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8.223564 - STRAUSS, Josef: Edition - Vol. 4

Jose£ Strauss (1827- 1870)

Josef Strauss (1827 - 1870)

Edition Vol.4


[1] Osterreichischer Kronprinzen - Marsch (Austrian Crown Prince-March) op.59


On 21 August 1858 the long-awaited Crown Prince was born, after two daughters, to the imperial couple Elisabeth and Franz Josef von Habsburg-Lothringen. He was named Rudolph, after the founder of the house of Habsburg. Elisabeth had gone into seclusion to await the birth at Laxenburg

Castle (Cf. Laxenburger Polka, op. 60). When the news from Laxenburg reached the city, Emperor Franz Josef was so happy about the birth of the successor to the Crown that, contrary to tradition, he forthwith granted the newborn archduke the rank of colonel in the army and head of infantry regiment No.19. From this time on, the regiment bore the title of Crown Prince, Archduke Rudolph.


Perspicaciously, Josef Strauss took this opportunity to compose a commemorative march, but since he wished to perform this work at his anniversary concert on 31 August 1858, in the Volksgarten, he did not request permission from the imperial palace to dedicate the work to the Crown Prince, but instead addressed the dedication to the "Officer Corps of Regular Infantry Regiment No.19, Crown Prince Rudolph." Thus he achieved his goal without having to await imperial approval. Josef Strauss' Osterreichischer Kronprinzen-Marsch was performed for the first time on 31 August 1858 (this is substantiated by the notes of composer and horn player Franz Sabay). The anniversary celebration, however, was postponed until 3 September owing to inclement weather. The Fremden-Blatt newspaper reported on 5 September 1858 that three orchestras were hired, the public having ten to twelve avenues on the esplanade at its disposal, all brilliantly illuminated. The crowd in attendance was in the merriest of moods.


The account of the party in the Theaterzeitung paper was quite detailed:

The entire garden was decorated brilliantly. Right at the entrance shone an enormous sun, complete with a fiery "Long Live Rudolph" in the middle. On both sides, identical images of the coats of arms of the Austrian crown lands were installed.

- Listening pleasure was provided by three orchestras. Josef Strauss' newest work, the "Crown Prince March," composed for this celebration, was performed. With its fresh melody, it enjoyed such an enthusiastic reception that it was replayed many times.

- Nearly 2,000 people filled the ample premises.


By 19 September 1858 the Osterreichischer Kronprinzen-Marsch had already been published by Verlag Haslinger.


[2] Vereins-Lieder. Walzer (Club Songs. Waltz) op.198


During the 1866 carnival season, the student ball at the Redoutensaal in the Vienna Imperial Palace was primarily youth-oriented. The Fremden-Blatt newspaper reporter had the impression that the event had assumed the character of a ball given at a private home, whose purpose, first and foremost, was dancing:


The ladies and gentlemen approached this purpose with the greatest reverence; there was enthusiastic dancing to the strains of the Strauss orchestra from 9 in the evening till 6 in the morning. The dedication waltz was composed by Josef Strauss: he himself performed the work, which was titled Vereins-Lieder and which was dedicated to the students of Vienna.


It was described as a "dance piece full of lilting rhythm" and had to be replayed many times. The Spina publishing-house, however, was in no hurry to put the score of the waltz on the market: the student ball in the Redoutensaal took place on 6 February 1866, the piano music was first issued on 21 April and the orchestra parts not until 20 September 1866. But the Viennese lost their desire to dance as a result of the defeat of the Danubian monarchy's Northern Army in the war against the Prussians. During the 1867 carnival, it took no less than a series of timeless masterpieces to inspire them to dance once again. Thus, the Vereins-Lieder was eclipsed by, among others, the waltzes Delirien (Delirium), op. 212, by Josef, or An der schonen blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), op. 314, and Kunstlerleben (Artist's Life), op. 316, by Johann Strauss, and was forgotten.


