About this Recording
8.225365 - CONTEMPORARIES OF THE STRAUSS FAMILY, Vol. 1 (Czech Chamber Philharmonic, Georgiadis)
English 

Contemporaries of the Strauss Family • 1

 

Much of the music of the Strauss family has been recorded and is well known, but there were many other talented composers who produced a large amount of popular music in a similar vein in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This first album provides an orchestral compilation taken from a small fraction of what was the popular music of the day. Extensive research by The Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain went into this selection, and John Georgiadis, the conductor of this series, has reconstructed some works from original archive material, and in a few cases made entirely new orchestrations. The inspiration has been a desire to remind us of some of the forgotten, yet glorious melodies that were created by many of the central European light music composers, whose music provided an escape for the population from the daily hardships of life. This unique compilation also celebrates the Fiftieth Anniversary of The Johann Strauss Society, which has done much to keep alive the popular music of this era.

Johann Schrammel (1850–1893)

Josef Schrammel and his older brother Johann were famous for creating the still popular Schrammel music which is played by a quartet of two violins, contra guitar and either a high clarinet or a button accordion, which produces its distinctive sound. The younger Johann Strauss occasionally enjoyed their music for his own relaxation but was once said to be reluctant to listen too hard so as not to become infected by their melodies. Had this music ever been written for full orchestra at the time, the brothers might have been able to challenge the giants among light music composers. Only a very few pieces were later orchestrated. We open with the popular Dornbacher Hetz [1] march.

Iosef Ivanovici (1845–1902)

Known as the Romanian waltz king, Iosef Ivanovici was a prolific composer, still today only famous for his waltz Waves of the Danube, often incorrectly attributed to Johann Strauss II. The Johann Strauss Societies of Great Britain and Romania and the conductor John Georgiadis have rediscovered over the past decade this highly talented and prolific composer, introducing a whole host of his forgotten works. Most carry Ivanovici’s signature in his melancholy use of the minor key, which always slips back comfortably into a happy major key, and Visuri de Aur [2] is typical of this style.

Joseph Lanner (1801–1843)

Joseph Lanner was regarded by many as being the inventor of the Viennese Waltz. His early musical life was closely tied to Johann Strauss I, who played in his orchestra, but in 1825 Lanner and Strauss went their separate ways. Although they remained close friends, they were serious rivals in composing and performing dance music. Lanner’s musical output totaled over 200 works, his most famous being the waltzes Die Romantiker and Die Schönbrunner. Two items are included, the Tourbillon Galopp [3], and for the first time, his last composition, the somewhat different Bolero [10], written in Spanish style.

Philip Fahrbach Jr (1843–1894)

Philip Fahrbach Sr. (1815–1885) also played in Johann Strauss father’s orchestra, and both he and his son worked together for a period before forming their own orchestras. Both composers were prolific, and composed much in the same style as Strauss, but they are rarely heard today, mainly because at the time they were eclipsed by the fame of Strauss. Three short pieces by Fahrbach the younger, a march in honour of Franz Ferdinand [4] whose assassination a hundred years ago triggered the First World War, a brilliant fast polka [9], and a gentle polka mazurka [12] are featured. Both father and son also wrote many attractive waltzes, and between them, they created some 800 compositions.

Oscar Fetrás (1854–1931)

Known at the time as the Johann Strauss of Hamburg, Fetras was a contemporary and admirer of Johann Strauss II, and a personal friend. His only well known work and much recorded waltz remains Moonlight on the Alster, but he wrote a whole range of dance pieces, and arrangements of other music. He was resident conductor at the highly popular Uhlenhorster Farhaus in Hamburg, and for years delighted the city’s inhabitants at this establishment. A few of his pieces survive on old shellac records but none exist in full form, so the waltz Uhlenhorster Kinder [5] recorded here is an appropriate reminder of those forgotten times.

