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  • STRAUSS Josef

    Edition n°2


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Date parution numérique : 28 août 1995
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Josef Strauss (1827-1870
) Genien-Polka (francaise), Op. 205
Petitionen, Walzer, Op. 153
Schottischer Tanz, Op. 20
Stiefmutterchen, Polka Mazur, Op. 183
Sturmlauf, Polka schnell, Op. 136
Sympathie, Polka Mazur, Op. 73
Tanz-Prioritaten, Walzer, Op. 280
Amazonen-Quadrille, Op. 118
Arabella, Polka francaise, Op. 167
Diana-Polka (francaise), Op. 95
5 Kleeblad"ln, Walzer, Op. 44

Robert Schumann (1810-1856
) Kinderszenen (Scenes of childhood), Op. 15: VII. Traumerei (Dreaming)

Budapest Strauss Symphony Orchestra

Josef Strauss (1827 -1870) Edition

Josef Strauss (1827-1870)

Edition, Vol. 2

 

[1] Schottischer Tanz (Scottish Dance) op. 20

 

In Otto Schneider"s Tanzlexikon (Dance Dictionary) we find under "Schottisch" (Scottish Dance) that this ballroom dance developed from the "Ecossaise" and that it remained popular in Germany and Austria in the ballroom repertoire until the mid-19th century. The roots of this dance date back to 17th-century Scotland, when the "Ecossaise" made its way to Vienna via France. Franz Schubert and Ludwig van Beethoven wrote some famous examples of this dance.

 

The Schottischer Tanz which the young conductor Josef Strauss presented for the first time on 22 July 1856 in the Vienna Volksgarten may be considered as a latecomer in the history of this dance form, which had seen the height of its popularity thirty years earlier. This dance, with its abrupt changes in step, had already given way to the polka (and later to the quick polka). However, in private circles, the Schottisch still had many fans. This might have been the reason for Josef Strauss"s composing a Schottischer Tanz in the tradition of Beethoven and Schubert. Its fast-paced melodies certainly found widespread applause, although this dance form never regained its former popularity .

 

[2] Fünf Kleeblad"ln. WaIzer (Five-leafed clover. Waltz) op. 44

 

On the feast of the local patron saint, there was always a great deal of activity in Ungers Casino in the suburb of Hernals. This very spacious establishment stood at the present location of the U6 Alserstraße subway station. Every year, a merry festival took place there, and in the days of Strauss the Elder, the Strauss Orchestra would play its newest pieces, including some enjoyable waltzes especially composed for this dance event. The audience, consisting of wealthy manufacturers and businessmen with their families, as well as of suburban gentlemen with their wives and sweethearts, did not care for concert waltzes. They wanted to hear pleasant tunes and the music floating over the generally over-crowded room was supposed to have a local and traditional flavour, with folkloric elements from Vienna and the Lower Austria region. This expectation was gladly met by the members of the Strauss family, namely the father as well as his sons Johann and Josef. For the feast of the local patron saint in 1857, which was celebrated with a ball on 31 August in Ungers Casino, "Pepi" Strauss had prepared a five-part waltz entitled Fünf Kleeblad"ln. The composition was kept in Ländler-style and was very well received by the audience. On 2 September 1857, the newspaper Theaterzeitung reported that the "wonderful Ländler and the Steeplechase-Polka (op. 43), which had their premieres, had to be repeated several times. About 2000 people danced at Ungers Casino that night. They did not depart until about 3 o"clock in the morning, tired but happy to have spent such an enjoyable evening".

 

[3] Sympathie. Polka-Mazurka (Sympathy. Polka-mazurka) op. 73

 

Once Josef Strauss finally decided to help his brother Johann with the family business and to take over the duties related to the direction of the concerts and balls of the Strauss Orchestra, as well as the composition of the repertoires required for these, he quickly developed a very unique personal style. In this context, the Polka-mazurka complemented his own shy nature: in the melancholic strains of this originally Polish dance, he found an expression of his feelings. Josef Strauss, like no other composer of his era, was able to tie in the Mazurka with the local national dance, the Ländler. In his early works written in the Polka-mazurka rhythm, his preference for minor harmonies proves especially effective.

