty girls'. One might have expected the première of the work to have been at the 'Slav Ball' which had taken place in the Sofienbad-Saal on 5 February 1850. Yet, had this been so, by 16 August the Heski Holki-Polka could would most assuredly not have been classed among the prolific Johann's "latest dance pieces". So we may discount this event – as we may Johann's 'Volksmusik-Concert' at the Sperl on 3 August, for which no new works were announced. Publication of all Strauss's original dance compositions for spring and summer 1850 can be proved, with the singular exception of the Madlein-Polka. Bearing in mind all these factors, not least the similarity of meaning between the two titles ('Young girl' and 'Pretty girls'), one is led to the inescapable conclusion that the Madlein-Polka and the Heski Holki-Polka are one and the same composition – the Czech title being a further manifestation of Johann's gratitude to the minority nationalistic communities within Vienna, particularly the Slavs (comprising Serbs and Czechs), who had been among his keenest supporters since his historic début in 1844.

Idyllen. Walzer (Idylls. Waltz) op. 95
Confirming its report of 6 September 1851, the Viennese newspaper Der Wanderer reported six days later: "The Imperial-Royal Court music-shop of Carl Haslinger, formerly Tobias, has by means of contract secured the exclusive ownership- and publishing-rights to all compositions by Herr Capellmeister Johann Strauss (son of the former Imperial-Royal Court Ball Music Director of that name) for the whole of Europe. Indeed, the two names of Haslinger and Strauss went hand in hand earlier on, and thereby achieved successful results... The waltz 'Idyllen' will mark the commencement and will be available from the publishing house next week". Accordingly, on 18 September 1851, Haslinger issued the Idyllen Walzer in versions for piano, violin and piano and full orchestra. This most important collaboration between talented composer and commercially astute publisher – the Haslinger firm had also been the publisher of almost all of the eider Johann Strauss's compositions – was to be long, close and remarkably successful, and was only terminated in 1863 following severe financial disagreement between the two men. Carl Haslinger (1816-68) further promoted his publishing coup with the younger Johann by selling a lithograph of the composer, as he appeared in June 1851, conducting his waltz Idyllen at the head of his orchestra in the Volksgarten. Some later variations of this print falsely claim the scene as portraying Strauss at his début concert in Dommayer's Casino in October 1844.

Johann composed his waltz Idyllen for a "Grand Summer Festival Soirée" in the Volksgarten, and conducted the Strauss Orchestra in its first performance. More than once the event was postponed on account of inclement weather ("Herr Pluvius", as the Theater Zeitung dubbed the rainfall!) and the festivity eventually took place on the evening of 13 June. Strauss and his orchestra alternated with the band of the k. k. Constantin Infantry Regiment in providing the musical entertainment, and to close the proceedings the public was able to enjoy one of Anton Stuwer's popular firework displays. In its review of the festival the Theater Zeitung (15.06.1851) opined of Johann's Idyllen Walzer: "It is most original and displays a multitude of piquant dance rhythms which are instrumented with much spirit and, amidst tumultuous applause from the select and numerous public, had to be played da capo". Woven into the fifth waltz section is the melody of a popular song, "O Mädchen mein unter'm Hollerstock" (O maiden mine beneath the rose-tree).

Demi-Fortune. Polka française (One-horse carriage. French polka) op. 186
Although Johann's first concert season in Pavlovsk had ended on 13 October 1856 (= 1 October, Russian calendar), it was not until 16 December that he set foot once again in his native Vienna. This extended stay in Russia gave rise in Vienna to rumours that the young Kapellmeister had married in St. Petersburg – rumours which Strauss had strenuously to deny by telegraphic despatch! In fact, Strauss had delayed his return in order to finalise a new contract (dated 5 December 1856/23 November 1856, Russian calendar) with the management of the Tsarskoye-Selo Railway Company in St. Petersburg, binding him to give concerts at Pavlovsk for a further two summer seasons, in 1857 and 1858.

