|About this Recording
8.223238 - STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 38
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.
Wiener Garnison-Marsch (Vienna Garrison March) op. 77
The younger Johann Strauss's sprightly Wiener Garnison-Marsch was a by-product of the martial law declared in Vienna following the suppression of the 1848 Revolution, and which was still in force in the summer of 1850. Although peace had been restored to the streets of the Austrian capital, and the military forces of the Habsburg Emperor and the Russian Tsar had combined to end the Revolution in Hungary, the restrictions placed upon the population of Vienna were in no way eased. Public life was controlled by the commanders of the various military units there, and it was these officers whom one had to influence if one sought to re-establish the enjoyments of life. The 24-year-old Johann Strauss, whose sympathies had lain with the students and National Guard during the insurrection of 1848, was certainly no friend of the military authorities, but he was sufficiently astute to recognise the necessity of maximising his opportunities within a given situation. Thus it was that Johann Baptist Corti, proprietor of the coffee-house in the Vienna Volksgarten, was able to place the following announcement in the Fremden-Blatt newspaper on 25 June 1850:
'Volksgarten: Today, Grand Festival with Impressive Illuminations. Herr Kapellmeister Johann Strauss, with his [late] father's orchestra, will have the honour to perform, in addition to the latest and most splendid musical pieces, a march composed especially for this festival, entitled 'Wiener Garnisons-Marsch' [sic!], in honour of the praiseworthy local garrison, and, for the first time, the new overture by [Peter Joseph von] Lindpaintner, 'Die Nacht des Liedes' [The Night of Song], not yet heard here". The advertisement went on to mention that the band of the 2nd Field-Artillery Regiment, under its bandmaster Sebastien Reinisch, had also been engaged for this entertainment. While Johann conducted the Strauss Orchestra in the first performance of the Wiener Garnison-Marsch, the presence of the regimental band suggests the possibility that the two groups of musicians combined for this performance. The likelihood of this is given greater credence by the fact that although Strauss's publisher, Pietro Mechetti, announced the availability of orchestral parts, he only appears to have produced an edition for military band, together with the piano version. Regrettably, only the piano edition has survived: published in September 1850, it is "most respectfully" dedicated by its young composer to "the highly commendable Officer Corps of the Vienna Garrison". In the absence of Strauss's original manuscript and the printed orchestral material, Professor Ludwig Babinski has made the present arrangement for this Marco Polo recording.
Damenspende. Polka française (Ladies' Gift. French polka) op. 305
In nineteenth-century Vienna, as in many parts of the world today, it was customary to honour the attendance of the fair sex at balls and ladies' nights by the presentation of small gifts - in German, 'Damenspende'. For example, as early as January 1845, just three months after his début as conductor and composer, the chivalrous younger Johann Strauss arranged for specially printed copies of his opus 1, the waltz Sinngedichte, to be given as a 'Damenspende' to the ladies attending his benefit ball at Dommayer's Casino.
As the title for a dance composition, Damenspende was thus ideally suited. Johann Strauss Father had already seized upon the same idea in 1849 when he gave the name Damen-Souvenir (Ladies' Souvenir) to the polka (op. 236) he wrote for a St. Valentine's Eve Ball in the Sofienbad-Saal, but it was not until 1866 that Johann Strauss Son chose Damenspende as the title of the polka he wrote for that year's Students' Ball. This by now traditional carnival-time festivity took place on 6 February 1866 in the Redoutensäle of Vienna's Imperial Hofburg Palace, which Emperor Franz Josef had made available to the patronesses of the ball. Johann and Josef Strauss who, together with the Strauss Orchestra, had been engaged to conduct the music for the dancing, both brought specially written compositions: Josef's contribution was the waltz Vereins-Lieder (Union Songs, op. 198), while Johann provided the French polka Damenspende. According to the Wiener Zeitung of 9 January 1866, "Hofball-Musikdirektor Johann Strauss is dedicating his polka ... to the ladies of the Students' Ball", though the piano edition of the work, published by C.A. Spina on 12 February 1866, actually bore no dedication.
With the Students' Ball in the Redoutensäle, the carnival season's series of "Élite Balls" came to a close. Reporting on the event, the proceeds from which went to a fund for the Students' Sickness Union, the critic for the Fremden-Blatt (8.02.1866) remarked on the elegant decoration of the small Redoutensaal, which was "transformed into a garden by flowering plants which peeped out from the statuettes". The report went on: 'Very tasteful, too, was the decoration of the tea salon. The large hall was fairly full, though one could dance with ease. This also applied to the ladies, who were represented by very many young, fresh and bubbly creatures, who glittered more in their personality than in their attire. This unsophisticated, direct simplicity gave the festivity the feel of an extended house ball, where the first and most important command is 'Dance'. And this command the ladies and gentlemen obeyed with the greatest piety: the happy, vigorous dancing went on from 9 o'clock at night until 6 o'clock in the morning to the strains of the Strauss Orchestra. By way of musical novelties, the latter performed the Polka-mazurka [sic!] 'Damenspende' and the waltz 'Vereinslieder', both dance pieces full of rhythm and vitality and, for that reason, required to be repeated three times. Apart from the musical ladies' gift [= Damenspende] there was also an artistic one in the form of the pretty dance cards shaped like a flower vase, inside which was the order of dance, while above it was a small bouquet of perfumed flowers".
