Strauss II, the most famous and enduringly successful of 19th-century light
music composers, was born in Vienna on 25 October 1825. Building
upon the firm musical foundations laid by his father, Johann Strauss I (1804-1849)
and Joseph Lanner (1801-1843), the younger Johann (along with his brothers,
Joseph and Eduard) achieved so high a development of the classical Viennese
waltz that it became as much a feature of the concert hall as of the ballroom.
For more than half a century Johann II captivated not only Vienna but also the
whole of Europe and America with his
abundantly tuneful waltzes, polkas, quadrilles and marches. The thrice-married
'Waltz King' later turned his attention to the composition of operetta, and
completed 16 stage works besides more than 500 orchestral compositions -
including the most famous of all waltzes, The Blue Danube (1867). Johann
Strauss II died in Vienna on 3 June 1899.
Marco Polo Strauss Edition is a milestone in recording history, presenting, for
the first time ever, the entire orchestral output of the 'Waltz King'. Despite
their supremely high standard of musical invention, the majority of the
compositions have never before been commercially recorded and have been
painstakingly assembled from archives around the world. All performances
featured in this series are complete and, wherever possible, the works are
played in their original instrumentation as conceived by the master orchestrator
himself, Johann Strauss II.
(Napoleon March) op.156
the autumn of 1854 Johann Strauss came to a political decision: he composed a
march and dedicated it "in deepest reverence to his Majesty Napoleon III
[1808-73], Emperor of France [1852-70]". By this action he took sides in a
dispute which, against the background of the Crimean War, had split the
population of the Danube monarchy and, above all, of the Imperial capital
Vienna into two camps. What had led to this disharmony?
about hegemony in the Balkans and the region around the Bosphorus, Russian
troops marched into Moldavia in July 1853, whereupon Turkey, which then had
sovereignty over this region, declared war on the Tsar's empire. Russia had
tried to win the Danube monarchy's support for its policy: Tsar Nicholas I travelled
to Olmütz (today Olomouc, Czechoslovakia) and begged the young Austrian Emperor
Franz Josef to intervene in the dispute on the side of Russia. The generals of
the Imperial-Royal army were prepared to go along with this request, but the
politicians - to some extent under the influence of the elderly Prince Metternich
- opposed it, because the British and French were uniting against Russia's
action. An ambassadors' conference meeting in Vienna, at which diplomats from
Austria, Prussia, Britain and France took part, ended on 9 April 1854 with the
signing of a protocol guaranteeing Turkish territory. Russia, Austria's ally
for more than a century, would subsequently never forgive the Habsburg monarchy
for what it considered ingratitude for Russian intervention to quell the
Hungarian uprising of 1849.
has already been said, the diplomats of the Danube monarchy took the side of
the Allies, and this opinion was shared by the majority of the Viennese
population, including the 28-year-old Johann Strauss. When - in spite of the
raging cholera epidemic - the 'French Party' organised a "Napoleon
Festival" for 12 October 1854 at Karl Schwender's casino in the suburb of Rudolfsheim
(today, the 15th District of Vienna), the Morgen-Post (12.10.1854) announced that
on this occasion Johann would conduct the Strauss Orchestra in the first
performance of a specially composed Napoleons-Fest-Marsch (Napoléon Festival
March). Three days after the celebration, on 15 October, the Wiener Neuigkeits-Blatt
published a short report on the proceedings: "Vienna, 14.10. - The
popularity which Schwender's premises have achieved manifested itself again at
the grand festival which took place the day before yesterday, which was
attended by the élite of society. The 'Napoleon-Marsch' by Johann Strauss
pleased, and had to be repeated three times". That November it was
announced in the Viennese press that "his Majesty, the Emperor Napoléon
III, has been pleased to accept the dedication of the 'Napoleon March' composed
by Johann Strauss". For his part, the French monarch expressed his
gratitude to the young Viennese 'Musikdirektor' by arranging for him to be
presented with a golden pearl-topped pin.
Napoleon-Marsch enjoyed considerable success as a musical composition - the Österreichischer
Zuschauer (3.01.1855) deemed it "really sparkling and full of life" -
but precisely because of it, and because of the Alliance-Marsch (op.158, Volume
18 of this CD series) written a little later, Johann found that his own
ambivalent political position led to his being rather disparagingly referred to
as "a true beachcomber of world history" (Morgen-Post, 1.01.1855).
