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8.223226 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 26
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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.

Elektrofor-Polka schnell (Electrophorus. Quick polka) op. 297
The nineteenth century witnessed a flood of new developments and applications for electricity as an important new energy source. One need cite only a few examples: the first electric lamp of practical utility was developed by the Scottish scientist, James Bowman Lindsay, whose first successful experiment was described in 1835 – though not until 1 September 1879 was a ballroom lit entirely by electricity, the occasion being the Milford Dock Company's engineers' dance at the Lord Nelson Hotel, Milford Haven, in Wales. In 1837, the first electric motor capable of practical application was patented by Thomas Davenport of Vermont, USA, while the first electric power-station providing current for both public and domestic use began operating at Godalming, England, in 1881.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the subject of electricity is a recurring theme in the titles of the Strauss family's musical compositions: Johann the Elder's waltz Elektrische Funken op. 125 (Electric Sparks, 1840); Johann the Younger's Elektro-magnetische Polka op. 110 (Electro-magnetic Polka, 1852) and Eduard's Electrisch, Polka schnell op. (1895). To this list also belongs the younger Johann's Elektrofor-Polka schnell, which he dedicated to the technical students at Vienna University on the occasion of their ball in the Dianabad-Saal on St. Valentine's Day 1865. Although around 1865 the 'k.k. Hofball-Musikdirektor' (Director of Music for the Imperial-Royal Court Balls) Johann Strauss had become rather selective and was happy to leave it to his brothers, Josef and Eduard, to compose the waltzes and polkas for the various dance festivities, which for the most part they also conducted, for the technical students and the journalists (Feuilleton-Walzer op. 293) that year he took it upon himself to present his dedication compositions personally. Elektrofor was one of nineteen novelties with which the three Strauss brothers enlivened the 1865 Vienna Carnival, and almost every piece became a resounding 'hit'. Johann also featured the polka in the programmes of his concert season in Pavlovsk that summer, and it was published by Büttner in St. Petersburg under the title Electrique-Polka op. 297.

Johann derived the title of his highly-charged quick polka from the electrophorus, an electrical device for charging a conductor by induction and thereby generating static electricity. The apparatus was invented in 1775 by the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), after whom the unit of electrical potential – the volt – is named.

Sinngedichte Walzer (Epigrams Waltz) op. 1
One can scarcely imagine today the excitement and intrigue which must have greeted the first press reports in the Austrian capital that Johann Strauss junior, the unknown son of Europe's most celebrated dance music composer and conductor, was to make his public musical début with his own orchestra on 15 October 1844 at a "Soirée dansante", and moreover that the event was to be held at one of his father's regular venues – Dommayer's Casino. After obtaining permission from the Vienna municipal council on 5 September 1844 to his request to "perform with an orchestra of twelve to fifteen players in restaurants and, indeed, at Dommayer's in Hietzing, who has already assured me that I can hold musical entertainments there as soon as my orchestra is in order", the 18-year-old youngster assembled his instrumentalists from the work-hungry players who thronged Vienna's 'musicians' exchange', the tavern 'Zur Stadt Belgrad' in the suburb of Josefstadt. The first announcement of the younger Johann's intentions had appeared in the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung on 2 October 1844 under the heading: "Quick, what's new in Vienna? A new Capellmeister Strauss" – the term 'Capellmeister' referring to a conductor in charge of his own orchestra. The paper ended its report: "One will be able to hear five [sic!] new compositions by him: we expect very much of this young man, and the public will certainly bestow upon the son just as much favour as it has for years granted his father". The sentiment of "good luck!" was echoed in many journals, although the elder Johann's reaction to this blatant act of filial defiance can merely be surmised – he had forbidden his sons to pursue a musical career and intended that his eldest should join a bank. Unlike his wife, he did not attend Johann's début at Dommayer's, and if the son's actions took him by surprise, he must surely have been left wondering if some divine intervention had guided his choice, just a month earlier, of the title for his latest waltz: Geheimnisse aus der Wiener Tanzwelt (Secrets from the Viennese Dance World) op. 176.

With actual dancing ruled out by the sheer numbers of people clamouring for admission to Dommayer's elegant, if small (it accommodated around 600 persons), premises for the younger Johann's début on 15 October, the "Soirée dansante" in reality took the form of a straight orchestral concert. While naturally there was interest in the youngster's interpretations of works by his father, Auber, Suppé, and Meyerbeer, it was his own compositions which the audience wanted most to hear. They were not disappointed, and each of the four works written especially for the occasion excited genuinely enthusiastic and tumultuous applause. Johann's publisher, Pietro Mechetti, subsequently allotted opus numbers to the four pieces in reverse order to that in which the works were introduced at the début: Gunst-Werber Walzer op. 4, Herzenslust Polka op. 3, Debut-Quadrille op. 2 and Sinngedichte Walzer op. 1.

