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  • STRAUSS Josef

    Volume 26


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Josef Strauss (1827-1870
) Bachanten-Quadrille, Op. 8
Tarantel-Polka, Op. 6
Mille fleurs, Polka francaise, Op. 4a
Mille fleurs, Polka mazur, Op. 4b
Die Zeisserln, Walzer, Op. 114
Gallopin, Polka schnell, Op. 237
Prinz Eugen-Marsch, Op. 186
Sturm-Polka, Op. 75
Das musikalische Osterreich, Potpourri

Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, Kosice

Josef Strauss (1827-1870)

Josef Strauss (1827-1870)

Orchestral Works Vol. 26

[1] Bachanten-Quadrille (Bacchanalian Revellers, Quadrille), Op. 8

The Bachanten-Quadrille belonged to that group of earlier compositions by Josef Strauss which C.A. Spina published in February 1856. These works date from 1853 (Opus 1) until February 1856, with the majority having been composed in the summer of 1855. In a letter to his brother Johann, Josef Strauss hinted, as early as August 1855, at the fact that publisher C. A. Spina was prepared to publish several of his compositions. This remark was inserted in a thank you note to Spina, stating that Johann would have no objections to these arrangements. (Johann Strauss had a contract with Spina’s competitor, Carl Haslinger).

The publisher Spina must have chosen wisely from the collection of novelties which Josef Strauss had accumulated thus far, and acquired the most valuable works. It is possible that the Bachanten-Quadrille was first performed in the autumn of 1855, but most probably this took place at the beginning of the Carnival season of 1856 at one of the numerous balls (perhaps at Sperl’s establishment) where Josef conducted, either alternating with his brother Johann or alone. Joyful, exuberant, ‘bacchanalian’ dance festivals were then a speciality of Sperl’s establishment in Leopoldstadt. The quadrille, which appeared in print as Opus 8, must have been very successful, because it was included in the programmes of the Strauss orchestra during subsequent years.

[2] Tarantel-Polka (Tarantela, Polka), Op. 6

During the summer of 1855, Johann Strauss again took a prolonged convalescence holiday, and entrusted his brother Josef with the sole leadership of the orchestra. It was not yet sure if Pepi would stay and support him in the waltz ‘business’ or if he would return to his usual profession of engineer and architect, but while Jean was taking a cure in Bad Gastein, the decision was made for Josef. Johann Strauss decided to give guest performances in Russia during the following summers, having accepted the offer of the railway company in St Petersburg to conduct concerts in Pavlovsk from May to September. Thus, it was clear that Pepi had to lead the Strauss orchestra alone in Vienna, as long as Jean was performing in Russia under very advantageous financial conditions. Therefore, as of the autumn of 1855, Josef Strauss was no longer the interim conductor, but a musical director on an equal footing with Johann Strauss.

Since Josef now knew what course his life would take, he began to compete as a composer also with his brother Johann, and during the summer of 1855 he wrote a whole array of dance melodies and concert pieces. On 12th August of that year he presented two novelties to the public in Franz Unger’s casino in Hietzing: the emotional polka mazurka Vergissmeinnicht, Op. 2, and the lively Tarantel-Polka. It was the second time that the name tarantella (from the Italian word for "wolf spider") had been used in Viennese music. Josef Lanner had published a Tarantel-Galopp in 1838, which soon became famous and popular as a dance piece. Now Josef Strauss, who (besides Johann Strauss) had been called a ‘second Lanner’ by several aficionados, followed suit with his equally lively Tarantel-Polka. The piano edition of the work appeared in February 1856 at Spina’s. At present, no orchestral parts are known to exist.

[3]-[4] Mille fleurs-Polka (Mille fleurs, Polka), Op. 4

During the Summer of 1855, while Johann Strauss was away on holiday in Bad Gastein in Salzburg, his brother Josef had to substitute for him as conductor of the Strauss orchestra in Vienna. Since ‘Jean’ remained in Bad Gastein until far into September, the task of composing the generally expected dedications for the traditional Hernals church festival (celebrated on 26th and 27th August 1855 in Unger’s) fell to Josef, as it had before, during the summer of 1853. Josef chose the Garden Festival with Ball on 27th August 1855 for the première of these works: the waltz Flinserln, Op. 5, and the Mille fleurs-Polka. The ball began at 6:00 p.m. It is likely that the festival experienced weather disturbances, because the Morgen-Post of 28th August reported: "The thunderstorm last night was one of the most terrible in a long time. There were hailstones the size of hazelnuts."