Naturally, the polka Damenspende featured on the programme of the Strauss Orchestra's "Revue of all the dance pieces composed in this year's Carnival by Johann, Josef and Eduard Strauss", given by all three brothers as a benefit concert in the Volksgarten on 18 February 1866. Johann's tally of seven compositions took its place alongside ten by Josef and five by Eduard. Four months later, on 21 June 1866, the Volksgarten was once more the venue for a charity festival concert, given "for patriotic purposes" by the Wiener Männergesang-Verein (Vienna Men's Choral Association). Johann, Josef and Eduard Strauss also participated and, according to the Fremden-Blatt (23.06.1866), "performed a varied and interesting programme with their excellent orchestra". The reviewer continued: "A new French polka by Johann Strauss, 'Damenspende', is full of sparkling life".
Faschings-Lieder. Walzer (Carnival Songs. Waltz) op. 11
The début of the young composer and 'Musikdirektor' Johann Strauss Son, on 15 October 1844 at Dommayer's Casino in the Viennese suburb of Hietzing, ended in triumph. The public in the packed hall was enchanted with the performances and the selection of music, while the reactions of the press could only be described as sensational. In the words of the Österreichisches Morgenblatt (19.10.1844): "It was a great festive evening for Vienna's dance world. There were the hopes, the wishes and the fears that one might find on the eve of a decisive battle which would determine the fate of many thousands of people, but Strauss junior, around whom all these hopes and fears had revolved, appeared, and with the first stroke of his bow the thousands expectantly standing there were reassured - yes, even fired with enthusiasm - for talent is not the monopoly of an individual, but can very well, as in the present instance, be handed down from father to son".
But in the 1845 Fasching season (the Viennese Carnival - at that time lasting from 6 January until midnight on Shrove Tuesday) it was once again clear that Johann Strauss Father still reigned supreme over the Viennese Waltz 'industry'. With an 'army' of some two hundred musicians at his disposal, his orchestra - divided into several units - played in virtually all of the major entertainment establishments in the city. All that was left for Johann Strauss Son, excepting individual engagements at larger premises, was the relatively small Dommayer's Casino and the rather down-market Sträussl-Säle in the complex of buildings that comprised the Theater in der Josefstadt. Thus, in the suburbs of Hietzing and Josefstadt Strauss junior was the regent of carnival-time, and consequently was permitted to organise one ball for his own benefit in each location. Naturally, the young Kapellmeister made every effort to exploit these opportunities, making them into events which would provide the greatest possible attraction for the public. For the 1845 Carnival, the management of the Sträussl-Säle allocated him 'Fasching Monday' for his ball. Full of expectation, he began preparations, so that Der sammler (3.02.1845) could eventually announce: 'Today, Monday the 3rd of February , an extraordinary festive ball, under the title 'Fasching's Last Cheerful Greeting', takes place for the benefit of Herr Strauss (Son) in the rooms of the 'Goldene Strauss' [= one of the halls in the Sträussl-Säle] in Josefstadt. This is the final ball which the young favourite will organise in the aforementioned locale this year, and since, besides his latest and more recent compositions, he will also perform for the first time a new waltz entitled 'Faschingslieder', and since the excellent arrangements of his festivals have in a short time won him considerable recognition, the most numerous attendance can be expected". However, in spite of such advance notices, the special lighting and decoration of the halls and the large numbers attending, the reports on Johann's benefit ball in the Sträussl-Säle lacked the plaudits which the young man would have wanted to read. The Allgemeine Wiener Musikzeitung (6.02.1845) merely reported unemotionally that the ball had taken place and that the new waltz Faschings-Lieder had been played for the first time there. Not until the appearance of Der Sammler on 8 February was Strauss rewarded with a detailed and noticeably more enthusiastic report on his benefit ball. The reviewer began by stating that "Strauss Son's ball festivities and benefits each have their individual [and] original characteristics. Gaiety, joy and unrestrained merriment prevail at them, and the friendliness and jollity of the Viennese is always very greatly in evidence. The public present always enjoy the endeavours of the young, powerful, fiery talent and his teasing, piquant melodies which invite dancing, which always prove themselves original and the offspring of a merry, genuine humour". The review continued: "Strauss Son's waltzes are so rhythmic [and] so flowing and crafted in such a daring, yet elegant, style ... If we are to report how today's waltz [ie. Faschings-Lieder] was, we can only say that Strauss (Son) played it and success is - certain".
The musical sketchbooks which Johann Strauss kept throughout his life provided a ready source of melodic inspiration should his creativity temporarily fail him. The earliest of these books, now housed in the Houghton Library of Harvard University, was commenced in August 1843 and reveals the extent to which the young composer made use of his 'random jottings'. As far as the musical content of Faschings-Lieder is concerned, the sketchbook contains the thematic material subsequently used for waltz sections 2A, 4A, 4B (a variation of 2A), 5A and 5B - the first and last theme quoted being separated by no less than twenty-three sides of sketches.
Praise was forthcoming from the reporter of the Allgemeine Wiener Musikzeitung for the composer's splendid orchestration of Faschings-Lieder. It is therefore all the more regrettable that Johann's publisher, Pietro Mechetti, does not appear to have issued printed parts for orchestra. In the absence also of the manuscript full score, this present recording features an arrangement of the waltz made by Arthur Kulling from the published piano edition.
Serben-Quadrille (Serb Quadrille) op. 14
Among the compositions which the younger Johann Strauss dedicated to the representatives of the peoples of the Danube monarchy who were resident in the Imperial capital during the early years of his musical activity, the Serben-Quadrille occupies a special position.