 

Among this group of compositions is the Sympathie Polka-Mazurka, whose première had been announced for the first concert of the winter season in the Salon of the Volksgarten in October 1859. Josef Strauss, however, had already performed the work a week earlier, on 23 October 1859, during the final concert in Ungers Casino in Hernals, as a sort of dress rehearsal. It was obviously very important to Josef Strauss that this work be presented perfectly. His extra care bore fruit, as the report in the 31 October edition of the theatre trade newspaper Der Zwischenakt praised the Sympathie-Polka as "one of the loveliest Strauss pieces ever composed." With its reserved; simple and slightly elegiac grace, this Po1ka-mazurka has been fascinating audiences ever since. It belongs to those compositions of which Johann Strauss later said, "These melodies captured every fibre of Josef¡¦s heart and soul."

 

[4] Diana. Polka française (Diana. French Polka) op. 95

 

From very modest beginnings, the Dianabad, founded in 1804 on one of the tributaries of the Danube (today known as the Danube Canal), developed into the largest spa in the imperial city: starting in 1842, it offered an indoor pool which, by 1860, could be turned into a ballroom during the winter. In the fall of 1860, its operator, a Mr. Hassa, opened first a winter garden and in the following carnival season the ballroom and various side rooms. For the first concert in the winter garden of the Dianabad, the Strauss Orchestra was hired, and on 12 November 1860 it delighted a large crowd with a varied programme under the direction of Josef Strauss. He had composed the Diana-Polka especially for this opening concert. The work, with its initial horn call, was meant to remind the audience that the spa had been named after Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt. A rather liberal picture of Diana (complete with bow, arrow, and hunting dog) decorated the cover of the first edition of the polka, which was available in music stores in time for the opening of the spa. Newspaper reports on the concert commemorating the spa"s opening emphasize that the Diana-Polka was performed to warm applause and that several encores were requested.

 

[5] Amazonen-Quadrille (Amazons Quadrille) op. 118

 

When balls began to be held in the Dianasaal, the organizer of the costume balls held there attempted to provide an additional attraction. He hired several groups of young dancers who - following the Parisian custom - wore character costumes and then mixed in with the public to further enhance the air of a masquerade ball. Since their attire was primarily of the figure-conscious type, the costume of an amazon came to mind: a short jacket with tightly fitted pants to below the knee, which showed off the beauty of the young ladies to best effect. (The cover design of the piano score shows this very clearly.) The warrior headdress, resembling more that of Roman legionnaires than the legendary amazons of Greek mythology, provided an amusing contrast.

 

For the big quadrille of these costume ba1ls, in which the costumed dancers were expected to participate, of course, Josef Strauss would dutifully come up with a piece of music befitting the theme; in 1862 it was the Amazonen-Quadrille. It was performed for the first time on 18 January 1862 in the Dianasaal. This was the last published composition in the Quadrille-series which he would compose for the Dianasaal (Cf. Deberdeurs-Quadrille, op. 97 and Folichon-Quadrille, op. 115).

 

[6] Sturmlauf. (Tumer-)Polka schnell (On the Double. Athletes Quick Polka) op. 136

 

The Strauss brothers, Johann, Josef, and Eduard, were not overly fond of sports. Johann would rather ride in the carriage than subject himself to tiring walks or sprints; Josef¡¦s taste in sports was limited to horse racing, and Eduard probably never in his life traded in his tuxedo for sportswear. But in the eighteen sixties, when the rapid growth of the athletic movement spread even to the Danubian Monarchy, Johann and Eduard Strauss made a concession to it by dedicating some interesting compositions to the movement. During the carnival of 1860, Josef composed a Turnerquadrille, op. 92, for the members of the Athletic Club, which had not even been officially approved yet. (It was not until 1861 that the authorities of the Danubian Monarchy permitted the foundation of the ¡§First Viennese Athletic Club.¡¨) The Quick Polka Sturmlauf, which is specifically entitled Turner-Polka on the inside of the piano score and on the engraving and which is dedicated to the Vienna Athletic Club, dates back to the carnival of 1863 and was presented for the first time at the Athletes" Ball in the Dianasaal on 4 February 1863, with the composer himself conducting the Strauss Orchestra. The athletes received the quick polka with enthusiasm and asked that it be replayed several times during the ball.

 

P.S.   In June 1863, Eduard Strauss dedicated the march Gut heil, op. 4, to the Vienna Athletic Club. The title refers to the athlete"s salute introduced by Jahn, the UFather of Athletics,u in 1846. With his Sport-Polka, op. 170, Josef Strauss returned to his favourite sport-horse racing.

