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Contemporaries of the Strauss Family • 3

 

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 third volume (of three) completes this series of orchestral works 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 of Great Britain, which has done much to keep alive the popular music of this era.

Richard Heuberger (1850–1914)

Heuberger, composer, arranger, chorus master and music critic, remains well-known for just one of his five operettas, The Opera Ball (Der Opernball) composed in 1898 with its well known overture and waltz duet Im chambre séparée. But he wrote a considerable amount of other music too. He was the first composer invited to set the story of The Merry Widow to music, but admitted a lack of inspiration and the task was finally entrusted to Franz Lehár. The overture to Ihre Excellenz proved once again that he was a great orchestrator, and it bears some similarity in style, though not in melody, to The Opera Ball. It was subsequently reworked as Eine entzückende Frau with a slightly modified overture. This operetta was produced in 1899. The only other operetta of any note that he wrote was Das Baby, in 1902.

Paul Lincke (1866–1946)

The ‘Berlin Johann Strauss’ Paul Lincke was a prolific composer of operetta and review, of dance music and song, and founded the music publishing company Apollo-Verlag, which still exists today. The period of his greatest creations was around the turn of the 20th century, and Frau Luna was first produced in 1899 at the Apollo Theatre in Berlin. It has appeared on stage ever since, and at the time was seen as a great leap forward in stage productions, as it was based on science fiction. It is to some extent reminiscent of the stories by H.G. Wells, but even today has great scope for special effects on stage. Frau Luna followed soon after his first operetta Venus auf Erden, the overture of which is featured on Volume 1 of Contemporaries of the Strauss Family (8.225365), and the overture to Berliner Luft (1904), a two act burlesque which appears on Volume 2 (8.225366). Paul Lincke produced a number of subsequent operetta successes, including Im Reiche des Indra, Fräuline Loreley, Lysitrata, and Casanova in 1913.

Joseph Labitzky (1802–1881)

Joseph Labitzky and his son August were famous Bohemian composers from Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic who, like the Strauss family, toured extensively but were always overshadowed by those great masters of the art. Amongst the countries that constantly featured in Joseph’s tours was England, and he wrote many pieces which related to the UK, such as the Bedford and Cambridge waltzes, the On the Thames polka schnell, the Erinnerung an London waltz, the Hyde Park gallop, the Londoner Saison waltz and this waltz, Albert, Op 73, dedicated to Prince Albert, which includes an appropriately grand introduction. Musically, it is an original and well-constructed piece, and the waltz has been reconstructed by John Georgiadis from the only existing original handwritten parts in the Labitzky archives in the Czech Republic.

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 much of the music. The archivist Franz Neuwirth of the Wiener International Operetten Gesellschaft helped locate much of the original material, the soprano and musician Pauline Pfeffer of Operetten-Salon in Vienna assisted in the initial research, also the conductor Bohumír Hájek, and researcher Thomas Jelinowicz of The Czech Johann Strauss Society (Fučik and Labitzky), Friedhelm Kuhlman of the German Johann Strauss Society (Oscar Fetrás), and Apollo-Verlag, who were 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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