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See latest reviews of other albums..., May 2012

The music of Johann Strauss Sr…repays closer and more-frequent hearings…Strauss Sr.’s benefits tremendously from having a strong conductor advocating it, and Christian Pollack is ideal: he consistently performs these works with attentiveness, flair, appropriate musical gestures, and just the right spirit of enjoyment. And the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina is quite wonderful: balanced, enthusiastic and filled with verve and a sure sense of rhythmic vitality. Pollack never attempts to give any of these works more gravity than it deserves, but he allows every waltz plenty of expansiveness and delivers the shorter works with gusto and a healthy dose of enchantment. Strauss Sr.’s ability to produce consistently delightful music becomes clearer with every release in this very fine series. © 2012 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2012

We have reached the years 1846–47, and the Johann Strauss orchestra was in high demand, its founder pouring out new music for every major event in Vienna. That it was almost written to a set formula seemed part of the music’s attraction, though it would soon be overshadowed by the music of his sons, largely due to his inability to create melodies that drilled themselves into your memory. Yet on this disc we meet a work, the much extended waltz, Themis-Klange (Sounds of Themis), where we find Strauss experimenting with some unusual symphonic harmonies, while in the Landlich, sittlich (Bucolic, Proper!) he was using the style of a Landler to create a waltz. That was different, and gave rise to a most catchy melody for the central section. Later in the disc we have the horns adding a very distinctive presence to Herz-Tone (Sounds from the heart), a work dedicated to the medical profession. Strange to relate that, unlike today, the tradition of a New Year’s Day Concert was very much in secondary place to the Viennese Carnival that launched the dance-mad season of balls. Still on the last day of 1846 Strauss premiered a very jolly Neujahrs-Polka (New Year Polka). Though most of his music has slipped into obscurity, the disc as a whole makes for very pleasant, if rather predictable, listening, while Christian Pollack keeps it bouncing along with the very idiomatic Viennese sounds he draws fro the Slovak orchestra. This is volume 21 of the complete dances of Johann Strauss, a real labour of love from Marco Polo. As always, the sound is most likable. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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