About this Recording
8.223573 - STRAUSS, Josef: Edition - Vol. 13
English 

Josef Strauss (1827–1870)
Edition • Volume 13

 

[1] Phönix-Marsch (Phoenix March), Op. 105

In 1860, Carl Schwender (1806–1866), the most adept impresario in Vienna during the city’s heyday, bought a vast estate in the suburb of Hietzing with its own historic castle, and on this expanse and at enormous expense he built an amusement park, which he named the “Neue Welt’ (New World). As he had done at the “Colosseum” before it, Schwender also organised concerts and festivals at this spot, from the beginning of the spring season until the end of autumn. Through a plain iron gate, visitors reached the castle and then came, upon turning right, to the park’s flower-beds. By spring, visitors would be greeted by the sight of splendid gardens carpeted in tulips and hyacinths. Interspersed among the natural flowers were hundreds of painted glass tulip cups, which were lit in the evening with tiny gas flames. In the middle of all this, a large restaurant was built, in order to see to the visitors’ gastronomic needs.

The display of flowers was such that right after the opening of the “Neue Welt” on 20th May 1861, throngs of visitors were attracted to Hietzing. Schwender also organised numerous concerts. Josef Strauss had the honour of entertaining the visitors with his orchestra on the opening day. He offered them a copious programme, in which the place of honour was held by the Phönix-Marsch, composed by Josef Strauss specially for this occasion. The work had to be repeated by popular demand and it remained in the repertoire of the Strauss orchestra throughout the summer of 1861.

The “Neue Welt” would later be expanded with numerous attractions and would exist until the year 1883, when it would be subdivided and villas built on it. Today only the name of a small alley in Hietzing recalls Carl Schwender’s grandiose “Neue Welt”.

[2] Deutsche Grüße, Walzer (German Greetings, Waltz), Op. 191

The Industrialists’ Association Ball, which took place on 28th January 1866 in the Redoutensaal at the Imperial Palace in Vienna, was under the aegis of the Princess Metternich, who at that time lived in Paris as the wife of the Austrian envoy to France, Richard, Prince Metternich. The enterprising Princess Pauline proposed to build a German hospital in the French metropolis. Accordingly, the net proceeds of this elegant ball went to her project. Of course, the music for the ball was performed by the Strauss Orchestra. The traditional dedication waltz had been composed by Josef Strauss and the work was titled Deutsche Grüße in reference to the Princess Metternich’s undertaking. The waltz was performed on the night of the ball under the composer’s baton and had to be encored to brisk applause. But the Strauss brothers’ role in this ball evening hardly ended there. Johann Strauss was already planning a guest appearance in the French capital in the year 1867, during the great Paris World Fair, and he hoped to secure the influential Princess’s support for this endeavour. Therefore, he also appeared on 28th January 1866 at the Imperial Palace and even played a waltz dedicated to Pauline, Princess Metternich. This was his masterpiece Wiener Bonbons, Op. 307. But Josef Strauss, too, had prepared further hommage for the Princess, namely the polka mazurka Pauline, Op. 190. Perhaps Josef Strauss was not pleased with this polka during its performance at the Industrialists Association Ball, for he composed a second version of the polka mazurka Pauline.

The waltz Deutsche Grüße was not as popular as his brother’s Wiener Bonbons. But in the 20th century it has had, if you will, a belated echo. The first motif of Deutsche Grüße is reproduced note by note in Cole Porter’s musical comedy, Kiss Me, Kate, in the duet Wunderbar. And it really is… wonderful!

[3] Wiener Polka (Viennese Polka), Op. 13

The polka, a Bohemian national dance, became popular in Vienna in the year 1840. Johann Strauss Senior (1804–1849) and Philipp Fahrbach (1815–1885) took up this new dance form and wrote numerous polkas in the Bohemian style. With his striking compositions, Strauss Senior could be considered a forerunner for a generation of Bohemian composers, including Bedřich Smetana (1824–1884), amongst others.