Considering that in March 1856 Russia had to agree to the terms of the Peace of
Paris, having lost the Crimean War and ascribing her defeat to the Austrian
threat to join the Allies, it is surprising that Johann Strauss chose to play
his Napoleon-Marsch at the opening concert of his début Russian season at Pavlovsk
in May 1856, thereafter performing the work a further fifteen times during his
five-month concert engagement there.
(Dances of Gambrinus) op. 97
the patron saint of brewers, was the mythical Flemish king who is credited with
the first brewing of beer. It would seem his name derives from that of Jan
Primus (= John I), the victorious Duke of Brabant (1261-94), who was President
of the Brussels Guild of Brewers and whose portrait, showing him with a foaming
tankard of ale in his hand, had place of honour in the Brussels Guildhall. It
is this portrait which probably lead to the legend of the 'Beer King', Gambrinus,
who is usually portrayed in paintings clasping a tankard.
Vienna so much beer was being drunk, even as early as the 13th century, that
the owners of its wine gardens, seeing their livelihoods threatened, secured a
prohibition on the unrestricted brewing and sale of beer. Thus, would-be
brewers were forced to apply for the right to brew ale from the ruling
sovereign who held the monopoly.
25-year-old Johann Strauss wrote his hypnotic waltz Gambrinus-Tänze in the
summer of 1851 for one of the many large-scale festivals he arranged in the
manner of those organised by his late father - at that time still revered by
the Viennese as the "unforgotten Waltz King". The appropriate choice
of venue for Strauss's benefit on 7 July 1851 was Johann Dengler's 'Bierhalle'
establishment in the Viennese suburb of Fünfhaus, just in front of the old Mariahilf
line-ramparts (approximately on the site of the present Westbahnhof station),
and the event itself was a splendid scenic festival with the title "The
Banquet in the Crystal Palace of Gambrinus". Besides the Strauss
Orchestra, two military bands had been engaged to perform the music - the Grand
Duke Constantin of Russia Infantry Regiment, under bandmaster JosefLiehmann,
and the KingofSaxonyCuirassier Regiment, under bandmaster Ignaz Wanek. A
paragraph in the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung for 6 July 1851 read:
"For this festival Herr Strauss has composed a new piece of music entitled
'Kaiser-Jäger-Marsch' [op. 93, Volume 20 of this CD series], which will be
performed by 140 musicians in the garden before the opening of the ball. During
the ball festivity the host will playa new waltz, 'Gambrinus- Tänze'. For all
of this the poster promises an astonishing arrangement which, to judge by the
well known taste of Herr Strauss, will surpass all expectation". The two
military bands combined with the Strauss Orchestra to perform the new march,
while Johann and the Strauss Orchestra played the music for the ball.
what the reviewer for Der Wanderer (8.07.1851) described as "unfavourable,
cool and dubious weather", Johann's benefit was well patronised. Reporting
on the entertainment, the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung (10.07.1851)
estimated that "around 3 to 4,000 people attended, who received the latest
compositions by the young, proficient maestro with repeated applause and
demands for encores. Strauss spared no expense to make the festival one of the
most interesting of this season - and his success was complete".
Polka française (Pigeon-Post. French polka) op. 237
letters which Johann Strauss wrote to Olga Smirnitskaja in 1859, during his
fourth consecutive season of summer concerts in Pavlovsk near St. Petersburg,
reveal not only his passion for the young and spirited Russian ("My all,
my angel") whom he had first met there in 1858, but also his awareness of
the vehemence with which her aristocratic parents opposed the liaison. After
returning to Vienna at the end of October he continued to write to Olga, but
one senses that he already realised their affair had no future and that the
dutiful daughter was obedient to the wishes of her parents. On 21 November 1859
Johann wrote to her: "Without being bidden, only following my heart's desire,
I have taken up my pen to ask you if you still love me and to beg you not to
forget your sincere Jean [=Johann]". Early the following year, Olga
brought the relationship to an end when she announced her engagement to
the pain which Johann felt at this news, the arrival of the 1860 Vienna
Carnival obliged him to put aside his innermost feelings and apply himself once
more to the demands of the dance-hungry Viennese revellers. Between them, Johann
and his brother Josef contributed twelve new compositions to the celebrations,
and presented the full complement of these novelties at their traditional
"Carnival Revue" of the new dances they had written for the current
year's Fasching. The advertisements for the concert to be held in the Volksgarten
on 26 February 1860 revealed an additional number on the programme, a French
polka entitled Der Liebesbote (The Messenger of Love). By the time Johann
played the work again at a concert on 29 February in the 'Zum grossen Zeisig'
tavern and dance hall on the Burgglacis, the polka bore a new name: Taubenpost,
under which title Carl Haslinger's publishing house issued the work in July
1860. Perhaps, immediately following the first performance, Johann had received
Olga's letter and recognised the absolute finality of the situation. Since Johann
himself admitted "it is well-nigh generally known that I left my heart in
St. Petersburg", he was only too aware that his female admirers in Vienna
would have understood to whom he was sending "The Messenger of Love".