 

[7] Robert Schumann I Josef Strauss: Träumerei (Reverie)

 

Since the days of Johann Strauss the Elder, the Strauss Orchestra had delighted audiences not only with dance pieces by Johann Strauss, but also with compositions from the world of opera and symphony. In general, this repertoire was presented in arrangements tailored to the skills of the musicians of the Strauss Orchestra and the particular circumstances of the concert series. At a time when concert life in Vienna was still in the developing stage, Strauss the Elder featured overtures by Ludwig van Beethoven and works by Hector Berlioz, among others, in his programmes. His sons, especially Josef and later Eduard Strauss, also integrated their own arrangements of opera excerpts and symphonic works into their concerts. Josef was the most successful in this regard; among his arrangements were Beethoven"s sonatas and Franz Liszt"s Tondichtungen (Symphonic Poems), and he was the first to include in his concert performances excerpts from Richard Wagner"s Tristan, which, at that time, was generally rejected as ¡§Uunplayable.¡¨ Unfortunately, these arrangements were later burned by Eduard Strauss.

 

Among the approximately 500 transcriptions and arrangements of this kind created by Josef, are the concert versions of several of Robert Schumann"s works. This is a remarkable fact, inasmuch as the romantic composer from the Rhineland was not held in high esteem by the Viennese. Schumann"s attempt to settle in Vienna failed and even in 1847, while in concert in Vienna with his wife, pianist Clara Schumann, he had to endure the painful reserve of the audience. Therefore, the Strauss Orchestra deserves even greater applause for having presented numerous works by Schumann to its audience. Two of those arrangements have survived: Johann Strauss"s orchestral version of the song Widmung (Dedication), and Josef"s arrangement of the famous miniature Träumerei (Reverie) from the Kinderszenen (Scenes from childhood) op. 15, preserved in Josef"s own handwriting in the archives of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. Josef Strauss succeeded in capturing the characteristic magic of these works - which Schumann referred to as Rückspiegelungen in die Kinderzeit (reflections of an older person on his youth) - in his orchestral version, placing Josef Strauss"s Träumerei among the veritable treasures of musical literature.

 

[8] Petitionen. Walzer (Petitions. Waltz) op. 153

 

Until 1863, Johann Strauss was responsible for dedicating the musical works to the patrons of the traditional society balls which were regularly held in Vienna; the new "Waltz King" therefore promptly supplied the compositions expected of him for the carnival festivities of the physicians, lawyers and engineers in that city. During the carnival of 1863, his brother Josef had to help out, since Johann Strauss had been forbidden to compose by his doctors, as it was deemed "too exhausting." In 1864, it was expected that Josef would supply the compositions commissioned by the various professional groups which attended the society balls. "Pepi" thus w rote the waltz for the lawyers" ball, which took place on 18 January 1864, in the Sofiensaal. The title of the work, which was dedicated to the students of law at the University of Vienna, must have been well-received by the attending lawyers, since they were doubtlessly experts in filing petitions - in court. As contemporary sources reveal, Josef Strauss"s musical "Petitions" was very well-received. The lawyers readily accepted Josef as the successor to his brother. The piano scores of the work were distributed by Spine Verlag on 8 January and were, therefore, already available to the guests at the ball, even though the sale was originally scheduled to be announced on 2 March 1864.

 

[9] Arabella. Polka op. 167

 

Josef Strauss composed his capricious Arabella Polka in the early summer of 1864. The first performance of the work had been promised to the public for 2 August, when it was to have been included in the programme at the Neue Welt Hall in Hietzing. However, "Pepi" Strauss must have decided against that, because according to his records, as confirmed by Pranz Sabay in his writings, the première took place at the festival concert given by the Strauss Orchestra on 19 August 1864 in the Vienna Volksgarten. (The 18th of August was Emperor Pranz Josef"s birthday and the festival was arranged in his honour).

 

The composition bears no dedication. The pretty lady"s head on the cover seems to indicate that the inspiration for the title came from the world of the theatre. The name Arabella, which Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss made famous worldwide with their opera Arabella, was hardly known among the high-society or middle-class circles of the 19th century.