The Serben-Quadrille, which was first performed by the Strauss Orchestra under Johann's direction, bears the composer's "respectful" dedication to Prince Mihailo [Michael] Milošev Obrenović III (1823-68), youngest son of Prince Miloš Obrenović (1780-1860). After the abdication of his father in 1839 and the death of his elder brother, Milan Obrenović II, in 1840, he ascended the throne of Serbia. Together with his father, the prince was forced into exile in August 1842, and Alexander Karageorgević was elected in his place (see Alexander-Quadrille, op. 33, Volume 15 of this CD series). As exiles, Miloš and Mihailo took up residence in Vienna, where the older man made great efforts to gather around him as many supporters as possible in order to win back power in Serbia. (Indeed, in 1858 Karageorgević was dethroned, and Miloš Obrenović was reinstated as ruler. Upon his death Mihailo succeeded him, ruling for a second term from 1860 until his assassination in June 1868.)
One of the means by which the rich Prince Miloš sought to progress his plans for returning to Serbia was by organising balls for the Slav community living in Vienna. According to a report in the Berlinische Nachrichten on 16 February 1846: "On 28 January, a Serb Ball was held in the rooms of ¡¥Zum goldenen Birne¡¦. At the wish of Prince Miloš, who was present at the festivity of his countrymen, the young Strauss composed a so-called 'Serbian' waltz [sic!], which he dedicated to this social gathering...". For its part, Der Humorist (14.02.1846) termed the new composition a Quadrille nach serbischen Liedem (Quadrille on Serbian Songs), while Die Gegenwart (3.02.1846) identified the composition as a Quadrille nach serbischen Nazional Melodien (Quadrille on Serbian National Melodies). Continuing its report on the Serbs' closed society ball held on 28 January 1846 in the Grazien-Säle (an establishment formerly known as 'Zur goldenen Birne', in Vienna's Landstrasse district), Die Gegenwart noted: "The social gathering consisted, as stated, of the Serbs present here and the principal friendly nationalities ... Strauss's quadrille was received with enormous applause (and that is no hyperbole!). General cheerfulness prevailed, and nobody left the room without being satisfied to the highest degree". Prince Mihailo, who attended this ball with his father, not only accepted the dedication of the quadrille, but also ordered four thousand copies of its printed edition (issued on 20 April 1846) from the publisher, Pietro Mechetti, to send to his supporters in Serbia (Illustrirte Theaterzeitung, 15.01.1846).
Nearly half a century later, in a letter to Gustav Davis (real name: Gustav David), the librettist of Strauss's operetta Jabuka (1894), Johann reminisced that in his youth he had had a particular liking for Serbian music, citing the Serben-Quadrille as an example (see Slaven-Potpourri op. 39, Volume 34). Johann Strauss conducted the first public performance of his Serben-Quadrille on 2 February 1846, again in the Grazien-Säle, at a "Grand Festival Ball", an event billed as a "Reminder of the 'Gold'ne Birn' Era". On this occasion Der Wanderer (7.02.1846) observed: 'Among the attractions of the festivity, Strauß Son's 'Serben-Quadrille' stood out. This piece has achieved a kind of celebrity status because of its extraordinary reception at the Serb Ball. Even with this large audience it was a most dazzling success, and this latest composition by the young maestro justly deserves to be applauded in every single section and repeated three times, as happened here. Instrumentation and themes can be described as excellent, and the quadrille as one of the most successful available to us". The Grazien-Säle was once more the venue when Strauss played the Serben-Quadrille at the Slav Ball held there on 10 February 1846, at which he also performed the Zora-Polka (op. 17) by the Czech composer Wilhelm Čestimír Gutmannsthál. Both works had to be repeated several times.
Of particular interest is the first theme in the 'Trénis' figure (= 4th section) of the Serben-Quadrille, which is virtually identical with the second theme in the Trio section of Strauss's Serbischer Marsch (Serbian March), published without opus number by H.F. Müller in February 1847. The melody quoted in both works is from a Slavonian folksong, "Tamburica sitnim glasom udarasě". A variation of this melody can be heard in the Act 1 Finale (No. 7) of Carl Millöcker's operetta Der Bettelstudent (The Beggar Student, 1882), sung by Laura: "Doch wenn's im Lied hinaus dann klinget, la la la la". The second theme in the 'Trénis' section of the Serben-Quadrille is traceable in Strauss's musical sketchbook, covering the period August 1843 to the end of 1851 and presently housed in Harvard University's Houghton Library. The first and second themes of the (No. 1) 'Pantalon' figure comprise Serbian folk melodies, and further examples are to be heard in the (No. 5) 'Pastourelle' and (No. 6) 'Finale' sections.
It seems that Prince Mihailo can only have ordered and purchased the piano edition of the Serben-Quadrille, since Mechetti appears not to have issued orchestral performing material. For this present Marco Polo recording, therefore, Professor Ludwig Babinski has arranged the work from the published piano score.
Nimm sie hin! Polka française (Take her! French polka) op. 358
Reporting on the première of Johann Strauss's second operetta, Der Carneval in Rom (The Carnival in Rome), which opened at Vienna's Theater an der Wien on 1 March 1873, the critic of the journal Hans Jörgel (No. 11, 1873) noted, with a gibe at the operettas of Jacques Offenbach: "The libretto, by Josef Braun, is at last a reasonable one. It does not look for comedy in fool's clothes, brainless absurdities, stupid headgear and fantastic epaulettes, as the French do". The reviewer continued: "In serious or jolly mood, an interesting subject is piquantly and amusingly handled, and Strauss has written an avalanche of melodies for it, from which one can make 10 waltzes, 20 polkas and 30 quadrilles. The music is a decided advance compared with 'Indigo'".