The critic of Der Sammler (17.10.1844) observed of the evening: "The waltz genius of Herr Strauss Father has paid a visit to Herr Strauss Son. There were again genuine fresh waltzes drawn from the spring of merriment; there was again fresh, invigorating, challenging melody, resonance and strength of sound. It was an evening full of enjoyment and at the same time an evening full of agony for a pair of dance-loving feet. Tantalus with all his torments is certainly a veritable English lord of comfort alongside two such waltz feet with their unending torture. To stand by and listen to such waltzes as 'Gunstwerber' and 'Sinngedichte', and not to dance, was certainly more of a sacrifice than that of Mutius Scaevola for his homeland. But the public took its revenge on Herr Strauss junior, for he had to repeat all his numbers...". For Der Wanderer (19.10.1844), Dr Franz Wiest reported: "Not that the two waltzes which Strauss Son performed before us today, 'Gunstwerber' and 'Sinngedichte', distinguished themselves by their inspired originality of thought, but they vibrate with that rhythmical flourish and they glow with that characteristic Viennese light heartedness which, with the exception of Strauss Father, no living waltz composer can create. They sang along with the first waltz [section] of ‘Sinngedichte’; tomorrow the organ-grinders will have it, and the day after tomorrow Strauss Son will live on the lips of the people...I have wondered at the remarkable endurance of the physical strength of this young man! Almost every piece of music was repeated twice, and he played the waltz 'Sinngedichte' six times in a row amid the loud cheers of the crowd!...At twelve o'clock I left the still-crowded rooms of Dommayer's; Strauss Son was playing 'Sinngedichte' for the 19th time". Wiest closed his lengthy review of the Dommayer's concert with the words that have long since passed into Viennese musical history: "Good night Lanner! Good evening Strauss Father! Good morning Strauss Son!"

L'enfantillage. Zäpperl-Polka (Child's-play. Polka) op. 202
The playful mood invoked by the title of this polka is delightfully portrayed by Wilhelm Tatzelt in his engraving for the title page of the first piano edition: a rural setting depicts children in various childhood activities – while one child plays with its dolls, another pets her dog, and three young boys scrimp for apples, their schoolbooks tossed aside.

On 8 January 1858 Die Presse announced the titles of some of the new dances which Johann Strauss had written and would present at that year's Vienna Carnival, amongst them the polka française L'enfantillage which the composer intended for the "Crêche Ball". This charity event, the second of its kind in aid of Vienna's day nurseries, took place in the Sofienbad-Saal on 25 January 1858. The polka proved immensely popular from the outset, drawing particular commendation from the reviewer of the Wiener Theaterzeitung (28.01.1858): "Johann Strauss's latest polka ‘Enfantillage’...is one of the most charming compositions and excited among the dance-loving world the same furore as the ‘Annen’-Polka in its time [op. 117, 1852]. At the Jurists' Ball and at the Poor Ball in the Sperl Strauss had to repeat this highly original and piquantly instrumented polka more than half a dozen times. Strauss never tired of playing it and the dancers became all the more lively. The polka is one of the most successful pieces to have been presented in the ballroom for years and will have to be played often during this carnival, for the lovers of dancing will only want to move to the melodies of 'Enfantillage'". The reporter for the Wiener Kurier went even further in his praise for the new work, considering it "a piece of music which can confidently be placed alongside the compositions of Schumann and Chopin in the tenderness, sweetness and simplicity of its themes, as well as in the tastefulness of its treatment". The new polka was issued by Carl Haslinger's publishing house less than a month after its première, on 18 February.

The designation "Zäpperl-Polka" (or "Zepperl-Polka") denoted a fashionable Austrian variant of the Polka française (French polka), which made special demands of the dancers: as Dr Fr. S. Hügel described the verb 'zepperln' in his lexicon of Viennese vernacular, Der Wiener Dialekt (1873): "To move with short steps (like elderly people)" – or, in the case of L'enfantillage, like those of small children.

An interesting postscript arises out of a quotation of four bars from this polka which Johann Strauss ("Jean") wrote on an album leaf on 4 April 1861 with the inscription: "L'enfantillage dedicated to my sister-in-law Caroline Strauss". Johann had in fact courted Caroline (1831-1900) before her marriage in 1857 to his brother Josef, and this dedication points to the bachelor Johann's acceptance of Caroline's commitment to her husband and to her 3-year-old daughter Karoline Anna.

Industrie-Quadrille (Industry Quadrille) op. 35
In the early years of his musical activity the younger Johann Strauss sought artistic success beyond the immediate environs of his native Vienna and undertook excursions and short concert tours to other regions of the Habsburg Empire. In 1846, for example, visits to Ungarisch-Altenburg and Pest-Ofen (from 1872 known as Budapest) proved especially successful, while an appearance at the Redoutensaal in Baden-bei-Wien early the following year reaped further artistic and financial rewards for the young 'Musikdirektor'. In its edition of 6 February 1847 the Viennese journal Gegenwart remarked upon this latter visit to the famous spa town situated some 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of Vienna:

"The soirée dansante, mentioned in our paper, took place under the name 'INDUSTRIE REUNION' on Saturday 30 January in Baden, and was attended by a society that was both numerous and very select in terms of merit and social standing. Herr Strauss Son and his excellent orchestra played for the first time a new quadrille, entitled 'Industrie-Quadrille', which pleased so much that it had to be repeated several times. The general prevailing mood of the participants lasted throughout the lengthy duration of the soirée dansante, and brought about the wish that this reunion should be followed by many more such happy assemblies".