While Johann Strauss Senior remained true to the Bohemian polka up to the end of his short life, his rival Joseph Lanner attempted to give the polka a more Viennese flavor by, among other things, changing the rhythm of this lively dance in two-four time. In his Amazonen Polka, Op. 9, Johann Strauss Junior also followed the form of the Bohemian polka, though he subsequently adapted the polka’s rhythm to the prevailing dance style of the time (e.g., Hopser-Polka, Zápperl-Polka), and in the year 1854 took up the “Polka française” which originated in Paris.

When Josef Strauss went into the family waltz business’ to relieve his brother in the year 1853, he did not remain faithful to the polka’s Bohemian roots. In his Opus 13, he reaffirmed his own style and gave the polka a distinctly Viennese sound, and was justified in entitling his work Wiener Polka. The illustrator of the title page associated the clever composition with the inner city of Vienna and thus depicted the façade of the imperial palace at Joseph’s Square, along with the equestrian statue of the Emperor Joseph II. However, Josef Strauss played his new polka for the first time in the suburbs: the work was given its première at a charity ball at Schwender’s on 14th January 1854. The charity ball organised by the journalist F.J. Singer, the proceeds of which were used to buy firewood for the poor, was a long-standing Vienna institution. The Strauss brothers Johann and Josef often placed themselves at the service of this undertaking. Both conductors even took turns leading the dance music during the ball on 14th January 1854 at the Schwender establishment. Before the intermission, it was Josef Strauss’s turn to conduct, and he availed himself of the opportunity to present his Wiener Polka for the first time.

[4] Die Galante, Polka mazur (The Amorous Woman, Polka Mazurka), Op. 251

On 22nd June 1868, the Vienna Men’s Choral Society organised one of its then famous summer song festivals at the “Neue Welt” in Hietzing. For the programme within the programme, the Society engaged the Strauss orchestra and requested the performance of its newest repertoires. Johann Strauss accordingly informed the Society that he would personally play his waltz Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald (Tales from the Vienna Woods) at this event. Josef Strauss did not want to be outdone and he readied the première of his newest polka mazurka, Die Galante, for the concert. It stands out among those works in which Pepi. Strauss so skilfully depicted female personalities through the medium of music. At the Vienna Men’s Choral Society’s well-attended and outstanding song festival, which was reported extensively by the Vienna newspapers, attention was concentrated on Johann’s waltz masterpiece, Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald, Op. 325. In the accompanying programme by the Strauss orchestra, the polka mazurka Die Galante received little notice. Josef Strauss thus announced the work once again as a novelty for a holiday concert in the halls of the Gartenbaugesellschaft (Garden Society) on Vienna’s Ringstrasse, which was set for 18th July, but his notes, as well as the diary of the horn player Franz Sabay, confirm that the première of the polka mazurka Die Galante did indeed take place on 22nd June 1868 at the “Neue Welt” in Hietzing. The work first appeared in print in October 1868.

[5] “Toto-Quadrille”, following motifs from the eponymous Offenbach operetta, Op. 265

When Jacques Offenbach’s opera buffa La Château à Toto was performed for the first time at the Palais Royal Theatre on 6th May 1868, spectators and critics were of like mind in their opinion: Offenbach’s seasoned librettists, Messieurs Meilhac and Halévy, had taken minimal pains with the libretto, and had simply copied the plot of the still popular opera La dame blanche, which Boieldieu had set to splendid music in 1825. Regarding Offenbach’s music, the public and the critics were also in agreement; it did not contain anything really new, but rather seemed to be a reworking of those melodies which had already been tested on other occasions. A Paris newspaper stated soon after: “Offenbach is dried up, he is scraping the bottom of the barrel”.

Jacques Offenbach was not upset but instead continued composing his next operetta. It was not until 1 February 1869 that the work, by then half forgotten in Paris, appeared under the simple title of Toto on the stage at Vienna’s Carl Theatre. Not even a fine cast in the otherwise hardly deserving rôles could inspire the public in the Danubian metropolis. Jacques Offenbach’s time of triumph seemed to be over in Vienna, as well. The lukewarm success of the operetta Toto did not keep Josef Strauss from arranging the motifs of the work in the by now customary Offenbach quadrille. Pepi honoured it with the première of his composition; it must have been taken into the Strauss orchestra’s dance repertoire during Carnival season. In his notebook the Toto-Quadrille is not mentioned; the work is also missing from the horn player Franz Sabay’s notes. The piano score appeared on 25th February 1869 from the publishers C.A. Spina. Like the operetta, the Toto-Quadrille evidently had a short life. But it is a pleasant, amusing work which can confidently take its place by the side of other quadrilles of that time.