But a message sent by "Pigeon Post" indicated no romantic
appears to have aroused little interest in Vienna: it featured in only a few of
the Strauss brothers' concerts during spring 1860, and was completely
overlooked in a lengthy assessment of their musical activities published by Der
Zwischen-Akt on 6 March that year.
Unzertrennlichen. Walzer (The Inseparable Ones. Waltz) op. 108
3 July 1852 Johann Strauss's waltz Die Unzertrennlichen was issued by Carl Haslinger's
publishing house in the usual editions for piano, piano and violin, and full
orchestra. The piano edition bears the composer's "most respectful"
dedication to "the highly esteemed Committee of the Citizens' Ball held in
the Imperial-Royal Redoutensaal in Vienna on 23 February 1852". There is,
however, an error in this inscription, for the Citizens' Ball ('Bürgerball')
actually took place a week earlier than stated, on 16 February 1852.
Vienna Carnival of 1852 was a rather joyless affair, conducted as it was in a
capital city which was still under martial law following the tragic events of
1848. The Citizens' Ball was indeed the first which had been held in Vienna
since the March Revolution, and it remains unclear who provided the stimulus for
its revival. Possibly it was the citizens themselves, who desired a
normalisation of their relationship with the Imperial House, and thus a return
to the situation of the Biedermeier period when the annual Citizens' Balls
offered artisans and tradespeople, civil servants and teachers, welcome
opportunities for representation in the right circles. Alternatively, the young
Emperor Franz Josef's advisors may have promoted the idea of reinstating the
balls as a means of partially overcoming the alienation which had occurred in
1848 between the House of Habsburg and the population of Vienna.
Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung for 22 January 1852 announced that Johann
Strauss would perform a new waltz at the Citizens' Ball on 16 February, though
the work was not named by the paper nor by the reviews which followed this
particular event. The title page of op. 108 alone identifies it as Die Unzertrennlichen.
In the issue of 17 February 1852, however, the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung
stated: " Johann Strauss's benefit in the Sperl takes place today. Apart
from his latest compositions, he will also perform a new waltz, 'Die Unzertrennlichen',
written especially for this ball festivity". Two days later the Wiener Allgemeine
Theaterzeitung (19.02.1852) reported on the benefit, opining that
"Strauss's newest waltz, 'Die Unzertrennlichen', proved itself the most
one is to conclude that the illustrator responsible for designing the title
page of Die Unzertrennlichen was entirely incorrect in the information he gave,
then it seems probable - despite reports indicating that Johann composed the
dance piece for his benefit ball in the Sperl on 17 February - that the waltz
was played for the first time the previous night, 16 February 1852, at the
Citizens' Ball in the Redoutensaal.
written for the Citizens' Ball or for his own benefit ball, Strauss's choice of
waltz title would seem to be appropriate - "The Inseparable Ones"
referring either to the staunch followers of the Emperor amongst the citizens
of Vienna, or to Johann's own faithful admirers who regularly supported him at
the Sperl dance hall.
(Epicure Quadrille) op. 86
Bonvivant-Quadrille belongs to that group of compositions with which the
younger Johann Strauss strove to gain favour within Imperial circles after
recognising that his pro-radical stance during the Revolutionary upheavals of
1848 had led the Austrian Court to consider him persona non grata.
18-year-old Franz Josef I (1830-1916), son of Archduke Franz Karl, was
proclaimed Emperor of Austria on 2 December 1848, only shortly after he had
fought in Italy under Field Marshal Radetzky. An absolute monarch, at first he
was in no way popular, despite his stern sense of duty and unwavering conscientiousness.