While unintended as a serious analysis of the Carneval in Rom score, the reviewer's ranking of its dance tunes is nonetheless interesting. In light of critical remarks about his operetta début, Indigo und die vierzig Räuber (1871), Johann Strauss had been anxious to prove to the public and, above all, to the critics, that he did not have to rely upon the lure of his waltz melodies to achieve success on the theatrical stage. For Carneval in Rom, therefore, the use of three-quarter-time was reduced to a minimum, and prevalence was instead given to polka rhythms, leading Strauss himself to describe the stage work as "my polka opera".
On 1 May 1873, during the initial run of Der Carneval in Rom, the Vienna World Exhibition optimistically flung open its doors in the Vienna Prater. Yet the anticipated flood of visitors at first failed to materialise: persistent rain and unusually low temperatures conspired against expected attendance figures at the many attractions mounted by the international exhibitors. Not until early July did the rainy conditions show signs of abating, and then only gradually. Johann Strauss used one of these breaks in the inclement weather to organise a grand scenic festival, complete with illuminations, in the Floral Halls of the Horticultural Association (Blumensäle der Gartenbaugesellschaft) and in the establishment's surrounding park. The event, which took place on 9 July 1873, was given for charity and the proceeds were destined for the Emperor Franz Josef Foundation. The audience was treated to music played by two regimental bands (Infantry Regiments Nos. 21 and 55) and the German Orchestra of Julius Langenbach which had been engaged under the title of the 'World Exhibition Orchestra'. Langenbach himself alternated with Strauss in conducting the orchestra in a programme which included three dance numbers assembled by Johann from the score of Carneval in Rom: Vom Donaustrande, Polka schnell (op. 356, Volume 31 of this CD series), the waltz Carnevalsbilder (op. 357, Volume 9) and the French polka Nimm sie hin! The Fremden-Blatt of 11 July 1873 reported: "The enormous crowd enthusiastically applauded the matchless compositions of Herr Strauss and, considering the storm of applause, numerous encores were inevitable". Of the three works based on themes from Carneval in Rom, only Carnevalsbilder is described in the Fremden-Blatt announcement of 9 July 1873 as receiving its première; the other two are merely termed "new", indicating an earlier performance for each piece. Vom Donaustrande was played for the first time on 6 April 1873, and although the appearance of Nimm sie hin! is so far unknown on any programme before Johann conducted it at the Blumensäle on 9 July 1873, the possibility of an earlier performance cannot be dismissed.
The title of the enticing Nimm sie hin! is derived from the lyrics of the Act 2 aria (No. 7), sung at the première by Albin Swoboda (1836-1901) in the rôle of the painter Arthur Bryk: "Nimm ihn hin, er sei dein, und mein Segen obendrein" ('Take him, let him be yours, and my blessing goes with you'). This source also provides the melody for the first part of the polka's Trio section (theme 2A). The remaining tunes are drawn from elsewhere in Acts 1 and 2 of the operetta, specifically:
Leitartikel. Walzer (Leading Article. Waltz) op. 273
The resignation of Austria's Chancellor, Prince Clemens Wenzel Lothar Metternich-Winneburg (1773-1859) on 13 March 1848, and his subsequent flight to England, signalled an end to the reactionary and oppressive 'Metternich-System' of domestic government. Under this despised regime, vigorously upheld by censorship and the police, freedom of opinion had been made practically impossible, but with Metternich's fall the press in Austria gradually began to flourish. Self-confidently, the authors and journalists formed themselves into a professional organisation in 1859; they called it 'Concordia', after the Roman goddess personifying civic harmony. Not until 1863, however, did the Authors' and Journalists' Association summon the energy to organise its own ball festivity, to which were invited representatives from all the professions. Such invitations were eagerly accepted, for now no one wanted to get on the wrong side of an increasingly influential press.
The inaugural 'Concordia' Ball was announced to take place in the Sofienbad-Saal on 19 January 1863 - and with it began an annual tradition which has continued to the present day. A month earlier, on 15 December 1862, the Authors' and Journalists' Association had held their first Ladies' Evening of the season. Giving notice of it, Die Presse of the same date wrote: "In addition, preparations are already being made for the ball to be organised by the 'Concordia'. For this ball, Johann Strauss is composing a waltz with the title 'Zeitungsfreuden' [Pleasures of the Newspapers]". Strauss then appears to have undergone a sudden change of mind, for only two days later the Morgen-Post (17.12.1862) stated: "'Mit der Feder' [With the Pen] is the title of the latest waltz which Kapellmeister Johann Strauss has composed for the ball of the Authors' Association 'Concordia', and has dedicated to the members of the Association". The 'Concordia' itself, however, clearly had other ideas, for on 31 December 1862 Der Zwischen-Akt proclaimed: 'The Committee of the 'Concordia' has decided on the title of 'Leitartikel' for the waltz which is to be composed by Johann Strauss for the ball festival". In choosing this title, the 'Concordia' paid tribute to that section of a newspaper - the 'leading article', or 'leader' - in which journalists projected the editorial stance of their paper.