The jaunty Industrie-Quadrille, one of a batch of six new works by Johann to be issued on 18 November 1847 by the publisher H.F. Müller, met with success and sold well. Yet the first piano edition of the Industrie-Quadrille reveals nothing of the festive event for which the piece had been written, and merely presents a ballroom scene as an almost insignificant background to a stylised view of the ornate interior of Baden's Redoutensaal (1798-1908) building. It is left to a second piano edition of the quadrille to redress the earlier omission, though not without introducing a factual error: above the baroque architecture of the ballroom the artist has added the dedication: "To the Committee of the Industrial Ball which took place on 27 January[sic!] in Baden".

In the absence of Strauss's original, the orchestration for this present recording was made by the late Professor Ludwig Babinski.

Juristen-Ball-Tänze (Jurists' Ball Dances) op. 177
Anecdotes concerning the younger Johann Strauss are legion, and amongst them are many chronicling his remarkable facility for composition. The author Ludwig Eisenberg (1858-1910) related several such stories – many admittedly apocryphal – in his work, Johann Strauss: Ein Lebensbild (1894), the first biography devoted to the 'Waltz King'. Often, Eisenberg's narrative is the very stuff of Hollywood: "Many a charming dance piece was only committed to the staves from a champagne-spinning head and with a weary hand in the early morning after returning home from the ball. Strauss always composed at breakneck speed and wherever it was required. Often during the frantically busy, but at no time carelessly rushed, creative period of the Maestro, dances came into being which he jotted down in barely an hour after being awake all night fortified and refreshed only by a cup of black coffee and which, created in just this hasty manner, were an enormous success with the public. Among such dances is the well known 'Juristenballtänze' op. 177, which Strauss gave to the world in a manner similar to that described between 7 and 8 o'clock in the morning, with tired limbs, dull eyes, shaking hands, but always a fresh spirit. This, like all his dance compositions, was orchestrated at once. As the music expert can hear straight away in his waltzes, the instrumentation in which his uniqueness expresses itself with special clarity came into being at the same time as the melody".

Juristen-Ball-Tänze was Johann's waltz dedication for "The Gentlemen Students of Law at Vienna University" on the occasion of their ball held on 14 January 1856 in the Sofienbad-Saal. The annual 'Juristen-Ball' had long since established itself as one of the most outstanding festivities of the Carnival season, attracting the elite of Society. The reporter for the Fremdenblatt (16.01.1856) wrote of the entertainment: "This year the Jurists' Ball surpassed its predecessors of past years in the splendour of its decoration. The room was draped in the most tasteful manner and enclosed on both sides as if by little gardens from which charming cupid statues gazed forth on the merry throng ... Herr Strauss conducted the music and received abundant applause with his new 'Juristen-Tänze'". Der Wanderer (17.01.1856) expressed a similarly view: "We can only report most favourably on the Jurists' Ball which took place last Monday in the Sofienbad-Saal. The very many pre-eminent dignitaries and notable persons from the aristocracy etc. who were present further enhanced the splendour of the ball festivity. Strauss's latest waltz, Juristen-Ball-Tänze, is just as spirited and compelling as its predecessors".

The waltz Juristen-Ball-Tänze proved by far the most popular of Johann's compositions played that year at the Vauxhall Pavilion in Pavlovsk during his debut concert season in Russia: at the opening concert on 18 May (= 6 May, Russian calendar) – which lasted from 7.45pm until 12.45am – it was heard four times, and during the entire five-month engagement Strauss conducted the work at concerts on no less than 139 occasions. As the St. Petersburg reporter for the Wiener Theaterzeitung (5.09.1856) noted: "Of his dances, the 'Juristenball-Tänze' and the 'Sanssouci-Polka' always make the greatest impression. They alone have the magical power to attract the listeners to the Danube-encircled capital, to the Sperl and into the Volksgarten". Thirty years later, on 15 March 1886, when Johann was preparing for his final concert visit to Russia, he w rote to the doughty custodian of the Strauss musical archives, his brother Eduard, requesting the orchestral material for fifteen items. Perhaps recalling the immense success enjoyed by the waltz three decades earlier, Johann commenced his list with the Juristen-Ball-Tänze.

Though nowadays not among the most frequently played of Strauss's waltzes, Juristen-Ball-Tänze may not be entirely unfamiliar to listeners, since its Introduction (with minor changes) features in the score of the Antal Dorati ballet pastiche Graduation Ball (1940), where it may be heard in the scene entitled 'The Arrival of the Gadets' (Allegro marziale).

Gut bürgerlich. Polka française (Respectable Citizenry. French polka) op. 282
Amid the extensive press coverage of balls and other entertainments usual during a Vienna Carnival, Der Zwischenakt for 13 January 1864 carried a brief announcement which, in time, was to have major significance for the future of Viennese musical theatre: "Hofball-Musikdirektor Johann Strauss is busy with the composition of a one-act comic operetta, for which purpose a locally-renowned author has furnished him with the text". Though never completed, this fledgling attempt at composition for the stage was Johann's first tentative step on the path which eventually lead to the mounting of his first operetta, Indigo und die vierzig Räuber (Indigo and the Forty Thieves, 1871), and the fifteen other stage works that were to follow in its wake.