[6] Herbstrosen, Walzer (Autumn Roses, Waltz), Op. 232

Josef Strauss composed the splendid waltz score Herbstrosen, as can be inferred from its opus number, in the summer of 1867, probably after his return from his short holiday trip to Bad Fusch. The work was first performed at the beginning of the season at the concert in the Blumensälen of the Gartenbaugesellschaft (Garden Society) on Vienna’s Ringstrasse on 13 October 1867. The title Herbstrosen had been used once before by Josef Strauss. In his repertoire for his concerts in the summer of 1862 one finds a Herbstrosen Walzer under the date 13th September. This first summer composition is probably from the year 1862, when Josef Strauss replaced his brother Johann in Pavlovsk, near St Petersburg, and like so many other works from this period which are known to us only by name, it disappeared, so that in 1867 Josef Strauss was free to use this title again. The composition style places the Herbstrosen waltz, which appeared in print immediately following the première in the Blumensälen, in the neighbourhood of the masterpiece Sphärenklänge waltz, Op. 235, from the Carnival of 1868.

[7] Matrosen-Polka (Sailors Polka), Op. 52

The sprightly Matrosen-Polka was performed by its composer Josef Strauss for the first time at the beginning of May 1858—to be exact, on 9th May at a holiday concert at Ungers Casino in Hernals. The work was composed, according to the Fremden-Blatt newspaper, in order to celebrate the presence of His Imperial Highness the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian. From a later notice, it appears that this festival had to be postponed on account of inclement weather. Thus, the première of the Matrosen-Polka can be said to have taken place on 11th May 1858, for on this day it appeared as a new work on the programme for the first summer festival in the Volksgarten.

A report of this summer festival first appears, however, in the Wiener Theater-Zeitung on 16th May 1858. This event, as well, may have had to be postponed because of poor weather. From the TheaterZeitung account, it can in fact be ascertained that “despite the cool weather,” that year’s summer festival in the Volksgarten was attended by numerous people. This concert took place to commemorate the birthdays of the Archduchess Sophie and the Archduke Ludwig Victor; that is, in honour of the mother and brother of the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian. In any case, the Matrosen-Polka was performed on that occasion and the Theater-Zeitung reported: “Strauss brought his newest musical jewels, among which the “MatrosenPolka” was especially well liked, owing to its rich melodies and piquant instrumentation. Each piece had to be performed many times; encores of the ‘Matrosen-Polka’ were even more thunderously requested.”

The title page of the piano score, which appeared on 31 July 1858, shows various sailors dancing on board a warship. The title page does not contain any dedication to the Archduke Maxilimian, who was born in the year 1832. Nevertheless, the connection with the Archduke Maximilian pointed out by the Fremden-Blatt must have existed. The ever-hapless Habsburg was at this time the Superintendent of the Imperial Navy and he remained, in a manner of speaking, on home leave in Vienna.

[8] Extempore, Polka française (Impromptu. French Polka), Op. 241

For the ball of the Hesperus Artists’ Association, which was held on 16th February 1868 in the Dianasaal, all three Strauss brothers, who had already joined the association as members, wrote the dedication compositions which were expected of them. The traditional waltz was under the stewardship this time of Eduard Strauss—he entitled the work Freie Gedanken, Op. 39 (Free Thoughts)—while Johann had promised a quick polka named Sternschnuppe (Shooting Star), and Josef contributed the French polka Extempore, but his Extempore did not receive its due, for Johann Strauss had transformed his Sternschnuppe into a masterly, rousing polka named Unter Donner und Blitz, Op. 324 (Under Thunder and Lightning).

It is noteworthy that all three works were mentioned in the press reports of the ball, irrespective of their effect on the audience. In a short time, however, Johann’s work established itself as a masterpiece; next to its brilliance, the amusing Extempore could not hope for more.