With the title of Johann's waltz finally established, the Wiener Zeitung could now play its part in generating maximum interest in its own Association's forthcoming festivity. On 5 January 1863 it announced: 'According to reliable sources, he [Johann Strauss] is working on a cycle of 'Leaders' which combine power, verve and gracefulness in such a way and, at the same time, are reported to be so rhythmical, that one can expect an enchanting, enrapturing effect. They are all to appear on the 19th of this month, and anyone who wants to get to know them 'hot off the press' should go to the Sophiensaal where, by way of a change, the journalistic world will dance to Strauß's 'Leitartikel'". Here, the paper took the opportunity to garner support for its Association's cause, continuing: "However, the journalists dance out of sheer delight, as though things were going really well for them. They do not dance for the pleasure it can give - they do not have time for that. They dance with a purpose. They seek to combine what is pleasant with what is useful: we shall waltz for oppressed writers".
For many months, Johann Strauss's state of health had been giving cause for concern: during January 1863 there was even talk of the danger of a stroke. Shortly before the 'Concordia' Ball, the Vienna press published a letter from the composer: "On the advice of my doctors, I am forced to avoid any mental strain for some time, for which reason I shall not be in a position to announce any new compositions for the present carnival. A single waltz, which I dedicated to the Journalists' and Authors' Association 'Concordia' a long time ago, has been completed, and this work will be performed for the first time on the 19th of this month at the 'Concordia' Ball. As in previous years, however, for this carnival I shall continue as conductor of my orchestra". Fortunately for the members of the 'Concordia', their ball was the first representative dance entertainment of the 1863 Vienna Carnival: Johann Strauss relinquished the composition of all the other dedication pieces for the balls in the 1863 Carnival season to his younger brother, Josef.
Leitartikel belongs among the most attractive of the Waltz King's creations in three-quarter-time. With the knowledge of Mit der Feder (With the Pen) as a former working title, perhaps the work's initially sombre Introduction was intended to convey a journalist hampered by a ponderous literary style; hesitating, he boldly strikes out his text and adopts an altogether lighter approach - a mood captured by the opening waltz number and maintained throughout the piece. Because of the widespread advance publicity the work had received from Vienna's pressmen - to whom the waltz was dedicated - it is surprising how few papers carried reports on their Association's own ball. Moreover, while the Fremden-Blatt (21.01.1863) acknowledged that the new composition "earned great applause", the Neueste Nachrichten of 25 January 1863 was decidedly cool, charging that "Leitartikel makes no [great] contribution to progress. Several musicians present claim to have discovered good [musical] ideas in it, and we are happy to go along with their judgement".
Undaunted by such reviews, Johann Strauss was to compose music for the balls of the 'Concordia' almost every year, right up until his death in 1899. Moreover, the waltz Leitartikel served as a worthy forerunner to the host of pieces which, down the years, numerous other composers were also to dedicate to the 'Concordia' on the occasion of their annual ball. These contributors included Johann Strauss's brother Eduard who, for the 1871 'Concordia' Ball, chose the name Mit der Feder for the polka-mazurka he dedicated to the Association.
Quadrille nach Motiven der Komischen Oper: Eine Nacht in Venedig
(Quadrille on themes from the comic opera 'A Night in Venice') op. 416
Johann Strauss worked for a relatively long time on the preparation of the score for his operetta Eine Nacht in Venedig (A Night in Venice). In collaboration with the successful librettists F. Zell (1829-95) and Richard Genée (1823-95), the composition was begun immediately after the highly successful première of the Strauss-Zell-Genée operetta Die lustige Krieg (The Merry War), which opened at the Theater an der Wien on 25 November 1881. The subject of the new stage work had been chosen by the composer's wife, Angelika, who also settled on Venice as the location for the plot. But while her 66-year-old husband was devoting himself to the score of 'her' operetta, Angelika was devoting herself to the 29-year-old director of the Theater an der Wien, Franz Steiner. When 'Lili' finally left Strauss in September 1882 and took up residence with Steiner at his theatre, the composer understandably determined that his latest operetta should have its opening night at an alternative venue. Thus the première of Eine Nacht in Venedig took place at the recently renovated Neues Friedrich-Wilhelmstädtisches Theater in Berlin on 3 October 1883. A decidedly unfavourable response from press and public alike resulted in hurried revisions to the score and libretto before the first Viennese production of the work just six days later, on 9 October 1883 - at the Theater an der Wien. On this occasion both operetta and the strong cast, which included Alexander Girardi (Caramello), Felix Schweighofer (Pappacoda), and Josef Josephi (Duke of Urbino), registered a sensation. Among the few dissenting voices was the journal Hans Jörgel (No. 41, 1883), which made the interesting observation: "The Viennese [composer], who has become a favourite because of the generosity of the people of Vienna, has recently preferred to choose foreign material for his operettas and is thus striving laboriously, and in vain, to make his music fit what is far away from him. He is disowning the Viennese, and this lack of respect for his native city is being avenged. The further he strays from what is Viennese, the more feeble his successes become".
Perhaps because the 'Lili Operetta' had become a thoroughly painful business for him, Johann only arranged six separate orchestral numbers from the rich store of melodies contained in the score of Eine Nacht in Venedig: he could undoubtedly have fashioned more. The last of the pieces, a quadrille, affords the listener an extensive 'tour' of the musical delights in Acts 1 and 2. The material quoted in each of the six 'figures', or sections, is derived from the following sources:
(The above analysis is based on the original version of Eine Nacht in Venedig, as published in the Johann Strauss Gesamtausgabe (Complete Edition), Doblinger-Universal Edition, Vienna 1970.)