Just fifteen days after returning to the Austrian capital, Johann was able to announce the title of one of his 1857 Carnival novelties: the Demi-Fortune, Polka française, composed for the Artists' Ball in the ‘Sperl’ dance hall on 21 January. (His brother Josef also announced a dedication work for this subscription event: the waltz Künstler-Ball-Tänze, though this was actually performed and published under the amended title Ball-Silhouetten op. 30). The overwhelming popularity of Demi-Fortune was soon to become evident. For Johann's own benefit ball, to be held in the Sofienbad-Saal on Monday 16 February 1857 from 8.00pm until 4.00am, the composer promised something special: "Grand Ball with distribution of prizes to the ladies and a special competition for everyone attending, under the motto 'Dance Battle'. A contest between the reigning dances SchottischPolka-mazurkaPolka françaiseKör MazurkaQuadrille and Waltz". All the ladies present were requested to vote for their favourite dance composition from those played during the evening. The work which attracted the greatest number of voting slips would be declared the winner, and each lady who had balloted for it would receive a copy of a dance composition by Johann Strauss. The ladies' choice fell to the polka Demi-Fortune – confounding the general expectation that the prize would be carried off by one of the new waltzes contributed by Johann or Josef Strauss. Indeed, so great had been this belief that the solution to a puzzle which the public was invited to guess on this evening – and for which the prize was a three-volume, deluxe edition of the works of Johann Strauss Father – was: "Vienna and the Waltz are inseparable"!

Strelna Terrassen-Quadrille (Strelna Terraces Quadrille) op. 185
Johann Strauss's Viennese publisher, Carl Haslinger, lost no opportunity to increase the sales of his client's sheet music by equipping many of the first piano editions with exquisitely engraved title pages. An especially fine example, drawn and engraved by W. Tatzelt, enhances the cover of Strauss's Strelna Terrassen-Quadrille of 1856. The view shows part of the palace at Strelna, the summer residence of the Russian Grand Duke Constantin Nikolaievich (1827-92), brother of Tsar Alexander II. The focal point of Tatzelt's illustration is the palace's magnificent flower-bordered terraces, complete with garden pavilion and fountains, with their commanding view of the surrounding parkland (today, Konstantinovskiy Park) situated some 6 kilometres from Peterhof (today, Petrodvorets). A tree lined approach stretches from the palace to the neighbouring southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, where the artist completes the scene by showing several vessels under sail.

Like his younger brother, the Grand Duke Michail Nikolaievich (1832-1909), Grand Duke Constantin was not only a music-lover but a practising musician, and from time to time the two men would appear as cellists in Strauss's orchestra at Pavlovsk. (Johann had first made their acquaintance in Vienna during March 1852 when the visiting Grand Dukes were guests of Emperor Franz Josef I). Apart from attending Johann's concerts at Pavlovsk, Grand Duke Constantin also invited the Viennese Kapellmeister and his orchestra to perform at his palace at Strelna. It may have been on one of these occasions – a ball held on 30 July 1856 – that Johann conducted the first performance of his Strelna Terrassen-Quadrille. Regrettably this cannot be substantiated, since no programme of the music played has been preserved. Had the work been performed on this occasion, one could fairly expect immediate subsequent public performances of the quadrille, but these are absent. One may therefore assume that the work was given its première under the composer's direction at the final concert of the season, held at the Vauxhall Pavilion in Pavlovsk on 13 October 1856 (= 1 October, Russian calendar). This date is noted in the diary of F.A. Zimmermann, a viola-player in the Strauss Orchestra, whose meticulous daily records of the music played during Johann's 'Russian summers' have enabled many dates of first performance to be accurately pinpointed.