Perhaps because of his preoccupation with this operetta in early 1864, Johann's contributions for that year's Vienna Carnival were limited to two waltzes and four polkas. Indeed the Committee of the Citizens' Ball had to be satisfied with the dedication of a French polka, Gut bürgerlich, instead of the waltz which they had anticipated for their grand festivity held on 26 January in the magnificent surroundings of the Imperial Redoutensaal. Yet this engaging number attracted no press comment either at its première or at its first public performance on 14 February in the Volksgarten, alongside 17 other novelties composed by the three Strauss brothers, at the Strauss Orchestra's 'Carnival Revue' which was held as a benefit concert for Josef and Eduard Strauss. On both of these occasions Gut bürgerlich was conducted by its composer. The new polka fared scarcely better before Russian audiences when Johann included it in his concert programmes at the Vauxhall Pavilion in Pavlovsk that year: the five-month season saw just 17 performances of the work, the first on 9 May 1864 (= 27 April, Russian calendar), compared with 65 performances of that year's most popular number – the Persischer Marsch (op. 289, Volume 22 of this CD series). The polka Gut bürgerlich was subsequently issued by Johann's Russian publisher, A. Büttner, under the amended title La sérieuse, Polka (The Serious Lady, Polka).

The principal melody of the Gut bürgerlich, Polka was to find more lasting success thirty-five years later as part of the score of the posthumous Johann Strauss pastiche operetta Wiener Blut (1899), where it may be heard in the Act 2 (No. 7) duet for the Count and Countess, sung to the words "Ich war ein echtes Wiener Blut" (I was born a true red blooded Viennese).

Sofien-Quadrille (Sophie Quadrille) op. 75
One of the most fascinating entrepreneurs in the social life of 19th-century Vienna was Franz Morawetz (1789-1868), the san of a Jewish businessman, who left his native Bohemia and settled in Vienna in 1826. He successfully introduced the principle of the sauna to the Austrian capital by constructing a steam bath and cold swimming pool side by side, a treatment soon recommended by the medical profession for rheumatic complaints. Morawetz's future became assured when his baths restored health to a seriously ailing lady's maid in the employ of the Archduchess Sophie Friederike (1805-1872), mother of the future Emperor Franz Josef. When, on 14 January 1838, Morawetz opened new premises in the Marxergasse (in Vienna's Landstrasse suburb), he named his building the 'Saphien-Bad' after the Archduchess. In 1844 Morawetz, by this time completely blind, acted as 'Local Director' to a joint stock company to whom he transferred plans for modification of the large central hall of the Sophien-Bad into an indoor swimming pool which could be covered over to create a dance hall during the winter months. The future architects of the Carl-Theater and Vienna Court Opera (now the Staatsoper) buildings, Eduard van der Nüll and August Sicard von Sicardsburg, provided plans for the construction of the new premises, which began under Messrs. Gerl and Straberger in March 1845. When it opened on 21 January 1846, with a ball conducted by the elder Johann Strauss and his orchestra of 40 players, the 'Safienbad-Saal' boasted among its attractions an excellent ventilation system and brillant gaslit illumination throughout. On 15 January 1846 the Vienna Theaterzeitung published an article entitled "The New Sophienbad-Saal", during the course of which its author, F.C. Weidmann, observed: "The public entertainment premises of the vivacious Imperial city will this year receive a splendid addition through the opening of the newly rebuilt Sophienbad-Saal on the 20th or 21st of this month. Already the name that this establishment bears is capable of affording it the most favourable prediction for the future... With this project the management of the Sophienbad Joint Stock Company has called upon all the resources at its disposal to provide a pieasant, worthy rendezvous for the social pleasures of the Imperial city, and we believe that the Sophienbad-Saal will achieve a power of attraction in keeping with the beauty and solidity of its construction, the elegance of its decoration and splendour of its appointments, and will famously confirm its position as one of the most excellent establishments of this type".

During carnival time the Sofienbad-Saal – which still exists, and has recently been converted into an hotel and conference centre – became a focal point for the citizens of Vienna and the venue for major social events. Within its sumptuous interior were held, for example, the balls of the Wiener Männergesang-Verein (The Vienna Men's Choral Association), the Vienna Journalists' and Authors' Association ('Concordia') and those of the law and technical faculties at Vienna University. While his father lived, the younger Johann Strauss was precluded from conducting at the Sofienbad-Saal; however, he was able to make his début there during the very first carnival following the elder Johann's death in September 1849. The 'Carnival Calendar of the Sofienbad-Saal for the year 1850' announces: "Kapellmeister J. Strauss has taken over the musical direction of the former Strauss Orchestra", and advertises no less than fifteen major ball festivities during the period 13 January to 11 February inclusive. On 12 January 1850 the Ost-Deutsche Post proclaimed: "The Fasching. The Carnival! It begins tomorrow in the Sophienbad-Saal". The building had recently seen further alterations, a point noted by the Wiener Zeitung (12.01.1850): "The splendid Sophienbad-Saal has undergone a new, magnificent transformation and will open on the 13th of this month with a so-called 'National Ball' for lovers of cheerfulness. Johann Strauss will direct the music". The following day the paper elaborated: "Today at the opening ... Herr Kapellmeister Johann Strauss will personally conduct the music for the ball and will perform a special composition of his own, entitled 'Sofien-Quadrille"'.