The first performance of the Eine Nacht in Venedig-Quadrille was conducted by Eduard Strauss at the Court Ball in the Imperial Hofburg Palace on 4 February 1884. Two groups of musicians were engaged to provide the evening's dance music: Eduard and the members of the Strauss Orchestra, resplendent in their red uniforms, were situated in the Ceremonien-Saal, while the band of Infantry Regiment No. 84 played in the large Redoutensaal. The quadrille appeared for the first time on the programme of a public concert by the Strauss Orchestra on 17 February 1884, when Eduard conducted it as the closing item of his Sunday afternoon concert in the Musikverein.
Lagerlust. Polka-Mazur (Joys of military encampment. Polka-mazurka) op. 431
Simplicius, Johann Strauss's "Operetta in a Prelude and 2 Acts", received its première at Vienna's Theater an der Wien on 17 December 1887. The following day, a caricature in the Viennese satirical journal, Die Bombe, portrayed the Waltz King clutching the score of Simplicius while tossing sheets of music from a storeroom door. The caption reads: "Because the warehouse is overfull, Johann Strauss is holding a grand sale of surplus music". In this way, the cartoonist made known the fact that Strauss had amassed a large amount of music during the period he was composing Simplicius, and that not all of it had found its way into the final score.
Having thus accumulated this large fund of melodies, Johann Strauss must have found it easy to select material for the six separate orchestral pieces he fashioned on themes from Simplicius. Two further numbers, the Altdeutscher Walzer and the Jugendliebe Walzer, both published without opus number, were issued in 1888 and 1890 respectively. Of the initial six pieces, three - the waltz Donauweibchen op. 427 (Volume 11 of this CD series), the Reiter-Marsch op. 428 and the quick polka Mutig voran! op. 432 (Volume 25) - found immediate favour with Vienna's music lovers. The success enjoyed by these numbers tended to overshadow another dance from the Simplicius 'stable', the polka-mazurka Lagerlust, which the Cranz publishing house issued a little later. Johann's overall disappointment at the failure of Simplicius to capture the imagination of the theatre-going public may explain his apparent lack of interest regarding the promotion of Lagerlust in concerts. Indeed, since the Strauss Orchestra (under the composer's brother, Eduard) is not known to have played the piece until after the end of the 1888 Vienna Carnival season, it may well have been one of the military bands which first introduced the piece, perhaps during winter 1887 or in the spring of 1888, following its publication. For his part, Strauss may actually have been too preoccupied to have concerned himself with the welfare of his polka-mazurka: even before Simplicius ended its run of twenty-nine performances, the composer was considering revisions to the operetta's text. He made great efforts to rescue his 'serious' operetta from oblivion, and he co-operated on two later reworkings.
Johann derived the title of his Lagerlust Polka-Mazur from the text of the solo passage for Simplicius in the Act 2 Finale (No. 10): "Im Lager umher, die Kreuz und die Quer, um Alles zu seh'n, wollt' ich mich ergeh'n" ('I wanted to wander around in the camp, with its to-ings and fro-ings, to see everything'). The music which accompanies this section, however, does not appear in the polka. Interestingly, the opening melody (theme 1A) of Lagerlust is nowhere traceable in the published piano score of Simplicius, either suggesting that it comprises music from the cache of melodies Strauss composed for the operetta, but never used, or was discarded from the final version of the stage work. The remaining themes in the polka may be identified as follows:
An der Elbe. Walzer (By the Elbe. Waltz) op. 477
Johann Strauss's waltz An der Elbe appeared in its various editions from the Dresden-based publishing house of J.G. Seeling in 1897/8. Dresden, then the capital of the kingdom of Saxony and often called 'German Florence' because of its situation, lies in a broad valley on both banks of the river Elbe, and the illustrated title page adorning the first piano edition of Strauss's waltz presents views of the city, including the rococo-style Roman Catholic Hofkirche and the residential suburb of Loschwitz with its vineyards. In the delightful Introduction to his waltz, Strauss sought to capture the many moods of the great river as its rolls through Dresden on its 725 mile journey from Bohemia to the North Sea off Cuxhaven.
It remains unclear why the last waltz the Viennese Waltz King composed and introduced to the public in person should have been given the title An der Elbe and published by J.G. Seeling in Dresden. Strauss's ties with the city had been close ever since 1852 when, on a concert tour to Berlin and Hamburg, he twice stayed in Dresden. The visit was chronicled in his Zehner-Polka ('The Ten') op. 121 (Volumes 1 & 38 of this CD series), which was composed "in honour of a Society of 10 persons in Dresden, and dedicated to them in friendship". Since then, on several occasions Johann had been a guest in the city on the Elbe, and knew that he had loyal friends there. For the time being, though, the origins of the waltz An der Elbe remain a secret.
