About this Recording
8.225344 - STRAUSS I, J.: Edition - Vol. 24
English  German 

Johann Strauss Snr
Edition • Vol 24

 

[1] Brünner National-Garde-Marsch (Brno National Guard March), Op 231
The revolutionaries of 1848 secured their power through the national guards which had been formed by townspeople, workers and students in all the larger cities of the monarchy. Sometimes there was fraternization between local organizations, which was celebrated with particular solemnity. On 2 June 1848 130 national guardsmen from Brno demonstrated in Vienna. Two days later there was a return visit by the Viennese National Guard, which lasted until 6 June. On 30 July a deputation from the Brno National Guard turned up again in Vienna, this time for four days. On 1 August guardsmen of the Viennese suburb of Leopoldstadt, with a group of musicians at their head, collected their Brno comrades from their quarters and accompanied them to the Sperl ballroom. There Karl Carl, director of the nearby theatre named after him, put on a big gala in their honour at which Johann Strauss the Elder was also present. Presumably it was on this occasion that his Brno National Guard March was first heard.

[2] Landes-Farben (Schwarz-Roth-Gold) (National Colours / Black, Red, Gold), Walzer, Op 232
Yes, yes, the time has become something else, something serious, and now we have more important things to do than to argue about waltzes. Even Strauss must feel the pressure of the time just as much as so many others, and he is still the only one in his field in whom one seeks refuge when the cup of sorrow is overflowing.” A newspaper editor wrote these words in a review of a large gala with song, music, lighting and fireworks which Strauss had given on 26 July 1848 on the Wasser-Glacis, an area which is now the Stadtpark. Strauss had come up with two new pieces whose titles took into account the mood of the times: a March of the United Germany (see Volume 23 / 8.225343) and a set of waltzes called Black-Red-Gold. The title of the latter work was a reference to the colours of the flag of the united Germany. In the revolutionary year of 1848 the demand for a unified state was popular, but at the time of the publication of the printed edition of this work, when the old order was restored, it was regarded as high treason. It was for this reason that Haslinger, the publisher of the work, chose the innocuous title of National Colours.

[3] Huldigungs-Quadrille (Homage Quadrille), Op 233
On 28 May 1847, as he had done in previous years, Strauss played in the imperial-royal Volksgarten for the name-day of Emperor Ferdinand I. The celebration went ahead as usual “…with special lighting and decoration” and Strauss came up with the obligatory new piece for the occasion. Its title had already been revealed in an advertisement of the newspaper which was promoting the event, doubtless in order to attract a larger number of visitors. The advertisement promised “…a newly composed quadrille by him (Strauss), written specially for this evening, with the title: Homage Quadrille” which Strauss himself would perform. The public had no inkling that this was to be the last such day of homage that Strauss would present for his Emperor Ferdinand. One year later, in Innsbruck, the Emperor had to look on as the revolutionaries led the charge in Vienna.

[4] Louisen-Quadrille (Louisa Quadrille), Op 234
The circumstances of the first performance of the Louisa Quadrille are not known. For the time being the significance of the title can only be conjecture. It is conceivable that it could have a connection with Marie Louise, the daughter of Emperor Franz I and a former wife of Napoleon. After Napoleon’s downfall she was installed as ruler of the Duchy of Parma; she died in 1847 and her mortal remains were transferred to the Imperial Crypt in Vienna. Just as questionable is a possible reference to the royal Prussian Order of Louise which was named by King Fredrick William III in honour of his wife. This, the highest of the Prussian orders devoted to women, was awarded, among other worthies, to women who had rendered outstanding services to the wounded during the revolution of 1848/9—admittedly only after the restoration of the order in 1850. But by then the printed edition of the Quadrille had already appeared.

[5] Piefke und Pufke-Polka (Piefke and Pufke Polka), Op 235
In all of literature there is no reference to a contemporary performance of a work by Strauss with this title. The following review of a ball which took place on 4 February 1849 in the Sophienbad Hall in honour of the swimming and bathing guests, however, could be a reference to the Piefke and Pufke Polka: “As usual there was much dancing; the new quadrille and polka by Strauss, especially the first of which, with the title The Carnival a Dream, was melodious and full of character, had to be encored to rapturous applause; the entertainment was informal and genial. Contentment was universal and everyone left the room having experienced a happy evening.” It must be assumed that the quadrille referred to is lost. At the turn of the year 1848/9, however, Piefke and Pufke were in great demand as the successors of the two comic figures Dr Eisele and Baron Beisele who, two years earlier, had begun their triumphant march from Munich (see Volume 21 / 8.225341).