[3] Wiener Leben. Polka francaise (Viennese Life. French Polka) op. 218

The 1867 carnival season presented music directors and dance composers with a delicate problem: the defeat of the Austrian Northern Army by the troops of the Prussian kingdom in the Battle of Koniggratz in the summer of 1866, which could have spelled the demise of the Danubian monarchy, cast a pall on the people in the imperial capital and residential city of Vienna. As the following year's carnival began, the "usual jovial spirit," as one chronicler put it, was loath to appear. The costume balls began without gusto, but finally, little by little, the traditional carnival gaiety returned to the ball-rooms. Nonetheless, it was for this very carnival season that the Strauss brothers wrote a series of masterpieces, which are famous and popular to this day.

During the 1867 carnival revue, which was held on 10 March in the Volksgarten, the following works were played: six new pieces by Johann Strauss, including the waltzes An der schonen blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), op. 314, and Kunstlerleben (Artist's Life), op. 316, as well as the quick polka Leichtes Blut (Light of Heart); eight new compositions by Eduard Strauss and eleven dance pieces by Josef Strauss, including the waltzes Delirien (Delirium), op. 212, and Marien-Klange (Songs to Mary), op. 214, as well as the quick polka Jocus, op. 216. Despite the overwhelming effort that was necessary to compose the traditional dedication pieces for the costume balls, for which the Strauss orchestra provided all the dance music, 'Pepi' Strauss also found time to compose a polka for the Monstre-Maskenball held on 18 February 1867 with the theme 'Viennese Life' (Amor Hall, Strauss Orchestra) and 'Parisian Life' (Flora Hall, military band) at Schwender's. He titled the work 'Viennese Life: an appropiate name for a composition to be played at the recreation centre in the suburb of Rudolfsheim, for the balls at Schwender's were attended on average by 3,000 to 4,000 guests, who fanned out over the two dance-halls and other rooms of the huge colosseum-style building to enjoy folk-music and folk- singer recitals, as well as theatre performances and 'tableaux vivants.' The "broad spectrum of Viennese life thrived" at Schwender's even in difficult times, for one could at least forget one's daily woes there for a few hours. Whether Josef Strauss himself performed his Wiener Leben Polka for the first time at the ball cannot be determined with certainty .Oddly enough, this work does not appear in his notes, nor in the chronicle kept by horn-player Franz Sabay. This leads one to suppose that during this evening at Schwender's only a secondary ensemble of the numerous members of the Strauss orchestra was called in to play and that Edi Strauss directed the music for a while, including the premiere of the Wiener Leben Polka. With the surfeit of novelties, 'Pepi's' Wiener Leben did not receive immediate notice, but during the 1867 summer season it had a prominent place on the Strauss orchestra programmes.


A further title reference is imaginable, for on 16 February 1867 the premiere of the carnival farce Wiener Leben by Anton Bittner, with music by Adolf Muller, Sr., took place.


[4] Schlaraffen. Polka francaise (Fool's Paradise. French Polka) op. 179

Josef Strauss composed the refined Schlaratten-Polka (francaise) for the Strauss Benefit Ball held on 27 February 1865 at the 'Sperl' dance hall. He also entered this date in his notes, but horn-player Franz Sabay had already played this polka in public at a performance on 25 February 1865 at the All Fool's Eve of the Engineers' Glee Club at Diana Hall and also mentioned its premiere in his catalogue. It is understandable that the musician noted this date, for on this evening the Strauss orchestra was decked out in baroque costumes and powdered wigs. In the numerous and considerably detailed news accounts of All Fool's Eve, it was emphasised that the "younger Strauss brothers" (that is, Josef and Eduard) took turns directing the orchestra, "both of them in rococo dress with white wigs." This statement is interesting in that it confirms that Josef Strauss had recovered from the serious episodes which had caused a physical breakdown, and was able to resume his profession.

Life in fool's paradise, which was depicted as enticing by the designer of the title-page of the first edition, was something in which Josef Strauss, an indefatigable worker, seldom indulged. For the carnival 1865 season alone, he wrote a series of master works, including the waltzes Dynamiden, op. 173, and Gedenkblaetter (Pages from Remembrances Past), op. 178. He first allowed himself a short vacation late in the summer of 1865.

The piano score for the Schlaraffen-Polka was issued in April 1865, the orchestra parts in January 1866.