On 1st September, the casino-owner Franz Unger announced a celebration for the following day. The Strauss orchestra and both novelties were again featured on the concert programme. On 5th September, the Theater-Zeitung printed a general critique of Josef Strauss’s activities during the summer season. About his compositions, including the Mille fleurs-Polka, it stated that each performance "received a thunderous and enthusiastic response". Furthermore, the journalist said, "It would be desirable if these new creations by Josef Strauss, which contain a plethora of piquant and original melodies, were published".

This wish was fulfilled in February 1856, when the first nine works by Josef Strauss appeared at C.A. Spina’s. Of the Mille fleurs-Polka, however, only the piano edition remains, the title page of which depicts a thousand flowers.

[5] Die Zeisserln, Walzer (The Siskins, Waltz), Op. 114

The waltz Die Zeisserln belongs to the group of compositions which Josef Strauss wrote for the balls held in Franz Unger’s casino on the occasion of the church festivals in Hernals, as his father and his brother Johann had done before him. In 1861 the feast day fell on 26 August, and the Strauss orchestra was ready. Josef had also contributed the expected dedication, namely, Die Zeisserln. There were almost certainly no siskins in the surroundings areas of Vienna, and so the audience was delighted to hear the strains of delicate birds coming from the Strauss orchestra.

Obviously, this melodious waltz was received and greeted most enthusiastically. The ball reporters, like the audience, were convinced that they had heard an "authentically Viennese composition." Staying true to the Strauss family tradition, it complemented corresponding waltzes by Strauss Snr., while nevertheless developing melodies and harmonies along modern lines. The enthusiasm of the public was such that Die Zeisserln remained on the orchestra’s programmes during the entire Summer of 1861. The piano edition was published by Haslinger’s in time for the 1862 Carnival season. To date, the orchestral parts of the waltz have not been found. Since the metal sheet which publisher Haslinger used to produce them has been conserved, reconstructing the original version was no problem.

[6] Galoppin-Polka (schnell) (Runners, Quick Polka), Op. 237

Amongst the numerous novelties which the brothers Josef and Eduard Strauss presented to the public in their charity event held on 13th February 1868 in the Blumensäle of the Garden Society at the Viennese Ringstrasse, is the quick polka Galoppin by Josef Strauss. At a time when many were interested in the stock exchange, everybody knew what was meant by Galoppin, a designation for young lads who transmitted messages and ran errands at high speed. The faster they worked, the higher the tip with which they were compensated for their services. The telephone did not yet exist, so that for many people it was important to be informed as soon as possible about the latest developments on the stock exchange. It was not long before the time of the galoppins was over, but in 1868 they rightfully deserved a musical dedication by Josef Strauss as a phenomenon of the times. The lively polka was received with thunderous applause at the charity concert.

According to the horn player Franz Sabay’s notes, a preliminary performance of the Galoppin-Polka (schnell) took place on 12th February 1868 at the masquerade ball in the Sofiensaal, but Josef Strauss mentioned 13th February and the concert in the Blumensäle as the date and place of the première.

[7] Prinz Eugen-Marsch (Prince Eugene, March), Op. 186

For the construction of the new Hofburg, Emperor Franz Joseph ordered the erection of two equestrian statues to mark the ‘Heldenplatz.’ In 1860, the first of the two monuments was completed. It was dedicated to Archduke Carl (1771-1847), the victor over French Emperor Napoleon’s troops at the battle of Aspern in 1809. On the occasion of its unveiling, Josef Strauss composed the Erzherzog Carl-Marsch, Op. 86, and the waltz Heldengedichte,

Op. 87, and performed them in the Volksgarten.

In the Autumn of 1865, the second equestrian statue was completed, depicting the Austrian field marshal of the wars against the Turks during the seventeenth century, Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736). The sculptor Anton Fernkorn (1813-1878) had designed the monument of Archduke Carl, as well as the one of Prince Eugene. It should have been unveiled in 1863, to mark the 200th anniversary of the Prince’s birth, but its completion had been delayed. The monument turned out to be a masterwork of the sculptor, whose life tragically ended while in a mental institution.

The unveiling of the monument was a solemn official act, in accordance with Emperor Franz Joseph’s wishes, and was obviously attended by the monarch himself. Thousands of people gathered on 18 October 1865 on the Heldenplatz and celebrated together with the Emperor the memorial to the field marshal who had averted the threat of the Turks to the Austrian Empire and, therefore, Central Europe.