It was thus no easy task for the organisers of festivals to arouse patriotic
fervour and to attract audiences to events such as that which Johann Baptist Corti,
proprietor of the coffee-house in the Vienna Volksgarten, announced in
the Wiener Zeitung on 16 August 1850: "KK. VOLKSGARTEN: Today, Friday 16
August, Grand Festival with appropriate decorations and illuminations to
celebrate the all-highest Birthday of his Majesty the Emperor Franz Josef I.
Herr Capellmeister Johann Strauss conducts the music and, besides the most
splendid and popular compositions of his most recently composed dance pieces,
such as 'Maxing-Tänze', 'Johanniskäferln' 'Louisen-Sympathie-Klänge' [and] 'Heski-Holki-Polka',
will have the honour to perform for the first time a new quadrille composed by
himself entitled 'BONVIVANT-QUADRILLE"'. The evening also promised music
from the band of the 2nd Field-Artillery Regiment under its bandmaster
Sebastian Reinisch. The entertaining festival, given two days before Franz
Josef's actual twentieth birthday (18 August), proved successful and drew a
large and enthusiastic audience. Three days later, on 19 August 1850, the
entrepreneurial Ferdinand Dommayer arranged a festival and ball at his Casino
in Hietzing to celebrate the Emperor's birthday, and both Strauss and Reinisch
were engaged with their respective orchestras. One may be sure that Johann's Bonvivant-Quadrille
again featured on the evening's programme.
Bonvivant-Quadrille did not remain in the Strauss Orchestra's repertoire for
very long. No orchestral performing material was published and the manuscript
orchestral parts have been lost. Professor Ludwig Babinski has therefore made
the present arrangement from the published piano edition. Despite being one of Johann
Strauss's lesser-known dances, one section of the Bonvivant-Quadrille may
strike a familiar chord with ballettomanes since the music from its fifth ('Pastourelle')
figure features in the score of Antal Dorati's ballet pastiche, Graduation Ball
(1940), where it may be heard in the scene entitled 'The Arrival of the Cadets'
ersten Curen. Walzer (The First Course of Treatments. Waltz) op. 261
vignettes adorn the title page of the first piano edition of Johann Strauss's
waltz Die ersten Curen of 1862: on one side is Aesculapius, the Roman god of
medicine, on the other Hygeia, the Greek goddess of health. The illustrator
an amusing touch to this otherwise sombre scene by working into his design a
doctor's prescription, reading: "Waltz. 3 times daily"! The
composition bears Strauss's dedication "to the Gentlemen Students of
Medicine at Vienna University".
the Waltz King's stage works, whose genesis is often well chronicled in the
contemporary press and in the composer's own letters, generally little is known
about the actual creation of his orchestral dances and marches. For this
reason, two reports in the theatrical newspaper Der Zwischen-Akt are of
considerable interest, for they document the last-minute haste with which Strauss
sometimes committed his musical ideas to manuscript. On 6 January 1862, in a
general announcement about the forthcoming carnival, Der Zwischen-Akt revealed
that Johann's waltz for the Medical Students' Ball on 28 January was entitled
Die ersten Curen. Clearly the waltz existed at that time in name alone, for on
27 January the paper reported: "Yesterday, Sunday 26th of this month, Johann
Strauss composed 'Die ersten Curen', the new waltz for the Medical Students'
Ball which takes place in the Sofiensaal tomorrow, the 28th. Early today Carl Haslinger
arranged the waltz for piano from the score, on which the ink was scarcely dry.
This morning it was handed over to the copperplate engraver and lithographer,
and on Wednesday the 29th of this month it will be obtainable freshly baked,
straight out of the oven, from the C. Haslinger publishing house".
most of the ball reviews one notes the usual journalistic phraseology which
greeted new carnival compositions by the Waltz King. Thus, for example, Die Presse
(30.01.1862) wrote that Die ersten Curen "was felt to be very rhythmical
for dancing and an encore was demanded with applause", while on the same
day Der Zwischen-Akt predicted that the new waltz "will be among the
favourites during this carnival". Unusually, however, this approbation was
not shared by all and there were also critical voices amongst the reporters.
The evening edition of Der Wanderer (29.01.1862), for instance, considered that
the waltz "does not display any special originality, but was however very
rhythmical". Such words were positively generous, though, alongside the
damning critique filed by the reviewer for the Ost-Deutsche Post (2.02.1862) in
its "Ball Nights" supplement:
'first course of treatments' - it is capable of confining to bed any kind of
desire to dance. It was played without applause and danced ex officio. I saw
feet fall asleep during this waltz. Opium Cures would have been a better name.