[5] Turner. Quadrille (Athletes. Quadrille) op. 92

In the years after the Revolution of March 1848, the athletics movement started by the Father of Athletics, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, (1778 -1852) spread from Germany to the Danubian monarchy. Groups of young men devoted to body-building exercises sprang up, and the requisite athletic facilities were set up. Naturally, the female and male athletes organized social events and the 'First Viennese Athletic Club' was officially founded by 1861. In the summer of 1860 a festival was held, most likely on 13 August, at the 'Sperl' dance hall in Leopoldstadt. That a festival with unnamed organisers took place on this date is confirmed by newspaper accounts and also by the Strauss orchestra's cash ledger book. No reference to the organisation of an athletic club is to be found therein; it must have been the 'Sperl' festival on 13 August. The Turner-Quadrille, the piano score of which is dedicated to "The Athletes" on its title page, may have been played first in connection with this event. A mention in the Fremden-Blatt newspaper on 24 August includes the work among the novelties of the season, having had its premiere just a few days before. Moreover, on the programme for the Volksgarten concert, in which all the summer compositions of the zealous music director were listed, the Turner-Quadrille appears between the Lustschwarmer-Walzer (Merry Dreamer Waltz), op. 91, of 24 June 1860 and the Tag und Nacht-Polka (Day and Night Polka), op. 93, of 30 July 1860. (A somewhat earlier premiere for the Turner-Quadrille is also possible.) The work was made public, in any case, on 11 October 1860.


[6] La Chevaleresque. Polka-Mazurka (The Chivalrous Woman. Polka-mazurka) op. 42

Among the series of compositions written by Josef Strauss for the summer of 1857, the elegant but resolute polka-mazurka La Chevaleresque stands out. The high point of this densely grouped series was his wedding waltz, Perlen der Liebe (Pearls of Love), op. 39: 'Pepi' was very proud and happy to marry Caroline Pruckmayer on 8 June 1857 in St. John's parish church in Leopoldstadt (today Vienna's second district). On 7 June 1857 Josef Strauss performed the lively polka Gedenke mein (Think of Me) op. 38, for the first time at the Unger's Casino in Hernals, followed on 26 June by the unpretentious polka La Simplicite (Simplicity), op. 40. The La Chevaleresque polka-mazurka was composed at the time of the 1857 Hernals feast of the local patron saint, celebrated at Unger's Casino on 31 August, and it was presented to the public during one of the numerous summer concerts. The work also turned up on the dance programme of the Hernals feast of the local patron saint, although it was still 'new' at the end of August. As important as knowing the date of the work's world premiere is appreciating its place in the series of summer compositions: the polka-mazurka draws the picture of a chivalrous, steadfast lady, who stands out significantly against La Simplicite and calls to mind the ideal wife. In Josef’s case, the ideal wife was his Caroline, to whom Josef dedicated the Perlen der Liebe waltz. This dark polka-mazurka written in a minor-key is therefore especially precious to the music lover.


[7] Frohes Leben. Walzer (Happy Life. Waltz) op. 272

The Frohes Leben waltz was composed in the summer of 1869, which Josef Strauss spent in Pavlovsk near St Petersburg together with his brother Johann and the latter's wife, Jetty .The brothers travelled to Russia with the objective of securing the lucrative summer business at the Vauxhall Pavillion in Pavlovsk for Josef in future years. But the railway company, which organised all the concerts and balls for visitors from St Petersburg, kept delaying the decision, which derailed the Strauss brothers' plans. This understandably depressed 'Pepi: apropos of which he wrote to his wife Caroline, who had remained in Vienna, on 10 September 1869:

I do not look good, I've become paler, my cheeks are hollower, I have lost my hair, I am becoming dull on the whole, I have no motivation to work; my whole imagination is oppressed here by outright boredom and unending monotony. The uncertainty in which I live, not knowing whether I will be engaged or not, makes me more ill and unhappy.

In spite of this, Josef Strauss titled this waltz Frohes Leben, which he performed for the first time, a few days before the aforementioned letter, at a concert in Pavlovsk (to wit: on 6 September 125 August 1869). He may not have been able to fully convince himself through this work to believe in a bright future, but the waltz is nevertheless interesting and worthwhile. It is the waltz of a true Strauss, whose father had made popular the motto: "Be cheerful even in difficult times!"