 

[10] Stiefmütterchen. Polka-Mazurka (Pansies. Polka-mazurka) op. 183

 

For his benefit concert on 7 July 1865 in the Vienna Volksgarten, Josef Strauss composed a Polka-mazurka which he entitled Stiefmütterchen (Pansies). In the long series of compositions which "Pepi" - a true nature-lover - titled after flowers, this modest plant was not to be forgotten. The small flower, which grew then and even now still grows wild in the yards and on the tombs of poor people and farmers, must have been especially dear to him, since this composition turned out especially beautiful. However, Josef Strauss presented it in a setting where its true worth could not shine through. Josef"s benefit concert on 7 July 1865 took place in the Volksgarten. The programme included several important and - for music fans of that time - simply sensational works. Announced was the first act finale of the latest opera by Giaccomo Meyerbeer, Die Afrikanerjn (while it had premiered on 28 April 1865 in Paris, it was not performed in Vienna until 1870), as well as the tone-poem Mazeppa by Franz Liszt and excerpts from Richard Wagner"s Tristan und Isolde, as arranged by Josef Strauss in 1860. "Pepi" included the latter again on the programme, since on 10 June 1865, this opera - which had once been rejected in Vienna - finally premièred under Hans Guido von Bülow"s direction. Josef Strauss also included the Overture to Schubert"s Rosamunde (in reality the Zauberharfe), previously played at the first Schubert concert of the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Quadrille, which his brother Johann had written based on motifs from the opera Die Afrikanerjn, op. 299, which he most likely presented in a joint production with a military band. Thus, the little Polka-mazurka Stiefmütterchen stood little chance of capturing the attention of the very numerous audience. The work, however, eventually attained recognition, and was included in the Strauss Orchestra"s repertoire for a long time.

 

[11] Genien. Polka française (Genius. French Polka) op. 205

 

Josef Strauss composed very little during the sad summer of 1866. The concert halls remained virtually empty following the defeat of the Danubian Monarchy"s Northern Army by Prussian troops in July. Consequently, attendance at the concerts of the Strauss Orchestra also dwindled, to considerably less than what the brothers Strauss, all of whom were in Vienna that summer, were used to. There was nothing to do but wait until the fall to see whether the public would start showing an interest in the performing arts once more.

 

On 11 September 1866, a festival with fireworks was held in the Volksgarten. This event served as the occasion for Josef Strauss to premiere his polka entitled Genien (Genius), which he had just finished during the summer. The piano score of the work had already been available in music stores since 31 August.

 

The winged deities which grace the cover of this first edition must have inspired the composer to write this lightly flowing polka, which belongs to Josef"s best works of this period. However, it was not kept in the orchestra"s repertoire for long and was subsequently all but forgotten.

 

[12] Tanz-Prioritäten. Walzer

    (Priorities of the Dance, or Preferred Stock to Dance By. Waltz) op. 280

 

On 6 February 1870, the annual Industrial Society Ball was held in the Redoutensaal of the Hofburg. This time, the Emperor and his retinue did not attend-the court was in mourning-and therefore the members of the ball committee had to do without the presence of the monarch. Franz Josef normally considered his presence at these balls to be an intrinsic part of his duties. To make up for his absence, however, the wealthy industrialists of the Danubian Monarchy were represented in full force. The report on the ball in the liberal newspaper Neues Wiener Tagblatt read as follows: "The Redoutensaal was replete with velvet, silk, gold, jewels, and medals during the Industrial Society Ball. One diadem outdid the other, in a manner normally seen only at court functions. It was a gathering of representatives of banks and major industries and, of course, of the railroad companies- who could count the millions of financiers whom we overlooked?"

 

Josef Strauss had prepared an elaborate waltz entitled Tanz-Prioritäten and played it during the ball to enthusiastic applause. It was really tantamount to "preferred stock" in music, which naturally was warmly received. For Josef Strauss, it was to be one of the last balls of his life - he was not to see the bright lights of the Redoutensaal again. It was a glorious farewell, at the height of his maturity as a master conductor and composer.

 

English translation by:

Dr. Luis de la Vega

Professional Translating Services Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

 

Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra (Košice)

 

The 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 andc 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.

 

For 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.

 

Alfred Walter

 

Alfred Walter 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 fifteen 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 fifteen volumes of the label"s Johann Strauss II Edition, works by von Schillings, von Einem, de Bériot, Reinecke and all the symphonic works of Furtwängler. He is currently engaged in recording the complete symphonies of Spohr.

 
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