'What do you think of Strauss's 'Ersten Curen', dear Doctor?', I enquired of
one of our most famous physicians. 'Musical rhubarb', he replied to me
Donaustrande. Polka schnell (From the Bank of the Danube. Quick polka) op. 356
Strauss chose to dub his second stage work, Der Carneval in Rom [Première: Theater
an der Wien, Vienna. 1 March 1873], "my polka opera" and from its
score he crafted a total of five separate orchestral numbers - a waltz (op.
357), a quadrille (op. 360) and three polkas (opp. 356, 358 and 359). With one
exception - the polka Nimm sie hin op. 358 - the titles of these dances had no
connection with the plot of the operetta but rather anticipated the Vienna
World Exhibition which opened in the Prater on 1 May 1873.
the Exhibition approached, excitement throughout the Austrian capital was
heightened still further by announcements in the press for a spectacular
charity concert to be given by the Strauss Orchestra in the Musikverein
building on the evening of 6 April 1873. According to Johann Strauss himself in
a letter (27.03.1873) to the Wiener Männergesang-Verein, the event, advertised
as a "50th Jubilee Festival of Strauss Musical Productions", marked
the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the Strauss Orchestra by Johann
Strauss I. Since, however, Father Strauss had formed his own orchestra in 1825
- and not 1823 - there were no real grounds for the celebration! Most of the
Viennese newspapers were unquestioning of this spurious semicentennial, the Illustriertes
Wiener Extrablatt (7.04.1873) even compounding the felony by specifying
(incorrectly) that Strauss Father had made his debut with his Täuberln-Walzer
op. 1 and pinpointing (also incorrectly) the date of this debut as 5 April
1823. It is not difficult to see how Strauss literature became riddled with
inaccuracies, for another journalist in the Illustriertes Wiener Extrablatt
(8.04.1873), seeking to remedy what he saw as erroneous reporting by his
colleague, observed: "As far as the writer of these lines is aware,
Strauss made his independent début at the 'Bock' on the Wieden in the year
1824, not 1823" ...
and Eduard Strauss shared the conducting of the Strauss Orchestra for the
"50th Jubilee" concert, the first half comprising a programme of
music by their father and brother Josef, who had died in 1849 and 1870 respectively.
After the interval Johann and Eduard treated the audience to a programme of
their own latest compositions, amongst them Johann's quick polka Vom Donaustrande
which the composer conducted personally. The reviewer for the Fremden-Blatt
(7.04.1873) noted in his concert report: "In the second half the most
electrifying [number] was the polka 'Vom Donaustrande', a jolly dance piece on
melodies from the operetta 'Karneval in Rom' by Johann Strauss". Another
journalist, J.H. Miram, simply ended his article in the Illustriertes Wiener Extrablatt
of 7 April 1873 with the words' "With the Jubilee Festival musical Vienna
celebrates her leading, most prolific and most tuneful dance composers!!!"
polka Vom Donaustrande presents material from Acts 2 and 3 of the operetta,
Theme 1A - Act 2 Duet (No. 9)
Theme 1B - Act 3 Finale (No. 16)
Trio 2A - Act 2 Finale (No. 12)
Trio 2B - Act 3 Ballet music (No. 16
Bonbons. Walzer (Vienna Bonbons. Waltz) op. 307
Bonbons, one of the most inspired and popular of Johann Strauss's waltzes, owes
its origins to the ball of the Association of Industrial Societies held in the Redoutensaal
ballroom of the Imperial Hofburg Palace, Vienna, on 28 January 1866.
a year before composing the most famous of all waltzes, An der schönen blauen Donau
(By the beautiful blue Danube, 1867), Johann had begun to draw back a little
from the arduous business of writing waltzes and had been pleased to allow his
younger brother, Josef, not only to compose the due dedication for the
Industrial Societies' festivity but also to conduct it on the night of the
ball. It then became known that honorary patronage of the event had been
accepted by Princess Pauline Metternich-Winneburg (1836-1921), the highly respected
wife of the Austrian Ambassador in Paris, and that she had asked for the
proceeds from the ball to be donated to the construction of a hospital for
Germans in the French capital. For this reason Josef entitled his waltz
Deutsche Grüße (German Greetings, op. 191), and dedicated it to the patroness
who was present at the ball. In addition he altered his plans to conduct the
first performance of a new polka-mazurka, entitled Pauline (op. 190a), at a
Strauss benefit ball in the Sofienbad-Saal on 29 January, playing it instead at
the ball of the Industrial Societies as a further tribute to the princess.
