About this Recording
9.80003 - KARAJAN, Herbert von: Philharmonia Pop Concert (1953-1955)

Herbert von Karajan
Philharmonia Pop Concert


[01] Les Patineurs (The Skaters), Waltz, Op. 183

[02] Tritsch-Tratsch Polka, Op. 214

[03] Radetzky March, Op. 228

[04] España
[05] Joyeuse marche

[06] Unter Donner und Blitz (Thunder and Lightning), Schnell-Polka, Op. 324

[07] Leichte Kavallerie (Light Cavalry): Overture

[08] Schwanda the Bagpiper: Polka

[09] Orphee aux enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld): Overture


[1] The Viennese tradition of the waltz had its light-hearted French counterpart in Waldteufel, born Emile Levy in Strasbourg in 1837. He came to occupy a position similar to that of Strauss in Vienna as director of music for the court balls under the patronage of the Empress Eugenie, until the revolution after the defeat of the Franco-Prussian war. His career was resumed largely through the patronage of the Prince of Wales. His famous Skaters' Waltz (Les patineurs) belongs to this later period of his life.

[2] On 24 November 1858, at one of his first concerts in Vienna, Strauss introduced a new piece as an encore, the Tritsch-Tratsch Polka. The new work proved a sensation, prompting the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung to say its review 3 days later: "Johann Strauss's enormously successful 'Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka', which has been received with the most tempestuous applause, will appear in the next few days from Carl Haslinger. No dance composition of such freshness, humorous colouring and piquant instrumentation can have appeared for years". Demand for the new work was so overwhelming that Haslinger was obliged to publish it immediate: the piano arrangement of the polka was written out in just a few hours and its first printed edition was announced on 1 December 1858. The first edition sold out immediately and was reprinted several more times to meet demand.

[3] Johann Strauss's Radetzky March was written in 1848, the year before his death. It celebrated the victory of the Austrian Imperial army under Field-Marshal Johann Josef Wenzel, Count Radetzky von Radetz, against Italian forces at Custozza and was allegedly written in the space of two hours.

[4] 'A man of exquisite gentleness and sudden exuberance', 'the soul of a sentimental girl in the body of a water carrier', Emmanuel Chabrier is the great forgotten man of French music. Chabrier and his wife visited Spain in1882, a four-month stay which had an appreciable effect on the composer's life and which is the source of his most well known orchestral work: España. Performed on 4 November 1883 at the Société des Nouveaux Concerts, the rhapsody España is conceived for a full, colourful orchestra where the harp takes on melodies, the horns, trombones and tuba sing, the woodwind dazzle. All is contrast and delight. 'The musical qualities of both north and south are mingled or superimposed.' Chabrier used the rhythms and motifs noted in Spain without ever seeking to copy them exactly

[5] Chabrier considered his Joyeuse marche (originally entitled 'Marche française' then 'Marche joyeuse') 'idiotically comical; the musicians were in stitches'. Dedicated to Vincent d'Indy, this 'masterpiece of high fantasy' is, according to Debussy, filled to overflowing with bold and colourful innovations, and with the good-natured humour characteristic of Chabrier. Let us hope that the audacious harmonics, the novel and quirky instrumentation, the almost grotesque consistency of sound, the constant rhythmic invention, at last do justice to this composer loved and admired by his peers and misunderstood by the public at large.

[6] Unter Donner und Blitz (Thunder and Lightning) was written in 1868 for the annual Hesperus Ball and invokes the Thunder and Lightning of the title with the help of the percussion section. Thunderous timpani rolls and lightning cymbals crashes gives flashes of sound and fury above a humorous and light-hearted work.

[7] Leichte Kavallerie ('Light Cavalry'), a comic operetta in two acts, with a text by C. Costa, was first staged at the Carltheater on 21 March 1866. The overture opens with a fanfare, echoed, before launching into the familiar music of sparkle and brilliance.

[8] The Polka comes from Jaromír Weinberger's successful opera, Schwanda the Bagpiper. The opera was completed in 1927 and had its premier the same year – while the opera has fallen out of the repertoire, the polka is still a favorite.

[9] It was not until 1855 that Offenbach was able to begin to make a success of his stage works. Three years later he put on the operetta that was to make his name, Orpheus in the Underworld, a parody of Gluck's famous opera. Act IV starts with a boring minuet which, much to everyone's enjoyment, escalades into a infernal dance more commonly known as the "Can-Can."


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