Johann Strauss chose to unveil An der Elbe at his brother Eduard's benefit concert with the Strauss Orchestra in the Vienna Musikverein on the afternoon of Sunday 28 November 1897. The printed programme of Eduard's concert for the previous Sunday in the same hall carried an announcement of the première to be conducted by the composer, and public anticipation was high. The first half of the concert comprised music by Ambroise Thomas, Eduard Strauss, Bazzini, Liszt, Grieg and Blasser. Immediately before the interval Eduard welcomed his brother to the podium, handed him the baton, and Johann conducted the waltz An der Elbe. The work, intriguingly described in the printed programme as a waltz "on original themes", was well received and had to be repeated at once. On 30 November 1897 the Fremden-Blatt newspaper reported: "Last Sunday Johann Strauss appeared at the benefit concert of his brother Eduard in order to conduct his latest waltz, 'An der Elbe', in person. As always the audience, which had packed every seat in the hall, greeted the maestro with salvoes of applause. The new waltz immediately overcame its hearers with its charming melodies, the genuine Strauss rhythms and the ingenious Introduction; it will occupy a prominent place among Strauss waltzes".
Time, regrettably, has not proved the veracity of this prediction, for although An der Elbe was played on a number of subsequent occasions - for example, it opened the dancing at the Court Ball on 19 January 1898 - it gradually slipped into oblivion. Now, almost one hundred years later, as listeners to this recording are bewitched by the freshness of the work's melodies, perhaps it will at last find a permanent place in international concert repertoire.
Ninetta-Galopp (Ninetta Galop) op. 450
When the journalist Paul Lindau (1839-1919) was planning the 100th edition of his illustrated monthly journal, Nord und Süd (May 1885), he solicited contributions from his numerous friends. Johann Strauss submitted just two lines in the form of a verse expressing a genuine cry from the heart:
"Ob Juden oder Christen,
Leicht bringen Pech die Librettisten"
('Whether Jews or Christians,
Librettists easily bring bad luck')
Strauss's jaundiced view, resulting from occasional wrangles with his librettists, dogged him throughout his career as an operetta composer: indeed, the situation was to worsen in the years following his penning of the above lines.
Following the failure of his grand opera Ritter Pásmán in 1892, Johann was forced to rejoin the ranks of the operetta composers. Without further consideration he accepted a libretto, entitled Fürstin Ninetta (Princess Ninetta), which the well-practised writers Hugo Wittmann (1839-1923) and Julius Bauer (1853-1941) promised to deliver. Later, he complained bitterly that he never had sight of the complete libretto with its dialogue, and composed his music entirely on the basis of the individual song texts and ensemble scenes. Not until the final rehearsals did he become acquainted with the whole story, and was shocked to realise that the mood of his music was oftentimes at variance with the plot. Convinced that failure was staring him in the face, especially after the operetta's cool reception in Berlin, he wrote to his friend, Paul Lindau: "I should be even happier if the entire thing were soon committed to a geriatric home. They can steal it from me; I shall not shed a tear for it".
Fürstin Ninetta, which received its première at Vienna's Theater an der Wien on 10 January 1893, celebrated its 25th performance on 3 February 1893 and eventually ran for a total of seventy-six performances. Strauss must have been greatly surprised by the success of his operetta, but had already raided its score to fashion five separate orchestral numbers. (A sixth, the Neue Pizzicato-Polka op. 449, composed in 1892, was an interpolation.) These pieces rapidly became favourites in the concert halls and bandstands of Vienna. The snappy, flowing Ninetta-Galopp was Johann Strauss's contribution to the ball of the Local Academic Branch of the German School Association, held in the Sofienbad-Saal on 3 February 1893 and attended by Bürgermeister (Mayor) Dr. Prix, several University professors and various members of Parliament. The band of the 46th Infantry Regiment was conducted in the performance by the popular Kapellmeister Johann Müller. Reporting on this fashionable event, the Neue Freie Presse (5.02.1893) remarked: "A great number of beautiful women and young ladies attended the festival, and one could scarcely see enough of this abundance of charm and gracefulness, of this Congress of Beauty. Small wonder that, under such circumstances, the young men danced with ardent zeal ... Lively applause greeted the dedications by Johann Strauss, by Burgh von Barth, medical student R. Kronfeld and law student Max Berdach. The elegant, happy gathering remained together until the morning light". Shortly afterwards the Ninetta-Galopp appeared on the programmes of many other orchestras.
The Ninetta-Galopp, which Strauss dedicated to the ball-organising committee, draws exclusively from melodies in the first two acts of Fürstin Ninetta, specifically:
Zehner-Polka ('The Ten' Polka) op. 121
At the beginning of October 1852 Johann Strauss and his orchestra left Vienna for a tour which would take them, via performances in Prague and Leipzig, to Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden. In this last city, at that time the capital of the kingdom of Saxony, Strauss became acquainted with a popular, then locally-active, musical director named Hugo Hünerfürst (1827-67), who welcomed the young Viennese Kapellmeister into his immediate circle. A mutual friendship quickly developed between the two men when, on the return journey, Strauss stopped again at Dresden. On this occasion, Hünerfürst introduced Johann to a private coterie to which he belonged, comprising ten people whose interests may have encompassed spiritualism and parapsychology. Interestingly, at about this time the press in Vienna had reported: "A society of ten persons in Dresden had put several questions to the [Ouija] board, including what the writer of this article was doing in Vienna at that time? The answer was: 'Eating his supper'. Next question: 'Where?' - Answer: 'At the Sperl' - 'And where was he earlier?' - 'At the theatre'. The society then made enquiries by letter as to whether the board had answered correctly. The reply came from Vienna: 'Yes, the board was right. On the evening in question I was at a performance of the play, 'Der Schatten', at the Carltheater. Thereafter I went with a party to the Sperl, where we gave ourselves up to culinary delights'".