[9] Farewell, Polka (schnell) (Farewell, Quick Polka), Op. 211

The year 1866 was, as it would later become fully clear, a fateful year for the Austrian monarchy, as well for the future of Europe as a whole. In the summer of 1866, in the vicinity of the district of Königgrätz (Sadowa) in Bohemia, the Northern Army of Austria and the troops of the Prussian Kingdom met in combat. The result was the total annihilation of the Habsburg Empire’s troops. Objective historical accounts have established that this conflict grew out of Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s plans to weaken the Austrian Monarchy decisively, in order to undermine its standing in Germany and thus achieve hegemony for his country.

Bismarck achieved his goal—the Habsburg Monarchy was weakened and, with it, all Europe. In Vienna it was common knowledge that the events of the year 1866 would lead at some time in the not-too-distant future to the end of the Austrian Monarchy. The Viennese Wanderer,’ the journalist Daniel Spitzer, alluded to Austria’s fate at the time by stating: “It will all blow over.” It was in this same sense that Josef Strauss entitled Farewell, the quick polka which he played for the first time in the Dianasaal on New Year’s Eve, 1866. He sent off the Austrian Monarchy’s unfortunate year by bidding it farewell.

[10] Wintermährchen, Walzer (Ghost of Winter, Waltz), Op. 66

During the Carnival of 1859, the title of one of Josef Strauss’s most interesting waltzes, namely Wintermährehen, appeared for the first time on the Strauss orchestra’s programmes. The existence of this work was first published in an invitation which was extended by the Strauss brothers, Johann and Josef, to their charity ball to be held on 7th March at the “Sperl” establishment and which appeared in the Fremden-Blatt on 1st March 1859:

“New compositions:

‘Hell und voll’ Waltz, “Irrlichter Waltz, Promotionen” Waltz and Auroraball-Polka, as well as for the first time ‘Deutsche’ Waltz by Johann Strauss.

‘Wintermährchen’ Wältz, ‘Soll und Haben’ Waltz, ‘Saus und Braus’ Polka, ‘Minerva’ Polka Mazurka, ‘Die Kokette’ Polka française by Josef Strauss, as well as the première of ‘Hinter den Coulissen’ Quadrille by Johann and Josef Strauss.”

This invitation affords music lovers a notion of the context in which Josef Strauss performed his splendid Wintermährehen waltz. Regarding the work itself, including the occasion on which it was first heard, no further announcement was made. The simple piano score of the work does not provide any clues. Based on the master copy, it appears, however, that Josef Strauss had intended to compose another concert waltz. Such was indeed his intention, for following the Perlen der Liebe, Op. 39, concert waltz the publisher Carl Haslinger was not willing to issue another work of this description, so he finally arranged it so that the master copy contained both a concert as well as a dance version. The long, fascinating introduction, reminiscent in its orchestral textures and harmonies of Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt, and the meticulous coda were intended only for concert use. In the Strauss concerts for the 1859 season, the concert version was performed repeatedly. The Strauss orchestra retained exclusive possession of the scores. Other orchestras could not perform the waltz, as the publisher, Haslinger, did not publish the orchestral score. The Wintermährehen waltz eventually disappeared completely from the Strauss orchestra’s programmes, as well.

[11] Turnier-Quadrille (Jouster’s Quadrille), Op. 169

In the summer of 1864, the owners of the establishments in the Volksgarten organised a festival concert to commemorate the Emperor’s birthday on 18th August. They called the event the “Jubelfest” (Jubilee Celebration), and promised a brilliant fireworks display at the finale. The event was announced for 17th August, but inclement weather required its postponement until 19th August. In the summer of 1864, however, jousting games were not held in Vienna or in the vicinity of the Imperial City. The people’s attention was focused on the war in Schleswig-Holstein, in which a detachment of the Austrian army also took part. The title page of the piano score of the Turnier-Quadrille, issued on 22nd December 1864, accordingly shows two cavalrymen suited in full armour, their lances at the ready. The temperamental and very melodious Turnier-Quadrille found much acclaim, but was soon forgotten. It is, sad to say, missing from the Strauss orchestra’s later programmes.

Franz Mailer
English translation by Dr. Luis de la Vega


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