Shortly before the Industrial Societies' Ball, however, Johann chose to
contribute a waltz of his own to the festivity, a dance combining the
traditional Viennese Waltz with Parisian flair and which even united the
languages of both nations in its title - Wiener Bonbons! The waltz was
published by C.A. Spina on 13 February 1866 and its delightful title page
illustration, showing the work's title fashioned from twisted bonbon wrappers,
bore its composer's dedication to "her Highness the Princess Pauline Metternich-Winneburg,
nee Countess Sándor, in deepest respect".
Pauline was not only an influential figure in Vienna, but was also highly
active at the Imperial court of Napoléon III in Paris. The two Strauss brothers
therefore openly courted her support, knowing that her connections could assist
them in their plans to give concerts at the 1867 World Exhibition in the French
capital. To this end the brothers intended to make an exploratory joint visit
there during Easter 1866, just weeks after the Industrial Societies' Ball. (In
the event, Johann undertook the conducting of concerts at the World Exhibition
alone, and amongst his engagements in the city on the Seine during summer 1867
was a sumptuous ball at the Austrian Embassy hosted by the Ambassador, Prince
Richard Metternich, and his wife, Princess Pauline. On this occasion the waltz
An der schonen blauen Donau was played for the first time in Paris, doubtless
alongside Wiener Bonbons.)
(Nocturnal Quadrille) op. 120
the early autumn of 1852, Johann Strauss planned an extremely exhausting
concert tour of Germany with his orchestra, the most important venues including
Leipzig, Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden. Shortly before his departure he
participated in the presentation of a much-discussed 'tone picture' entitled
Die nächtliche Heerschau (The Nightly Review). The text for this work, a poem,
was by Baron (Freiherr) Joseph Christian von Zedlitz (1790-1862), while the
music was written by the conductor of Vienna's prestigious Hofburgtheater
(Court Opera Theatre), Anton Emil Titl (1809-82). The entertainment, announced
as a benefit for Strauss and the "Last Music- and Scenic Festival of this
Year", took place in the delightful surroundings of the Vienna Volksgarten
on the afternoon of Friday 24 September 1852. Taking advantage of the
considerable publicity surrounding this performance, Johann used the
opportunity to combine this production with the première of his aptly-named
Nocturne-Quadrille - the title of which was plainly chosen to complement the Zedlitz/Titl
Viennese press were unanimous in applauding the 26-year-old Strauss's
"prudent and energetic direction" of this event, amongst them the
critic of the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung (26.09.1852) who wrote: "We
have for a long time been used to Johann Strauss's soirées, being noteworthy
for their elegant decoration, brilliant lighting and very select public. On this
occasion, too, the rooms were attended by a very numerous and select audience.
A very tastefully designed lighting display, symbolising autumn, together with
an excellent show of fireworks contributed to the enhancement of the festivity.
Maestro Strauss performed a specially composed 'Nocturne-Quadrille' on this
evening, which was received with such great applause that it had to be repeated
several times. This distinction was granted to most of Strauss's compositions.
Widespread applause was accorded to the admirable ballade: 'Die nächtliche Heerschau',
by the conductor of the Imperial-Royal Hofburgtheater, Herr Titl, which Strauss
performed with the Imperial-Royal military band of the [Grand Duke] Constantin
[of Russia] Infantry [Regiment] and a men's chorus to great success. Titl's
compositions are rich in melody, effectively instrumented and original. It is
therefore understandable that his compositions receive the friendliest of
receptions from the public". The reviewer for the Neue Wiener Musikzeitung
(30.09.1852) concurred with his journalist colleague, further expressing his
opinion of Johann's Nocturne-Quadrille that it "can be numbered amongst
the most successful of its genre".
und Süd. Polka-Mazur (North and South. Polka-mazurka) op. 405
Strauss dedicated his polka-mazurka Nord und Süd to Dr. Paul Lindau
(1839-1919), the noted Berlin journalist, critic, stage-author, dramatic
adviser and writer of romances who, at the time of the polka's writing, had for
many years belonged to Strauss's circle of friends. Amongst the works which Lindau
edited was an illustrated literary journal which had first appeared in 1877 and
which continued to be published until 1930. It was the title of this monthly
publication - Nord und Süd - which gave Johann the name for his polka. In one
edition of his publication Lindau had written an article about Strauss and his
achievements, lauding both the man and his music, and Johann expressed his
thanks by dedicating the polka to his friend. Nord und Süd was heard publically
for the first time on 26 February 1882 when the composer's brother, Eduard,
conducted it with the Strauss Orchestra at his "Carnival Revue" in
the Vienna Musikverein. The new work naturally shared equal billing on the
programme with Eduard's own carnival novelties for 1882 - the waltzes Wo Lust
und Freude wohnen! (op. 202) and Lebende Blumen (op. 205) and the polkas Faschingsbrief
(op. 203) and Schneewittchen (op. 204).