On 31 January 1850 Der Wanderer referred to the many balls which had taken place in the Sofienbad-Saal since it had reopened, and spoke enthusiastically of Johann Strauss and his orchestra. It declared: "Of the new compositions we must name the 'Sofien-Quadrille' as the most successful".

In the absence of Strauss's original, the orchestration for this present recording was made by the late Professor Ludwig Babinski.

Künstler-Leben. Walzer (Artist's Life Waltz) op. 316
Like the waltz An der schönen blauen Donau (By the beautiful blue Danube) op. 314, the waltz Künstler-Leben belongs to the dance music of 1867 which had the almost impossible task of injecting an element of gaiety and joie de vivre into that year's Vienna Carnival, and Viennese life in general, following the crippling shock of events during summer 1866 when Austria was overthrown by Prussian military supremacy at the Battle of Königgrätz. Many of the capital's grand 'Representation Balls' organised by the major professions and associations were cancelled, and the prevailing mood at those which did take place was, at least to begin with, lacklustre. As the chronicler of the Wiener Zeitung wrote at that time: "Nowadays, nobody steps on to the smoothly polished parquet of the dance hall in a bright, witty or jocular frame of mind; everyone merely hopes to find the like there".

The three Strauss brothers summoned their full creative powers in order to conjure up that immense jollity which, in happier times, had arisen spontaneously during carnival-time. They succeeded beyond all expectation – especially so in the case of Johann and Josef – by crafting a whole series of masterworks which re-awoke in the Viennese their lust for living. The waltz Künstler-Leben, which Johann Strauss himself conducted for the first time at the 'Hesperus' Ball in the Dianabad-Saal on 18 February 1867 – just three nights after the première of An der schönen blauen Donau in the same venue – was dedicated to the ball's organising committee, and paid homage to all those sculptors, painters, poets, authors, performers and musicians who had helped Vienna on its rise to prominence. The Vienna Artists' Association, 'Hesperus', to which belonged numerous renowned actors, singers, members of the great Viennese orchestras and choral associations as well as the leading writers of the age and, not least, all three Strauss brothers, only existed for a short time. Founded in 1859, this strictly apolitical gathering soon secured its place in Austria's musical life simply because Johann, Josef and Eduard Strauss showered its annual ball festivities with a cornucopia of delightful dance compositions. The sequence began with Johann's Hesperus-Polka op. 249, written for the modest first ball of the Society in 1861, and ended with Josef's waltz Hesperus-Klänge op. 279 for what proved to be the Society's last ball in 1870. Johann's waltz Künstler-Leben occupies a central position in this group of compositions. It was sketched out in the late autumn of 1866, at about the same time as An der schönen blauen Donau, and even contemporaries regarded Künstler-Leben as the "distinguished" twin of the popular Donauwalzer (Danube Waltz). At the time of the 1867 'Hesperus' Ball (to which Josef Strauss contributed the Jocus-Polka schnell op. 216 and Eduard the Apollo Polka française op. 25) it had already become a tradition that dance compositions written especially for such events by the Strauss brothers would first be played in a concert performance, usually during the interval, permitting the guests to listen attentively to the new work. Such pieces would be repeated later during the course of the ball, and only then would they be played for dancing. Thus it was with Künstler-Leben, whose ingenious Introduction belongs to the very best inspirations of its composer.

Künstler-Leben at once established itself as a masterpiece of the 1867 Vienna Carnival, and when Strauss travelled to Paris at the end of May to commence a series of concerts, his wife, Jetty, who accompanied him, was able to enthuse in a letter to a friend in Vienna on 15 June about her husband's triumph in the French capital: "Jean [Johann] plays all the favourite pieces now, and I couldn't tell you which please the most. The 'Donau', 'Morgenbl[ätter] " 'Künstlerl[eben]', 'Wienerbonbons', 'Bürgerweisen', ditto – 'Sinn', 'Flugschrift[en]', 'Carneval-Botsch[after]', 'Nachtfalter', these are already hits. 'Kaiserstadt', 'Prozess', 'Parforce', 'Annen' – 'Maskenzug', 'train de plaisir', 'Tritsch[-Tratsch]' – one pleases more than the other. They are simply crazy for this Viennese music".

Louischen Polka française (Little Louise. French polka) op. 339
After a gap of four years, Johann Strauss returned to Russia in 1869 for what was to prove his eleventh, and penultimate, concert visit to that country. He was accompanied on this occasion not only by his wife, Jetty, but also by his brother Josef, whom he hoped would sufficiently establish himself with the audiences at Pavlovsk to secure him lucrative future summer seasons there. In the event these hopes were to be dashed, for the organisers of the concerts, the management of the Tsarskoye-Selo Railway Company of St. Petersburg, had already decided on a change and had engaged the Prussian conductor Benjamin Bilse for the following summer.