After his return to Vienna from Pavlovsk, which he would never see again since the hoped-for engagement never materialised, Josef Strauss performed the Frohes Leben waltz for the first time on 14 November 1869 at the Sofiensaal.


[8] Titi. Polka (Titi Polka) op.15

He is portrayed on the title page of the piano score: Titi, the magician and prestidigitator, on a stage set as he draws the public under his spell with his piercing, demonic gaze and prepares or executes a conjuring trick. In the lively polka that Josef Strauss composed in 1856 and which he titled Titi, the demonic is first perceived in the trio, where a motif from the Bacchanalia from Giacomo Meyerbeer's opera Robert le diable is quoted. The animated composition, performed for the first time on 4 May 1856 at Unger's Casino, must have become a favourite with the public, as it appeared for the rest of the summer on the programmes of Josef Strauss's successful concerts. The Titi Polka became so well-known among the listening public that it conspired with its charm to lessen the impact of the absence of Johann Strauss, who spent the 1856 concert season in Pavlovsk near St Petersburg. Josef Strauss proved that he could solidly maintain the orchestra's foremost position in Viennese music circles until his brother's return.


[9] Genovefa. Quadrille (Genevieve. Quadrille) op. 246

In 1859 Jacques Offenbach hurriedly wrote the music for an opera buffa entitled Genevieve de Brabant with the intention of parodying a French medieval story. Offenbach's music received scant attention, but the composer was convinced that he had produced a worthwhile work which deserved success. In 1867, the year of the great World's Fair in Paris, when the newly-opened Theatre des Menus-Plaisirs in the French metropolis was having little success with plays and the hall director turned to the harried Offenbach for a new musical, the composer remembered Genevieve. He allowed the libretto to be reworked and on 26 December 1867 the second version of the work, proudly rebilled as an opera buffa, was staged. This time the work enjoyed greater success, the public being especially impressed with one of its duets.

Near the end of the 1867/1868 season, as summer approached, the administration of the Theater an der Wien was looking for a drama to fill the theatre. The choice went to Offenbach's Genevieve de Brabant. The talented author, orchestra director and composer Julius Hopp produced the German version and on 9 May 1868 it was performed for the first time under the title Genavefa van Brabant in the Theater an der Wien. This proved to be an irresistible stimulus for Josef Strauss to immediately compose a quadrille after the striking motifs of the drama (which was also billed in Vienna as a burlesque opera). Josef Strauss also moved forward the premiere of the quadrille: on 15 May 1868 he presented it to the public at a festival in the Volksgarten. This haste soon proved to be warranted, for on 29 May 1868 the curtain went down for the last time on Offenbach's drama at the Theater an der Wien, after twelve performances.


The quadrille by Josef Strauss remained in the repertoire somewhat longer, but it, too, soon disappeared into the archives of the Strauss orchestra.


[10] Freuden-Gre. Walzer (Best Wishes. Waltz) op.128

In the summer of 1862 Josef Strauss had to travel hurriedly to Russia to replace his brother Johann as director of the summer concerts in Pavlovsk near St Petersburg. Johann had fallen ill and returned to Vienna immediately upon his brother's arrival. Before he actually began his convalescence leave, Johann Strauss married Jetty Treffz (stage name for Henriette Chalupetzky) on 27 August at St. Stephans. Josef resented this, and in the fall, when Johann surreptitiously concluded a new contract with the Russian railway company in St Petersburg, Josef felt that he had been deceived.

However, he dutifully resumed his work at the helm of the orchestra in Vienna; after a brief rest, Josef Strauss organised a festival concert at the 'Sperl' dance hall on 9 November 1862 and presented his waltz Freuden-Gre to the public as the highlight of the novelties from his Russian summer. That 'Pepi' was in fact happy to be able to perform again before 'his audience' is apparent in the character of this masterful composition. The Freuden-Gre waltz was received with enthusiasm and became a permanent fixture on programmes for concerts of Viennese music.