polka Nord und Süd, which appeared in print at the end of January 1882, was one
of ten separate orchestral numbers which Johann arranged from melodies in his
operetta Der lustige Krieg (The Merry War), which had received its première on
the stage of the Theater an der Wien on 25 November 1881. The main section of
the polka (themes 1A and 1B) draws its themes from the operetta's Act 2 ladies'
chorus (No. 8) "Die Fürstin lud zum Café", whilst the opening melody
of the Trio section (theme 2A) is to be found in the final section of the Act 3
duet for Else and Balthasar (No. 17), to the lyrics "Silberhelles Kinderlachen".
The remaining music in the Trio is nowhere traceable in the published piano
score of Der lustige Krieg, and may have been discarded from the production
before the opening night.
Walzer (Wedding Dance. Waltz) op. 453
1843, Prince August of Saxe-Coburg-Kohary (1818-81) married Princess Clementine
of Bourbon-Orleans (1817-1907). Their fifth and youngest son, Prince Ferdinand
I of Saxe-Coburg-Kohary (1861-1948), ascended the throne of Bulgaria in 1887 as
Ferdinand I, Prince of Bulgaria, thereby founding the House of Coburg-Saxe-Kohary
in Bulgaria. On 20 April 1893 Prince Ferdinand took as his consort the youthful
eldest daughter of Duke Robert of Parma, Princess Marie Luise of Bourbon-Parma
(1870-99), at a marriage ceremony in the bride's family home, the Villa Pianola
Strauss was on very amiable terms with Prince Ferdinand. Furthermore, he had
good reason to be grateful to this "jovial man", as the composer once
referred to the prince in a letter, for in 1887 he had played his part in
helping to make possible Johann's marriage to Adèle in the ducal chapel in Coburg.
Strauss was therefore anxious to express his gratitude to the prince, and by
way of a present to the couple on the occasion of their wedding he composed two
pieces of music: the Fest-Marsch op. 452, dedicated to the Prince of Bulgaria,
and the waltz Hochzeitsreigen, dedicated to his bride, the young Princess Marie
Luise of Bulgaria. Strauss expended no small effort on the composition of this
waltz, which is apparent even in its unusual and courtly Introduction, and in
Vienna, as well as in Munich and elsewhere, it rightly drew praise for
presenting an "astonishing wealth of melodic and orchestral beauty" (Neueste
Nachrichten, Munich, 7.06.1899). The Neue Wiener Journal of 13 November
1893 considered that the Hochzeitsreigen Walzer and its companion piece, the
Fest-Marsch, belonged to the best works which Johann Strauss had written to
date, and proof of how importantly the composer himself viewed the waltz is
shown by the fact that he went to great personal trouble to ensure the
publication of an accurate printed edition. Responding to a query from his
brother Eduard, regarding a possible error in the first violin part of Waltz
1A, Johann remarked in spring 1894: "Leave the A (violin) in the waltz 'Hochzeitsreigen';
it is clearly marked in the piano edition too. People (nowadays) no longer
worry about fifths - nor are they possible to detect - because in large
ensembles no musical ear is capable of hearing a sequence of fifths - at the
most it can only be perceived on paper".
conducted the Strauss Orchestra in the first performance of the waltz Hochzeitsreigen
at Eduard's Sunday afternoon concert in the Vienna Musikverein on 12 November
1893. Clearly, Eduard Strauss also valued the waltz, bringing it with him to
London some two years later for his three-month season at the Imperial
Institute, and playing it as the opening item of his evening concert on 25 June
1895, where it was announced in the programme as "Waltz: Wedding
is a sad matter of record that the dedicatee of the Hochzeitsreigen Walzer,
Princess Marie Luise, was to die at the age of only twenty-eight, on 31 January
1899, after giving birth to her fourth child, a daughter named Nadejda.