The Quadrille was evidently a great success at its première, and had to be repeated twice. Sadly, the Grand Duke Constantin, whose splendid terraces at Strelna had inspired the composition, appears not to have been present for the performance. The Viennese were given their first chance to hear the Strelna Terrassen-Quadrille on 27 December 1856, when Johann conducted it, together with other works composed for his Russian audiences, in the ‘Sperl’ dance hall at a concert shared with his brother Josef. Although the published edition of the quadrille bears no dedication, the Fremdenblatt (25.12.1856) announced it as having been dedicated to "her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Josefine Alexandra" – in reality the Prussian Princess Alexandra Friederike Henriette (1830-1911) who, as the Grand Duchess Alexandra Jossiphovna, was the wife of the Grand Duke Constantin Nikolaievich. The Grand Duchess was dedicatee of Johann's Grossfürstin Alexandra-Walzer op. 181 (Volume 18), while a polka and/or polka-mazurka of her own composition featured in the programmes of Strauss's 1856 Russian concerts. The Strelna Terrassen-Quadrille presents a kaleidoscope of popular Russian melodies, although British listeners may be struck by the uncanny resemblance between the Finale section's principal theme and the opening motif of C.E. Horn's (1786-1849) popular song "Cherry Ripe".

Lockvögel. Walzer (Lures. Waltz) op. 118
Writing in 1875, the journalist Friedrich Schlögl (1821-92) observed in Wiener Blut, his book on Viennese cultural life: "Female popular singers who sing about ‘divine love’ as it is offered for sale in the evening, were the first ‘lures’ [= Lockvögel] who drew the libertines of the night to themselves like iron to a magnet...".

Yet aside from this rather dark connotation of 'Lockvögel', the word has a secondary meaning in the German language and in the terminology of the hunter: decoy birds. Johann Strauss, whose catalogue of compositions is littered with ambiguous titles, ensures that he covers both possibilities, and in the Introduction and Coda works bird calls into his orchestration. The decorative title page of the first piano edition of the work conveys nothing. But whether one translates Lockvögel as 'lures', ‘tempters’ or 'seducers', there is no denying the enticement which Johann so brilliantly conveys both in the Introduction and in certain of the waltz sections, notably in Waltz 1B, 3B and 4A.

The waltz Lockvögel was heard for the first time on 5 July 1852 at Strauss's benefit in the Bierhalle establishment in the suburb of Fünfhaus (today, Vienna's 15th district). Johann and the Strauss Orchestra played both for the concert and the ball and, in announcing this 'Extraordinary Festivity', the Theaterzeitung (4.07.1852) asked: "New waltz, large-scale illuminations, fire-works, ball and real lager and strong beer: Heart, what more do you want?!". On 7 July it published its account of the fête in the Bierhalle: "A giver of festivals is a pitiable man, for he is dependent upon the weather, upon the whim of the public and upon heaven knows what other circumstances and situations. Herr Strauss has no need to fear the whim of the public for he is their declared favourite, but against Jupiter Pluvius [= rain] no mortal is able to do a thing; and so it was this time also for Herr Strauss with his benefit which took place the day before yesterday in the Bierhalle. The beautiful summer weather in the morning appeared favourable to the enterprise, but in the afternoon it became overcast and was of so uncertain a nature that it deterred many people from attending the festivity. Two military bands alternated with Herr Strauss's orchestra, and reaped plentiful applause for the first-rate performance of the chosen pieces of music. However, Strauss's latest waltz, 'Lockvögel', formed the climax of the musical programme and, during the course of the evening, had to be played about ten times. Dance themes which are enticing, likewise piquant and well suited to the title, with original, highly effective instrumentation, constitute the backbone of this waltz fashioned in Ländler-style".

Rokonhangok Polka. Sympathienklänge. Polka (Tunes of Sympathy. Polka) op. 246
In its attempt to achieve a more stable political reorganisation of the ill-compacted Habsburg Empire, the Austrian government issued the 'October Diploma' (20 October 1860) which sought to provide a federal governmental system along constitutional lines. Widely rejected by the many nationalities it affected, it gave rise to an increase in tension which manifested itself at various levels. In Hungary, for example, Viennese music was for a time actually prohibited, while in Vienna itself, during the 1861 Carnival, national costumes were not permitted to be worn at the balls of the nobility.