Josef Strauss anticipated the unveiling ceremony and performed his Prinz Eugen-Marsch, which he created "using popular melodies," (as stated on the title page of the piano edition), at the charity concert on 8th October 1865 in the Volksgarten. It is obvious that the composer quoted the historic song Prinz Eugen, der edle Ritter in his march, as well as using an old military song. But it has not been possible, to date, to verify the origin of this motif. The Prinz Eugen-Marsch by Josef Strauss appeared in print only as a piano edition.

[8] Sturm-Polka (Storm, Polka), Op. 75

The Sturm-Polka belongs to those compositions by Josef Strauss which reflected the mood of the Viennese populace during the spring of 1859. The Austrian troops had been defeated on several battlefields in Upper Italy by the French, who were the allies of the Italians. Emperor Franz Joseph, who appeared in person among the troops and risked his life, was forced to make peace and give up Lombardy with its capital of Milan. The shock of this development had a profound effect on the subjects of the Austrian Empire. Concerts and theatre performances, therefore, enjoyed relatively little attendance. Josef Strauss wrote three new works during these months: the waltz Stimmen aus der Zeit (which, unfortunately has not been preserved), the grandiose symphonic poem in three-four time Schwert und Leyer, Op. 71, and the Sturm-Polka.

The exact date of the première of this effective polka is not known. When the Emperor’s 29th birthday was celebrated quite belatedly on 26th August 1859 in the Volksgarten, all three works were on the programme. The trade paper Zwischen-Akt reported on 27th August 1859: "[Josef] Strauss, especially, achieved extraordinary success with his very melodious waltz Schwert und Leyer and the piquant Sturm-Polka, and had to repeat both pieces several times."

The Sturm-Polka also appeared on the programme of the Hernals church festival which was celebrated on 29th August 1859 in Unger’s casino. This time, the Zwischen-Akt wrote: "The favourite piece of the Viennese this season is the Sturm-Polka, which Strauss has to play several times every night. The fiery motifs and the no-less-effective orchestration of this piece have quickly made it a plat favori."

[9] Das musikalische Österreich, ohne op.

Potpourri aus Nationalliedern und Tänzen aller österreichischer Kronländer

(The Music of Austria, without Op.

Medley of National Songs and Dances from all Austrian Crown Lands)

Josef Strauss was the most industrious of the three Strauss brothers. During the course of his relatively short life, he created more than 500 arrangements for orchestra and compiled several medleys. Of these, the ones with the largest scope were:

Musikalisches Feuilleton (major concert medley), premièred on 9th November 1862 at: "Sperl’s"

Musikalisches Panorama (medley), premièred on 17th June 1856 in the Volksgarten

Das musikalische Österreich, premièred on 17th June 1864 in the Volksgarten

Among all these works, only one appeared in print. Publisher Spina had published the grandiose medley Das musikalische Österreich, shortly after the première, as a version for piano. Handwritten orchestral parts still exist, which allow an overview of this amazing work. After a passionate symphonic introduction, the medley offers:

No. 1 (Polka) and No. 2 (Andante): Bohemia

No. 3 (Andante): Moravia

No. 4 (Allegretto): Silesia

No. 5 (Allegro Vivace): Krakow

No. 6 (Mazurka): Poland

No. 7 (Allegretto): Hungary (including Frisca)

No. 8 (Moderato) and No. 9 (Allegro Vivace-Allegro): Slovenia

No. 10 (Moderato): Croatia

No. 11 (Lento): Serbia

No. 12 (Allegretto): Transylvania (Saxon)

No. 13 (Adagio): Transylvania (Hungarian)

No. 14 (Allegro): Transylvania (Rumanian)

No. 15 (Molto Sostenuto): Dalmatia

No. 16 (Allegro): Lombardy

No. 17 (Allegretto) and No. 18 (Più Vivo): Venice

No. 19 (Moderato): Tyrol

No. 20 (Lento): Salzburg

No. 21 (Ländler): Styria

No. 22 and No. 23 (Vivace): Carinthia

No. 24 (Lento): Krain

No. 25 (Allegretto): Lower Austria

No. 27 (Lento-Vivace-Lento): Upper Austria.

Here the piano edition ends. In the orchestral parts, the medley still has a grand finale to come: The Radetzky-Marsch sounds pianissimo-allegro, but is then powerfully intensified and finally fully developed in Tempo di marcia when it is intertwined with the Imperial Anthem. Therefore, the Finale is a musical pledge of allegiance to Austria.

Franz Mailer

Translated by: Dr. Luis de la Vega, Professional Translating Services, Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

Phone: (305) 371-7887 • Fax: (305) 381-9824

 
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