Strauss took the opportunity to recall his time with Hünerfürst in the cheerful Zehner-Polka, which he may have sketched out in Dresden and which, according to a report in Die Presse (23.11.1852), was actually commissioned and named by the private ten-person society there. Johann conducted the Strauss Orchestra in the first performance of this new polka at a "Splendid Katharinen-Ball" on 24 November 1852 in the 'Sperl' dance hall in the Viennese suburb of Leopoldstadt. Strauss and his orchestra played in the upstairs room, while Josef Liehmann conducted the band of the Grand Duke Constantin of Russia Infantry Regiment at a musical soirée in the downstairs 'Fortuna-Saal'. The entertainment not only celebrated the Name Day of St. Katherine, but marked the reopening of the renovated and fashionable 'Sperl' under its new lessee, Joseph Kraft. Reporting on the 'Katharinen-Ball', the critic for the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung (26.11.1852) mentioned the performance of the Zehner-Polka, and noted that it 'pleased so much on account of its charming themes, that it had to be repeated six times".
On 12 January 1853, Carl Haslinger's publishing house issued the Zehner-Polka in editions for piano, violin and piano, and full orchestra. The title page of the version for piano bears Johann Strauss's inscription: "Composed in honour of a Society of 10 persons in Dresden, and dedicated to them in friendship".
Maskenzug-Polka française (Procession of Masks. French polka) op. 240
On 25 November 1860, Vienna was given two separate opportunities to hear the Strauss Orchestra perform the new Maskenzug-Polka, conducted in person by its composer, Johann Strauss. The two venues were very different: in the afternoon the work featured in the programme of what the Fremden-Blatt newspaper (21.11.1860) announced as a "Concert by Johann Strauss who, for the first time since his return from St. Petersburg, will conduct the music, alternating with Josef Strauss". The paper further disclosed that the performance would comprise the "Programme of musical pieces which will be played in the concerts during the course of the season up until the  Carnival". The evening of 25 November 1860 also afforded the guests attending a St. Katharine's Day masked ball in the elegant Redoutensaal ballroom of the Imperial Hofburg a chance to enjoy the Maskenzug-Polka. This came about when, during the course of the masked ball, Strauss's astutely commercial publisher, Carl Haslinger, organised a masked procession of Vienna's sculptors, painters and architects, together with their friends - perhaps including actors and musicians - and for which purpose the revellers attired themselves in all manner of bizarre costumes. According to Eugène Eiserle, the reporter for Der Zwischen-Akt (27.11.1860): ¡§The procession, starting from the tea-salon, passed through the large and small halls to the sounds of the 'Maskenzug-Polka' by Johann Strauss, and then formed a quadrille in the large hall ...¡¨.
Far from being composed especially for the masked ball in the Redoutensaal, however, the Maskenzug-Polka had been written for Strauss's audiences in Russia, from whence he had only recently returned to Vienna. The dance piece had also sported an entirely different title for its performances at the Vauxhall Pavilion in Pavlovsk, where it was heard for the first time (together with the première of the Fantasieblümchen Polka-Mazur op. 241) at Johann's farewell benefit concert on 14 October 1860 (= 2 October, Russian calendar). The handwritten programme for this event shows that the work was originally entitled Trot-Polkaand dedicated to "the Cuirassier Regiment of his Majesty the Emperor [Alexander II]". It was also under this name that A. Büttner's publishing house issued the Russian edition of the work, but because the enthusiastic audiences at Pavlovsk had been accustomed to stamp their feet in time to its rhythm, they had re-christened it locally as the Trapp-Polka (Stamping Polka).
In Vienna, Carl Haslinger proudly retained the name of Maskenzug for the polka when he published it on 13 January 1861. A little more than six years later, however, the work underwent a further reincarnation when Johann Strauss conducted it for his London audiences (for the first time on 26 September 1867) attending the season of promenade concerts at the Royal Italian Opera House, Covent Garden. As The Observer noted in its edition of 29 September 1867: "Several of Herr Strauss's dances, including the 'Morgenblätter Valse', and a new polka, styled 'La Dansante', afforded the fullest gratification to a large audience". Another paper, The Era (29.10.1867), also drew attention to La Dansante (The Dancing Girl), remarking that it "was received with the usual frantic applause, and was, of course, repeated".
Programme notes © 1994 Peter Kemp. The Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain.
The author is indebted to Professor Franz Mailer for his assistance in the preparation of these notes.
Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra (Košice)
The East Slovakian town of Košice boasts a long and distinguished musical tradition, as part of a province that once provided Vienna with musicians. The State Philharmonic Orchestra is of relatively recent origin and was established in 1968 under the conductor Bystrik Rezucha. Subsequent principal conductors have included Stanislav Macura and Ladislav Slovák, the latter succeeded in 1985 by his pupil Richard Zimmer. The orchestra has toured widely in Eastern and Western Europe and plays an important part in the Košice Musical Spring and the Košice International Organ Festival.
For Marco Polo the orchestra has made the first compact disc recordings of rare works by Granville Bantock and Joachim Raff. Writing on the last of these, one critic praised the orchestra for its competence comparable to that of the major orchestras of Vienna and Prague. The orchestra has contributed many successful volumes to the complete compact disc Johann Strauss II and for Naxos has recorded a varied repertoire.
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. For Marco Polo, Alfred Walter has recorded more than 15 volumes of the label's Johann Strauss II Edition, works by von Schillings, von Einem, de Bériot, Reinecke and all symphonic works of Furtwängler. He is currently engaged in recording the complete symphonies of Spohr.
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