[6] Damen-Souvenir-Polka (Ladies’ Souvenir Polka), Op 236
Even in the 19th century journalists knew how to create tension. On 6 February 1849 the Wiener Zeitung announced that in precisely one week’s time Strauss would put on a big celebratory ball in the Sophienbad Hall, and added the following cryptic phrase “…about which the details will follow”. The advertisement was run again two days later, this time with the declaration that it was about “…the farewell and thanks of the royal-imperial Court Ball Music Director Johann Strauss before his forthcoming departure”. There was also talk of little souvenirs for the ladies. On the day of the event itself the Austrian Courier was, at last, more specific: “In order to honour the ladies present with a special token of esteem, 400 copies of a brand new polka, which was also being performed for the first time this evening, and with the title Ladies’ Souvenir Polka, were handed out in an elegant version for piano.

[7] Des Wanderers Lebewohl (The Wanderer’s Farewell), Walzer, Op 237
For the celebratory ball “Farewell and Thanks” which Strauss gave on 13 February 1849 in the Sophienbad Hall, not only did he give the first performance of the Damen-Souvenir-Polka (see above) but also of a set of waltzes with the characteristic title The Wanderer’s Farewell. “There can be no doubt…” proclaimed the Austrian Courier that with the general popularity which Strauss enjoys, attendance at this ball, which promises so many goodies, would be exceedingly high, the more so since the fun-loving Viennese will have to do without the pleasure of hearing Strauss for some considerable time since, as soon as Carnival was over, he will set off for a big trip abroad with his whole entourage.” Although the Netherlands and London were cited as travel destinations, it was soon rumoured, erroneously, that Strauss might even take himself off to America. But what nobody could have foreseen was that this tour would be the last that he would ever make.

[8] Alice-Polka, Op 238
On 22 April 1849 Strauss and his orchestra reached London. As had happened on his first stay in England, he was also accorded the honour of being presented to Queen Victoria. On 30 April Strauss and his players were invited to provide the music for the first large court ball of the season. In all there were 1600 guests in attendance; everybody who was anybody was there. Because of the ball, even the second reading of a Parliamentary Bill whereby Jews should no longer be excluded from Parliament, was postponed for a week. Strauss and his men knew yet again how to win over the journalists with the precision and rhythmic accentuation of their playing. In the new Alice-Polka, written specially for the occasion, one could see a future box-office hit: “The time is admirably marked, and the melody piquant and graceful.” The work is named after Alice Maud Mary, the then six-year-old daughter of Queen Victoria.

[9] Frederica-Polka, Op 239
London’s press had realised correctly the reasons for Strauss’s guest appearance: “Even if the revolutionary mania of Austria has unsettled Germany, at least England has no reason to lament the political shenanigans: for no doubt it is because of this that we are indebted for Strauss’s presence amongst us.” On 23 April 1849 Strauss had begun his concert activities in the Queen’s Concert Rooms, better known because of its geographical location as the Hanover Square Rooms. In the penultimate concert of the series, on 12 June 1849, Strauss gave the first performance of his Frederica-Polka. The only bearer of that name in the royal family to whom the title could refer was Princess Friederike of Hanover, the eldest daughter of the Crown Prince and the Princess of Hanover, who had been born the year before. The London publishing house Cocks & Co brought out the polka in July 1849, pre-empting Strauss’s regular Viennese publisher Haslinger by one month.

2 Märsche der königlichen spanischen Nobelgarde (Two Marches for the Spanish Noble Guard), Op 240

[10] Triumph-Marsch (Triumphal March), Op 240a
[11] Manövir Marsch (Manoeuvres March), Op 240b

The big celebratory ball which Strauss had given on 13 February 1849 in the Sophienbad Hall expressly as a departing gesture prior to his forthcoming visit to England was in fact not his final farewell. This actually took place barely three weeks later. “On Sunday 4 March the royal-imperial Court Ball Music Director Herr Johann Strauss presented his farewell evening concert in the environs of the royal-imperial Volksgarten, an event which was so well attended by his legions of admirers that one could consider oneself lucky just to have secured somewhere to stand; this was firm evidence for Herr Strauss how treasured and loved he is here. On this evening Strauss performed two of his most dignified compositions, among which were also two marches commissioned by the Queen of Spain: the Triumphal March and Guards’ March. Both were much repeated. At the end a laurel wreath was thrown to the departing favourite, which Strauss, visibly moved, accepted.” On the following evening the Viennese public marvelled at the appearance of the planet Venus, extraordinarily bright in the sky. Was this a good omen for the new undertaking of their adored Strauss?

Details concerning the premières of compositions which took place in England are taken from the highly meritorious article by Peter Kemp, Reflections from Albion, Part 2, published in Vienna Music, Journal of The Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain, No 89 (Spring 2005).


Thomas Aigner
English translation by David Stevens


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