The 1869 season did not begin auspiciously. Apart from problems with the accommodation, Johann had overlooked the twelve day time difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars – as Josef notified his wife in Vienna on 2 May (= 20 April. Russian calendar): "Jean [Johann] has suffered a grievous loss through his mistake over the date. The musicians all arrived about 14 days early; he had to compensate them and to this end sacrifice 700 rubels. He had to buy every tiny instrument, such as triangle, drumsticks etc. etc. down to the smallest thing. As a result 1700 rubels went on that". Despite these early tribulations, the concert series began as scheduled on 9 May (= 27 April) and met with enormous success. Jetty was able to write to her husband's friend, the agent Gustav Lewy, on 25 June (= 13 June): "The orchestra. 47 men strong, is so magnificent that it would be a sin if it were known only to the Russians. You cannot imagine this precision, finesse, elegance and power!".

The Strauss brothers shared the conducting of the 1869 Russian concert season – Johann had stipulated this as a term of his contract with the railway management – and naturally both wrote new compositions especially for their audiences there. Two of these works were given their first performance at the orchestra's first benefit concert which took place on 22 September (= 10 September) in the recently enlarged concert hall of the Vauxhall Pavilion in Pavlovsk. Although poor weather resulted in the event being less well attended than would have otherwise been the case, Josef justifiably caused a sensation with his rousing quick polka Ohne Sorgen! (op. 271 ). By contrast, Johann's offering was a French polka to which he had given a Russian title: Nitschewo (Nothing). Although encored, as was Ohne Sorgen!, Johann's dance appealed to the public more because of its name than because of its melody, and during the remaining eighteen days of the season it was programmed on only two more occasions. (An announcement later published in the programme of the first Viennese performance of the polka, that the work "was composed for the farewell concert [10 October/28 September] in St. Petersburg", is therefore incorrect).

Although Strauss's publisher in St. Petersburg, A. Büttner, issued the piece under its original title – Nitschewo Polka – the work was one of several which was rechristened for Viennese audiences. Accordingly, the polka which Eduard Strauss and the Strauss Orchestra presented in the crowded Musikverein on Sunday 29 January 1871 was identical to the Nitschewo Polka, but bore a different name: the Louischen-Polka. Now, while the new title may have been more readily understood by audiences in the Austrian capital, it poses a question regarding the identity of 'Little Louise'. But the 45-year-old Johann kept silent...

The opening theme of the Trio section of the Louischen-Polka was later to find a place in the posthumous Johann Strauss pastiche operetta Wiener Blut (1899), where it provides the third melody of Josef's Act 1 entrance aria, "Anna! Anna! Anna! Ich such' jetzt da".

Es war so wunderschön. Marsch (It was so wonderful. March) op. 467
Vienna's musical life witnessed an innovation on 13 March 1870 when "Josef and Eduard Strauss, with the assistance of Johann Strauss" (as the advertisement read) organised their first Sunday afternoon concert in the 'Goldene Saal' (Golden Hall) of the recently-opened Musikverein building – the new home of the illustrious Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of the Friends of Music). There had been many voices raised against the appearance of the Strauss brothers in the Musikverein, for it was somehow felt that the playing of dance music in such surroundings was a 'desecration' of the house. Despite this, the concert was oversubscribed and the widespread recognition of its artistic excellence led to the Strauss Orchestra presenting regular Sunday concerts in the hall. These were to continue for a full thirty years.

With Josef Strauss's untimely death in July 1870 and Johann's increasing preoccupation with the composition of operetta, charge of the Strauss Orchestra passed to Eduard. He it was who conducted the Sunday afternoon concerts in the Musikverein, which included the first performances of many of Johann's orchestral dances and marches based on his stage works. Such was the case with the separate numbers which Johann assembled from the score of his fourteenth operetta, Waldmeister (Woodruff), which had enjoyed its successful première at the Theater an der Wien on 4 Decernber 1895. Five of the six orchestral pieces crafted from its melodies were heard for the first time at Eduard's Sunday concerts, amongst them the stirring march Es war so wunderschön. The new work featured as the final item on the programme of the Strauss Orchestra's concert on 15 March 1896 – coincidentally, Eduard's sixty-first birthday – simply entitled: March from the operetta 'Waldmeister'.

The march 'Es war so wunderschön' derives its title from the refrain ("Und doch, und doch, es war so wunderschön") of Tymoleon's Act 3 (No. 12) aria, "Die ganze Nacht durchschwärmt" (Make an entire night of it), and this song also provides the thematic source for the first and second themes of the orchestral march. The material for the two sections of the Trio is drawn respectively from Pauline's "Ja, gewiss, ich rühme mich" in the Act 2 Finale (No. 14) and the final section ("Nu hören Se, nu sehen Se") of the Act 1 couplet (No. 3) for the dialect-speaking Saxon Professor of Music, Erasmus Müller – a rôle victoriously created at the première by the great Alexander Girardi.