Johann Strauss, recalling the debt of loyalty he owed to the minority nationalities resident in Vienna who had supported his early attempts to establish himself in the musical life of the capital, reacted spontaneously: for the Magyar Ball, held in the newly-reopened and refurbished Dianabad-Saal on 6 February 1861, he composed his Rokonhangok Polka (Sympathieklänge. Polka), which he dedicated "to the young Hungarians studying in Vienna". The polka's title and dedication appear in both the Hungarian and German languages on the cover of the first piano edition of the polka, as does the composer's name: STRAUSS JANOS/JOHANN STRAUSS.

Johann undertook eleven concert seasons in Pavlovsk, near St. Petersburg, and it was his custom to perform for the Russian public the novelties which he had composed for that year's Vienna Carnival, and upon his return home at the end of the season the Viennese would be treated to the new works which he had written for his audiences at Pavlovsk. Thus it was that the Rokonhangok Polka found a place in the opening concert at the Vauxhall Pavilion in Pavlovskon 26 May 1861 (= 14 May, Russian calender). The piece seems to have aroused little interest, however, and after a further seven performances was dropped from the programmes. In contrast, the most popular of Johann's 1861 Vienna Carnival creations, Perpetuum mobile (op. 257), was played no less than 67 times during the 149 public concerts given that year at Pavlovsk.

Gavotte der Königin (The Queen's Gavotte) op. 391
Although the Strauss family's five composers jointly produced more than 1,500 assorted dance pieces and marches, only two gavottes feature in their published output – Johann II's Gavotte der Königin, and the Rococo-Gavotte (op. 4) which Johann III (1866-1939) put together from themes in his only operetta, Katze und Maus (1898). The family's great musical rival, Carl Michael Ziehrer (1843-1922), wrote just five published gavottes, and one should perhaps regret that these light music composers did not create more examples in this genre, for the gracefulness of the dance-form lent itself ideally to their melodic inspiration.

Johann II's Gavotte der Königin was heard for the first time on 12 December 1880 when Eduard Strauss, the composer's brother, conducted it with the Strauss Orchestra at one of his popular Sunday concerts in the Vienna Musikverein. The piece was one of six separate orchestral numbers which Johann Strauss assembled from the score of his seventh stage work, Das Spitzentuch der Königin (The Queen's Lace Handkerchief), which had enjoyed an enthusiastic reception at its première in the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, on 1 October 1880. The part of 'The Queen' in this operetta, which was set largely at the court of Portugal in 1580, was played by the experienced Viennese-born actress/singer Karoline Tellheim (real name Bettelheim, 1842-1906), who had gained a name for herself performing soubrette rôles at the Vienna Court Opera from 1862 to 1872.

The thematic content of the Gavotte der Königin derives principally from the Allegretto moderato section of the Act 2 'Scene and Couplet' ("Um was sich's handelt, Euch ist bekanntes; es gilt Cervantes") for the Prime Minister, Don Sancho and chorus. The second theme of the Trio section, however, is untraceable in the published piano score of the operetta, and may have been based on material subsequently discarded from the final version of the stage work.