[11] Jokey. Polka schnell (Jockey. Quick Polka) op. 278

Josef Strauss was partial throughout his life to the sport of horseracing. We do not know, however, whether it was possible for him to visit the race-course at the Wiener Prater on a regular basis. He was already indispensable as music director of the Strauss orchestra, but his compositions always feature titles which hint at the interest the shy 'Pepi' had in horse-racing. The last of these compositions was played during the 1870 carnival season, which also turned out to be the last one in the music director's short life. The premiere of the Jokey-Polka (schnell) was promised for a benefit ball by the Strauss orchestra on 17 February 1870 in the flower halls of the Gartenbaugesellschaft (Garden Society). On this occasion, when the work was first played, one can imagine the dancers being whipped into a frenzy as they spun around in time to the driving beat of this polka.


The Jokey-Polka enjoyed a further triumph at the Strauss orchestra's carnival revue on 13 March 1870 at the Music Society: all three Strauss brothers appeared on that occasion before the public in the overflowing Goldenen Hall and personally performed their new works. The review in the critical publication Der Zeitgeist gave it a seal of approval as the high point in a performance that included the waltzes Neu Wien (New Vienna), op. 342, by Johann Strauss, and Tanz-Prioritaten (Priorities of the Dance, or Preferred Stock to Dance By), op. 280, by Josef; the polkas Eisblumen (Frost Flowers) and Stempelfrei (Tax-free), op. 55 and 56 by Eduard; Die Emanzipierte (The Emancipated Woman) and Jokey-Polka, op. 282 and 278 by Joseph, as well as the majestic Egyptischer Marsch (Egyptian March), op. 335, by Johann. The orchestra directors Johann, Joseph and Eduard Strauss tirelessly accommodated requests for encores.


It was a true Strauss concert, with grand music-making before an approving and contented public. The concert on 13 March 1870 is history, but the aura surrounding Strauss concerts remains to this day. They still provide as much joy, especially when Josef Strauss' Jokey-Polka is included on the programme.


[12] Standchen (Serenade)


In April 1861 Richard Wagner arrived in Vienna. Josef Strauss, who had already presented his concert audiences with three fragments from the opera Tristan und Isolde in July 1860 (it was the first rendering of the music of this opera in Vienna, a work rejected by the Imperial Opera House as "unperformable!"), arranged the farewell concert on 15 April at Schwender's, and the first concert in the newly reopened 'Grosser Zeisig' establishment on 20 April, in homage to Wagner. The programmes included: on 15 April, more fragments of Tristan, the overture of the opera Tannhauser; on 20 April, the Steuermannslied (Helmsman's Song) from The Flying Dutchman, fragments from Tristan, and even an arrangement from the opera Das Rheingold! The basic programme also featured Ludwig van Beethoven's Leonore Overture and the Standchen.


Johann Strauss, who had already travelled to Russia before Wagner's arrival, wrote his publisher from Pavlovsk near St. Petersburg: I am very sorry not to have spoken to Wagner. He was in Vienna and I really longed to speak to him while I was there, but now I have to be in St. Petersburg. Do me the favour of writing Wagner, convey my respects and express my regrets at my not having been able to present a serenade in homage to him. - N.B. Why didn't Josef write Wagner any serenade? - Did Strauss make him known in Vienna. (Vienna Municipal and State Library, H.I.N. 41.254).


Johann Strauss was obviously not well-informed about the events in Vienna and thus knew nothing of Josef's activities, but whether Josef managed to offer Wagner a serenade must be considered doubtful; otherwise, some sort of account would have been provided by the newspapers. Even the copious Wagner literature contains no mention of an homage to Wagner by Josef Strauss. It is established, on the other hand, that Wagner attended a Strauss concert (at Schwender's 'Neue Welt' establishment) and had complimentary words for Josef's arrangements. Whether Josef Strauss composed the Standchen as a serenade to Wagner remains an open question; that the work was created simultaneously with Richard Wagner's visit is to be accepted as certain. The Standchen was published along with both of the romances by Johann Strauss (op. 243 and 255) in October 1861 by Haslinger, and without an opus number at that. Later it was used as an intermezzo for the operetta Fruhlingsluft, arranged by Ernst Reitterer.


English translation by:

Dr. Luis de la Vega

Professional Translating Services

Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

Phone: (305) 371-7887

Fax: (305) 381-9824


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