KARL KRATZL (1852 - 1904)
Kratzl studied under Josef Hellmesberger Sr at the Vienna Conservatory. He played with the Hofopernorchester (‘Vienna Opera Orchestra’), the source of many of the players for the Vienna Philharmonic, and he then became first violinist in Ziehrer’s ‘Former Eduard Strauss Orchestra’ quickly renamed ‘The First Konzert Kapelle’ following legal objections by Eduard Strauss, who had left for an extended international tour. Here Kratzl played under Ziehrer, and when Ziehrer left for his Romanian tour in 1879 he took over the conducting. Unfortunately for Ziehrer, on his return, he found that Kratzl had hijacked the whole orchestra, and was exclusively playing his own compositions in all his old establishments, to the extent that Ziehrer was no longer a public name. Kratzl’s first batch of compositions were published during this early period, and for the 1880 carnival season. Over the next 13 years he continued to conduct at various venues in Vienna without it seems publishing anything, and then suddenly in 1893 he attracted great attention with one rakish waltz Die letzte Tropfen, Op. 500 (!), whose original title was the French Les Dernières gouttes which he composed for a visiting dancing couple from France who appeared at the Ronacher Theatre in Vienna on 28 February. He composed a few more pieces before once again disappearing from public eye, until his death as a result of an insect bite.