Notwithstanding the fact that Johann Strauss's greatest theatrical successes had consistently been with light, melodic operettas, the composer himself longed to create a full scale grand opera – the more so since the opportunity existed for the resulting work to be staged within the hallowed interior of the Wiener Hof-Operntheater (Vienna Court Opera Theatre). In February 1888 he began work on Ritter Pásmán (Knight Pásmán), a dramatisation by Ludwig Dóczi of a ballad by the Hungarian poet, János Arany. From an early stage Strauss found oppressive the restrictions imposed upon his creative powers, both by the genre and by the weighty libretto set in a remote corner of Hungary in mediæval times and, despite his determination to realise the project, Ritter Pásmán took almost four years to complete.

The opera's première was frequently announced but was postponed time and time again owing to various difficulties, including illness in the cast and, as the London Times reported on 24 November 1891, "mutiny among the musicians of the orchestra at the Imperial Opera House, who consider it undignified to perform Johann Strauss's music". The work eventually received its much heralded first performance at the Hof-Operntheater on New Year's Day 1892. Despite the prognostication of the Fremdenblatt on the day of the première that the theatre "gains in the work a box-office draw that rates alongside 'Cavalleria Rusticana' and 'Manon'", Ritter Pásmán was not a success and was withdrawn after just nine performances, occasioning Strauss's most bitter disappointment. Yet, whatever the shortcomings of Ritter Pásmán as an opera, there can be no doubting the lasting appeal of the ballet music in Act 3. The influential Viennese music critic, Eduard Hanslick (Neue Freie Presse, 3.01.1892), called it "by far the glittering crown jewel of this score. No one but Johann Strauss could have created it!". Hanslick elaborated: "The ballet begins – recalling the Bohemian homeland of the Queen – with a polka, danced in Slavonic peasant costume. The music, of fetching, thrilling rhythms and captivating orchestral tones, belongs to the most beautiful of Strauss's dance pieces".

The Pásmán-Polka subsequently issued by the Berlin-based publishing house of N. Simrock, however, was not identical to that presented in the ballet score of Ritter Pásmán, even though its traceable thematic material is drawn exclusively from this source. The first time the Strauss Orchestra played the polka was on Wednesday 6 January 1892, when Eduard conducted it at his concert in the Vienna Musikverein. Yet, although blazoned as the first performance, this was patently not the case, as a glance at the entertainments section of the Viennese press readily shows. No less than three military bands – Imperial and Royal Austrian Infantry Regiment No. 4 (the 'Hoch- und Deutschmeister') under their bandmaster C.M. Ziehrer, No. 46 under Johann Müller and No. 49 under Josef Franz Wagner – all announced the première of the Pásmán-Polka for the same day, Sunday 3 January! Since the work was positioned as the fourth item at each concert, the claimant to the genuine première of the Pásmán-Polka would seem to be the band whose concert started earliest – the 'Hoch- und Deutschmeister', appearing at Ronacher's establishment.

Pásmán-Walzer (Pásmán Waltz)
An article by the Vienna correspondent of the London Standard on Christmas Day 1889 gave rise to an interesting exchange of correspondence, to which the 'Waltz King' himself was a party. The article announced that Johann Strauss was planning a reform of the Viennese waltz, "since he has satisfied himself that the present generation is either not strong enough for or not inclined to the rapid whirl of the true Vienna dance, and that a slower pace is required to suit the taste of these degenerate times ... Herr Strauss has already composed two Minuet Waltzes, which are to be introduced during the approaching Carnival at a great Charity Ball given by the members of the aristocracy resident in this capital". Johann himself is quoted as saying: "Look around the ball room and you will find, no matter how delicious the waltz music that the orchestra may be playing, that the majority of the ladies remain seated while the gentlemen lounge around the pillars and doors. All real pleasure in dancing is lost, and only the rhythmical Conversation Dance still holds its ground. I intended to combine the Conversation Dance with the waltz, calling the new form the Minuet Waltz. It will be composed in three-four time, and consist at three sets, which all begin andantino gracioso, in the style at the minuet or polonaise. It will then develop into the real waltz, with the present rapid whirl. Ladies will be able to accept lazy partners for the conversation part, while for the faster movements they can take partners who are still dancers".

This announcement brought a patriotic outburst from a certain Mr William Alfred Gurney, an Englishman who claimed to have originated the Valse-Minuet same six months previously. When Strauss was informed of this he declared that he had no knowledge whatsoever of either Gurney or the Valse-Minuet. He continued: "The idea of reforming the waltz has occupied me for years; but I am somewhat slow in carrying out my conceptions, and so it comes to pass that the two compositions of which you spoke in your telegram still only exist in my mind as projects rather than realities, and I am not quite sure but that they will find definite shape in a single composition – namely, in the ballet which will be part at the Third Act of a comic opera I am composing for the Vienna Imperial Opera for next November. Having decided that the remodelled waltz should be first danced in Vienna, not by artistocratic amateurs during the  Carnival but by the corps de ballet of the Court Opera, as being a more suitable introduction to the dancing world, I at the same time, abandoned the idea at giving the new waltz any title whatever, and I did that before I ever saw or heard of Mr. Gurney's Valse-Minuet" (The Standard, 4.01.1890). The Viennese press also reported these exchanges, but their misinterpretations at his intentions later forced Strauss to issue a denial regarding any plans to slow down the actual tempo of the Viennese waltz.