Jux-Brüder Walzer (Pranksters. Waltz) op. 208
Immediately after the 1858 Vienna Carnival, the capital lost two of its greatest entrepreneurs of entertainment – Ferdinand Dommayer (1799-1858) proprietor of Dommayer's Casino in the suburb of Hietzing, and Johann Georg Scherzer (1796-1858), owner for many years of the 'Sperl' dance hall in the suburb of Leopoldstadt. Through their enterprises, both men were closely associated with the Strauss family. In 1857, just before his death, Scherzer agreed the sale of the 'Sperl' to Franz Daum, proprietor of the 'Neue Elysium' entertainment venue, for the sum of 75,000 florins. Daum had plans for the Sperl, which since the mid-1840s had gradually found its pre-eminent position challenged by more imposing ballrooms such as the Odeon-Saal and Sofienbad-Saal. On 14 February 1858 the Wiener Theaterzeitung announced that Johann Strauss's benefit would take place the following day in the Leopoldstadt establishment, and would be given under the motto: "The last carnival Monday in the Old Sperl”. The newspaper continued: "This ball festivity will be the last in these halls which are devoted to joy and happiness, as from next autumn the entire buildings will pass into the ownership of Herr Daum, who will convert them in the Parisian style. So, with the Sperl, another piece of good old Vienna is lost!... So, on Carnival Monday let the watchword be: Sperl and Strauss!"

For this final ball in the 'old Sperl', which was also the last ball of the carnival season, Johann contributed a particularly attractive waltz in Ländler-style, which he entitled Jux-Brüder. It was his tenth composition for the 1858 Vienna Carnival. His brother Josef, who took it in turns with Johann to conduct the Strauss Orchestra on this particular evening, had written a further six new dance pieces for the carnival, but it was Jux-Brüder which found the greatest applause. The critic of the Wiener Theaterzeitung (17.02.1858) enthused: "This waltz sequence comprises genuine Viennese airs, so stylish and lively, so melodic and enticing, so full of extreme geniality like the character of the Viennese. The dancers, enraptured by these vigorous tunes – which are completely in keeping with the title – appeared to have changed into perpetual motion machines; no one was willing to leave the dance floor, no one was willing to leave his dancing partner, and once more Strauss had to take violin and bow in his hand and strike up 'Jux-Brüder'. During the course of the ball this waltz was certainly played a dozen times, each time provoking the same enthusiasm. 'Jux-Brüder' will ring out frequently, for it consists of melodies which are too lovely and fresh for anyone to tire of them quickly. It is said that: 'In the sweat of thy face shaft thou eat bread' [Genesis 3:19], and indeed, this saying applied to Strauss; countless beads of sweat rolled down his forehead and, almost bathed in sweat, he left the orchestra when 'Jux-Brüder' had rung out for the last time in that hall".

But if Jux-Brüder did not quite enjoy the longevity predicted for it by the critic of the Wiener Theaterzeitung, certain of its melodies (the entire Introduction and Waltz 4A) were to experience a new lease of life when, fourteen years later, Johann was to unite them with themes from his waltzes Die Jovialen (op. 34), Lava-Ströme (op. 74), Man lebt nur einmal! (op. 167), Vibrationen (op. 204) and Hofball-Tänze (op. 298) to create the Jubilee Waltz, a pastiche composition he assembled for his visit to the World's Peace Jubilee and International Musical Festival held in Boston, USA, during June and July 1872.

Licht und Schatten. Polka-Mazurka (Light and Shade. Polka-mazurka) op. 374
The polka-mazurka Licht und Schatten was one of six orchestral numbers which Johann Strauss arranged on melodies from his fourth operetta, Cagliostro in Wien [Première: Theater an der Wien, Vienna. 27 February 1875), a tale set in 1783 and concerning the activities in Vienna of the visiting real-life alchemist and imposter, Count Alessandro Cagliostro (1743-95). The new stage work created considerable interest, not least because it opened at a time when the attention of the Viennese was focused on the sensational trial of a speculator named Ofenheim, whom many viewed as a kind of "Cagliostro of the period of promoterism", because he had constructed railway lines without really knowing anything about the subject.