(Hussars Polka) op. 421
time to time Johann Strauss sprang surprises on his audience when arranging
separate orchestral pieces from melodies in his operettas. One such instance
concerns the Pappacoda-Polka (op. 412, Volume 28 of this CD series), based on
themes from his 1883 stage work Eine Nacht in Venedig (A Night in Venice),
where the one number one would have expected Strauss to have included - Pappacoda's
catchy entrance song "D'rum sei glücklich, sei setig Venezia! Pappacoda, Pappacoda,
Pappacoda ist da!" - does not feature at all in the polka.
there is a surprise in the Husaren-Polka, which the composer assembled from the
score of his operetta Der Zigeunerbaron (The Gypsy Baron) after its hugely
successful opening night at Vienna's Theater an der Wien on 24 October 1885.
The stage work is set in the Hungarian province of Temesvar towards the middle
of the 18th century. In Act 2 the Governor of the province, Count Homonay,
arrives at the head of a troop of hussars to enlist local men in the war
against Spain. (This is in fact an historical inaccuracy since at no time
during the Austrian War of Succession, waged between 1740-48, did Imperial
forces set foot in Spain.) In his 'Recruiting Song' (No.12 1/2), "Her die
Hand, es muss ja sein ... komm' zu den Husaren" (Reach out your hand, it
must be so ... come and join the Hussars), Homonay explains that anyone who
drinks a glass of recruiting wine will be deemed to have enrolled himself for
the war. Yet music from this number is nowhere to be found in the Husaren-Polka!
Instead, Strauss drew upon material from Acts 1 and 3 when compiling the tunes
for this orchestral work: themes 1A and 1B comprise melodies respectively from Arsena's
Act 3 couplet (No. 15) "Ein Mädchen hat es gar nicht gut" and the Act
1 maidens' chorus (No. 5) Hochzeitskuchen, bitte zu versuchen". The
sources of the material used for the Trio section are also traceable in Acts 3
and 1, respectively Arsena's couplet (No. 15) to the words "Ja, dies und
das und noch etwas", and Barinkay's "Ah sieh da, ein herrlich Frauenbild"
in the No. 5 ensemble.
all of the six orchestral pieces crafted from themes in Der Zigeunerbaron -
amongst them the Husaren-Polka - were given their first performances, not by
the composer, but by his brother Eduard. The polka was introduced to the
Viennese public by the Strauss Orchestra, under Eduard's direction, at their
carnival-time concert in the Musikverein on Tuesday 2 February 1886.
author is indebted to Professor Franz Mailer for his assistance in the
preparation of these notes.
State Philharmonic Orchestra (Košice)
East Slovakian town of Košice boasts a long and distinguished musical
tradition, as part of a province that once provided Vienna with musicians. The
State Philharmonic Orchestra is of relatively recent origin and was established
in 1968 under the conductor Bystrik Rezucha. Subsequent principal conductors
have included Stanislav Macura and Ladislav Slovák, the latter succeeded in
1985 by his pupil Richard Zimmer. The orchestra has toured widely in Eastern
and Western Europe and plays an important part in the Košice Musical Spring and
the Košice International Organ Festival.
Marco Polo the orchestra has made the first compact disc recordings of rare
works by Granville Bantock and Joachim Raff. Writing on the last of these, one
critic praised the orchestra for its competence comparable to that of the major
orchestras of Vienna and Prague. The orchestra has contributed many successful
volumes to the complete compact disc Johann Strauss II and for Naxos has
recorded a varied repertoire.
Waller was born in Southern Bohemia in 1929 of Austrian parents. He studied at
the University of Graz and in 1948 was appointed assistant conductor to the
Opera of Ravensburg. At the age of 22 he became conductor of the Graz Opera,
where he continued until 1965, while serving at Bayreuth as assistant to Hans Knappertsbusch
and Karl Böhm. From 1966 until 1969 he was Principal Conductor of the Durban
Symphony Orchestra in South Africa, followed by a period of 15 years as General
Director of Music in Münster. In Vienna he has worked as guest conductor at the
State Opera and in 1986 was given the title of Professor by the Austrian
Government. In 1980 he was awarded the Golden Medal of the International Gustav
Mahler Society. For Marco Polo, Alfred Walter has recorded more than 15
volumes of the label's Johann Strauss II Edition, works by von Schillings, von Einem,
de Bériot, Reinecke and all symphonic works of Furtwängler. He is currently
engaged in recording the complete symphonies of Spohr.