It is a matter of conjecture as to what extent the waltz Johann wrote for the Act 3 ballet music of his opera, Ritter Pásmán, mirrored his conceptions for the "reforming Minuet Waltz". Certainly the reviews of the opera's première at the Wiener Hof-Operntheater (Vienna Court Opera Theatre) on New Year's Day 1892 make no reference to it. Even the always percipient critic Eduard Hanslick, who termed the ballet music "the glittering crown jewel of this score", confined himself to general praise for the waltz itself: "After this [the polka] there follows an exceedingly graceful and delicate shawl-dance in leisurely three-quarter time – a pleasant contrast to the preceding polka. The tempo picks up a little and develops info a waltz in F major, a dance-piece of perfect refinement and poetry. Even though after the polka the applause of the audience seemed to have no end, after the waltz a veritable rejoicing broke out" (Neue Freie Presse, 3.01.1892). After the third performance of Ritter Pásmán, Strauss was himself able to write to his publisher, Fritz Simrock, on 9 January 1892: "During the applause on the part of the audience after the waltz in the ballet, the orchestra also applauded conductor [Johann Nepomuk] Fuchs on account of the tempo which was just right".

Yet the fully developed orchestral dance crafted by Johann as the Pásmán-Walzer by no means restricted itself to presenting music “from the ballet” as stated on the work's first piano edition issued by the Simrock publishing house. Indeed, only Waltzes 1 and 2 owe their origins to this source Waltzes 3 and 4A present material from Eva's lovely Act 3 waltz aria, "O, gold'ne Frucht am Lebensbaum" (Oh, golden fruit on the Tree on Life), while Waltz 4B and the entire Introduction to the composition are untraceable in the published piano score of Ritter Pásmán and presumably comprise melodies subsequently discarded from the final version of the stage work. The absence of Waltz 4B from the opera's published edition is all the more surprising since it has an especially strong melodic appeal and its thematic idea was to surface again several years later in Strauss's unfinished full-length ballet score, Aschenbrödel (Cinderella, 1901), where it can be heard towards the close of Act 2.

As with most of the orchestral dances constructed from the score of Ritter Pásmán, the Pásmán-Walzer was heard for the first time, not played by the Strauss Orchestra, but by a military band. Indeed, the advertisement pages of the Fremdenblatt for 6 January 1892 announce for that day two separate performances in Vienna of the Pásmán-Walzer, each claimed as the première! At Dreher's Establishment, the band of Austrian Infantry Regiment No. 46 played it under its bandmaster Johann Müller, while the Infantry Regiment No. 19 band, under Alphons Czibuika, performed it in the Sofienbad-Saal (Incidentally, the bands made the same claims on their advertisements for this day regarding the first concert performance of the Csárdás from Ritter Pásmán). Not until four days later, on 10 January – and after considerable prompting by Johann – did the Strauss Orchestra perform the Pásmán-Walzer when Eduard Strauss conducted it at his Sunday concert in the Musikverein.

Programme notes © 1992 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.

ORF Symphony Orchestra, Vienna
The ORF Symphony Orchestra was formed after the reorganization of the musical resources of Austrian Radio in 1969. The first conductor was the Yugosiav Milan Horvat, who succeeded in establishing an effective ensemble for the purposes of broadcasting. The young orchestra won success not only with concerts in the two traditional halls in Vienna, the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus, but also with invitations to festivals in Salzburg, Bregenz and the Styrian Autumn. Horvat was succeeded in 1975 by the Finnish conductor Leif Segerstam. Other conductors included Ernest Bour, Bruno Maderna, Wolfgang Sawallisch, David Oistrakh, Vaclav Neumann, Carl Melles, Gerd Albrecht, Lamberto Gardelli, Michael Gielen, Christoph von Dohnányi, Charles Mackerras, Georges Prêtre, Argeo Quadri, Jerzy Semkow and others. Since 1979 the orchestra has developed a broader repertoire, ranging, under Lothar Zagrosek, from 1982 to 1986, from pre-classical to twentieth century music. In 1989 the Israel-born conductor Pinchas Steinberg was appointed Principal Conductor.

Peter Guth
The violinist and conductor Peter Guth has followed the tradition of Johann Strauss in directing a symphony orchestra with a violin in his hand. Trained in Vienna, Peter Guth later studied for three years in Moscow as a pupil of David Oistrakh and made his first international appearance as a soloist and with the Vienna Trio as first prize-winner in the Munich ARD Competition. As a conductor he has appeared with more than fifty different orchestras. Among operas he has directed is Strauss's A Night in Venice in its original version, with a cast of the greatest distinction. Peter Guth is active as a teacher, has a great Interest in new music and is leader of the ORF Symphony Orchestra. He is director of the Vienna Symphony Johann Strauss Ensemble and the Vienna Strauss Soloists, and is well known for his frequent radio and television appearances, his recordings and his work in the concert-hall which has taken him as far a field as Japan and the United States of America.

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