Joseph Hellmesberger Jr (1855–1907)

Son of a musician prominent at the end of the nineteenth century, the younger Joseph Hellmesberger is affectionately known as the father of the Vienna Philharmonic, hence his compositions are now often included in the Vienna New Year Concerts. He wrote a number of operettas and other dance pieces, most of which carry his more modern and clearly identifiable melodic style, different from that of the Strauss family. We include Gavotte d’enfants [6], a short piece he composed for piano and orchestrated by John Georgiadis for this recording, and Estudiantina Polka, which is taken from the ballet The Pearl of Iberia [15].

Carl Millöcker (1842–1899)

Calr Millocker was the third giant of nineteenth-century operetta after Strauss and Suppe. He died on 31 December 1899, the same year as Johann Strauss II. He focussed on operetta and only wrote a few other pieces. Although many of his operettas are still performed today, his orchestral dance pieces and overtures from these operettas have only been sporadically performed in recent times. Among the best known is the overture to Der Bettelstudent. We choose a march polka, Steckbrief [7], which is a less usual dance form which uses the two rhythms in one piece. It comes from his 1884 operetta Der Feldprediger.

Alfons Czibulka (1842–1894)

Czibulka was the third of a trio of central European bandmasters, the first two being Komzak and Ziehrer, and like them, wrote a whole range of popular music, not only in military style. He is generally, however, the most neglected of the three, and it is appropriate that we include an example of his many varied compositions, the little dance piece In der Sennbutt’n [8].

Kurt Schmid (b 1942)

There is at least one living Viennese composer who has extensively composed Viennese music in true traditional style. For the past thirty years Kurt Schmid, who is also a renowned clarinet player, has performed, recorded, and arranged a wide range of such music including overtures, ballet, waltzes, polkas and marches for ensemble, wind band, full orchestra and also for choir. This march [11] is dedicated to mark the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain. He has done much to promote this genre of music throughout his active career, and it is comforting to know that the art of original melodic composition lives on today.

Joseph Gung’l (1809–1889)

Gung’l was a prolific Hungarian composer of the first generation and like Johann Strauss I toured extensively throughout Europe. He came from a musical family. His popular Casino Dances were well known, but this is the first recording [13]. The important flute part, presumed lost, was missing in all the printed editions, and John Georgiadis has recreated this, so that we have for the first time a complete full orchestral performance as close to its original form as possible.

Carl Michael Ziehrer (1843–1922)

The main rival to the Strauss brothers Johann and Eduard was C.M. Ziehrer. His numerous compositions often matched Strauss in creativity, and he was a prolific composer of dance music and operetta. He is well represented with six volumes of recordings on Marco Polo. Included here is one hitherto unrecorded item, John March [14], with its distinctively Hungarian flavour, which Ziehrer did not often use. It was written in his earlier career, as a bandmaster, a route he chose on three occasions to circumvent the dominance of the Strauss brothers.

Paul Lincke (1866–1946)

Known as the Berlin Johann Strauss, Paul Lincke was the leading operetta composer of the time in Germany and wrote a string of successes at the turn of the nineteenth century. He conducted for two seasons at the Folies-Begeres in Paris. Only Frau Luna remains a stage favourite amongst his many delightful operettas (the Overture is scheduled for release as a download, 9.70228) and most of his countless other works including many of his songs and revues are no longer heard. This album features his overture to Venus auf Erden [16], written in 1897.

Acknowledgements

This production would not have been possible without the dedicated support of a number of people and institutions, above all John Georgiadis, who arranged and restored a lot of the music. The archivist Franz Neuwirth of the Wiener International Operetten Gesellschaft helped locate much of the original material, and the soprano and musician Pauline Pfeffer of Operetten-Salon in Vienna assisted in the initial research. The Johann Strauss Society of Japan (Czibulka and Hellmesberger) and Friedhelm Kuhlmann of the German Johann Strauss Society (Oscar Fetras) also provided helpful input, and the publisher Apollo-Verlag was kind enough to assist in the provision of compositions by Paul Lincke.


John Diamond
Chairman, The Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain


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