Licht und Schatten was featured on the programme of music played by the Strauss Orchestra under the composer's brother, Eduard, at his Sunday concert in the Musikverein, Vienna, on 17 October 1875. Its description as merely "new", however, clearly indicates that the first performance must have taken place at least one week earlier. The suggestion by one Strauss musicologist that the polka's première was heard in the Musikverein on 10 October must be discounted, however, since the building did not reopen for the new season until 17 October. There is speculation, too, surrounding the circumstances of Johann's "most amiable" dedication of the polka "to the disciple of the Arts, Fräulein Marianne Preindelsberger" – a budding young actress of whom virtually nothing is known, except that she did not emerge in the cultural life of Vienna and, shortly after the polka's appearance, seems to have abandoned her calling and retired into private life. The choice of title doubtless alludes to the bright and darker sides of the acting profession, though exactly how Strauss made Fräulein Preindelsberger's acquaintance, and why he should have honoured her with a dedication, remain a mystery. Where the ladies were concerned, Johann was always discreet...

The thematic material for Licht und Schatten is drawn entirely from Act 2, the polka's main section (1A and 1B) being found in the 'Romanze' and the Trio section (2A and 2B) in the Finale.

Sinnen und Minnen. Walzer (Musing and Loving. Waltz) op. 435
The waltz Sinnen und Minnen belongs to that series of great independent master waltzes which Johann Strauss created in the years 1888 to 1891 during which he toiled and suffered over Ritter Pásmán, his misguided and ill-fated sortie into the realm of grand opera which received its première in the hallowed surroundings of the Vienna Hofoperntheater (Court Opera Theatre) on New Year's Day 1892. In his review of Ritter Pásmán, the influential Viennese critic Eduard Hanslick highlighted the Act 3 ballet music as "by far the brightest crown-jewel in this score", noting that with it the composer "suddenly seems to grow wings, and with youthful strength and joyfulness he soars into the air; libretto and poet vanish from his sight – now I alone am master!" Hanslick's remarks also hold true of the cluster of waltzes which Johann, freed from the constraints of a genre unfamiliar to him, produced during the Pásmán years – Kaiser Jubiläum op. 434, Sinnen und Minnen op. 435, Kaiser-Walzer op. 437, Rathaus-Ball-Tänze op. 438 and Gross-Wien op. 440.

The firm of Alwin Cranz published the first piano edition of Sinnen und Minnen (together with Johann's Auf zum Tanze! Schnell-Polka op. 436) on 24 October 1888. The waltz took its title from a volume of poems, Sinnen und Minnen. Ein Liederbuch (Musing and Loving. A Book of Songs), by the Austrian poet Robert Hamerling (1830-89), published in Prague in 1860. Johann's composition bore the "respectful" dedication "to her Majesty, the Queen Elisabeth of Rumania" (1843-1916), née Princess Elisabeth of Wied, the wife of King Carol of Rumania. Under the pseudonym of Carmen Sylva, Elisabeth wrote a good deal of poetry as well as texts to songs, such as Schubert's "Das Mägdlein und der Tod" and Liszt's "Waldesrauschen", while her keen cultural interest in Rumanian poetry and folklore led her to collect and edit many of that country's legends. After an eye illness deprived her of her sight, she had a huge orphanage and a home for the blind built on land adjoining her palace at Cotroceni.

Sinnen und Minnen was heard for the first time on 21 October 1888 at Eduard Strauss's Sunday concert opening the 1888/89 season at the Musikverein in Vienna. The new waltz, which Eduard conducted at the head of the Strauss Orchestra, took its place on the programme alongside seven other works which were enjoying their première, including Johann's quick polka Auf zum Tanze! op. 436 (Volume 20), Eduard's Aus den schlesischen Bergen, Polka-Mazur op. 260 and Eduard's own orchestral arrangement of Mendelssohn's choral An die Künstler, besides works by Schubert, Delibes and Charles Oberthür. In the course of its announcement of Johann Strauss's intention to conduct at a forthcoming function organised by the Vienna Men's Choral Association, the Neue Freie Presse (28.10.1888) remarked on the previous week's first performance of Sinnen und Minnen, noting that the new work "found such an uproarious reception that it had to be repeated three times".

So ängstlich sind wir nicht! Schnell-Polka/Galopp (We're not that worried! Quick polka/Galop) op. 413
The librettist team of F. Zell and Richard Genée initially faced a charge of plagiarism when it was revealed that the book they had offered Johann Strauss as subject material for his next operetta, Venezianische Nächte (Venetian Nights) – later renamed Eine Nacht in Venedig (A Night in Venice) – was poached from that of Château Trompette (1860), a comic opera produced at the Paris Opéra-Comique, with music by François Gevaert and book by Jules Cormon and Michel Carré. Eventually the matter was resolved and the credits on the playbill of the new Strauss stage work read: "With free use of a French subject". Yet this contretemps was only one of a catalogue of upsets which was to beset Eine Nacht in Venedig. Since Strauss's second wife, Angelika, had enjoyed an adulterous affair with Franz Steiner, director of the Theater an der Wien where the new work should have received its première, Johann understandably insisted on another venue for the opening night of his operetta. This duly took place at the Neues Friedrich-Wilhelmstädtisches Theater in Berlin on 3 October 1883, but such was the outright condemnation of the work by certain sections of the German press that hasty and often fundamental revisions to the score and libretto had to be undertaken before the triumphant Viennese première of Eine Nacht in Venedig on 9 October.

One of the numbers which was excised from the score, apparently even before the German première, was an Act 3 duet (with ladies' chorus) for the fisher-girl Annina and Agricola, wife of Senator Barbaruccio. Despite his seemingly inexhaustible well of musical inspiration, Strauss was always loathe to discard usable material, and part of this duet ("Lustig schwingt den Schellenstab") was to live on as the second theme in the Trio section of his quick polka So ängstlich sind wir nicht!, based on melodies from Eine Nacht in Venedig. The orchestral polka takes its title, and the music for the first section of the Trio, from the refrain of the Act 2 Couplet (No. 8a) sung in the operetta by Agricola, Centurio, the Duke of Urbino and chorus of senators' wives. In this fast-paced and highly effective vocal number the wives ignore their husbands' warnings about the lecherous Duke of Urbino, who is making his annual carnival-time visit to Venice; the worldly-wise Agricola, unfearing of the libidinous intentions of any man, leads the other wives in "So ängstlich sind wir nicht". These other, younger, women are not quite so confident, but nevertheless sing on bravely with "Nein, nein!" (No, no!). The entire main section of the polka derives from Pappacoda's Act 1 aria (No.1), "Ihr habet euren Markusplatz".

Strauss arranged a total of six orchestral dances on themes from Eine Nacht in Venedig, but only two of them – the Lagunen-Walzer op. 411 (Volume 8) and the Quadrille (op. 416) – were given their first performances by the Strauss Orchestra. The Viennese public were introduced to the remaining items, including the polka So ängstlich sind wir nicht!, at the concerts of the numerous military bands which played throughout the capital. While these dance pieces were issued by Johann's publisher in December 1883, it is possible that the military bandmasters prepared their own arrangements from the published piano scores. It need scarcely be added that So ängstlich sind wir nicht! also proved a frequent and popular accompaniment to the couples whirling around the dance floors of Vienna during the 1884 Carnival!

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)
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 several successful volumes to the complete compact disc Johann Strauss II and for Naxos has recorded a varied repertoire.

Alfred Walter

Alfred Waller was born in Southern Bohemia in 1929 of Austrian parents. He studied at the University of Graz and in 1948 was appointed assistant conductor to the Opera of Ravensburg. At the age of 22 he became conductor of the Graz Opera, where he continued until 1965, while serving at Bayreuth as assistant to Hans Knappertsbusch and Karl Böhm. From 1966 until 1969 he was Principal Conductor of the Durban Symphony Orchestra in South Africa, followed by a period of 15 years as General Director of Music in Münster. In Vienna he has worked as guest conductor at the State Opera and in 1986 was given the title of Professor by the Austrian Government. In 1980 he was awarded the Golden Medal of the International Gustav Mahler Society.

Close the window