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ClassicsOnline Home » STRAUSS, Josef: Edition - Vol. 23
Josef Strauss (1827-1870)
Orchestral Works Vol. 23
 Cabriole. Quick Polka, Op. 145
Josef Strauss composed the quick polka Cabriole during the summer of 1863 and performed the work for the first time on 3rd August 1863 at his charity concert in the "Neue Welt" in Hietzing. Not only concerts took place in the spacious establishment next to the Schönbrunn palace, folk-singers and acrobats also performed there. Perhaps this circumstance inspired the composer to give his lively polka the title Cabriole, because, for acrobats, jumping through a hoop is called precisely that, a cabriole. The author of the title page of the piano edition was faithful to this idea: he depicted an elegantly dressed acrobat jumping through a paper-lined hoop held by two ladies. This fits exactly the mood of the presentation of the work in the "Neue Welt". Later performances of the quick polka Cabriole were rare, but it fulfilled its function as a novelty for the charity concert, at which the public always expected to hear something new.
 Crispino-Quadrille, after Motifs from the Opera by
L. & F. Ricci, Crispino e la Comare, Op. 224
On 10th May 1867 the comic opera Crispino e la Comare was performed in Italian in the Hof-Operntheater next to the Kärtnertor. The Austrian première of this Melodramma fantastico was not rewarded with the long-running success that its première had enjoyed on 28th February 1850 in Venice. The brothers Luigi (1805 - 1859) and Frederico Ricci (1809 - 1877), both from Naples, continued Gaetano Donizettis (1797 - 1848) opera tradition with their numerous works for the stage, many of which they produced jointly. Only a few of their creations, however, made it North of the Alps. Crispino e la Comare was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as late as 1919. By then it was already forgotten in Vienna.
Immediately after the première at the Theatre at the Kärntnertor, Josef Strauss composed a quadrille based on the principal motifs of the richly conceived score. Spina probably wanted to publish only a piano edition, but then decided to have the orchestra parts printed, which are kept in the music collection of the Austrian National Library.
Josef Strauss had announced the première of his Crispino-Quadrille for 17th May 1867, but there also existed an advertisement for the concert on 22nd May 1867 in the Volksgarten, with the remark: "New, for the first time." Since there is nothing in this regard in the notes of either Josef or of the horn player Franz Sabay, one can choose between both dates, 17th May being the more likely one. This pretty work stayed for a time in the repertoire of the Strauss Orchestra, then disappeared, as did the opera by the Ricci brothers.
 Helden-Gedichte (Heroes Poems). Waltz, Op. 87
Emperor Franz Joseph I ordered the bastions, the historical fortifications of Viennas inner city, demolished, and added rambling new buildings to the old Hofburg. Nevertheless, the originally grandiose plans had been carried out only half-way and progressed so slowly that the construction and interior finishes of the new palace had not been completed when the Habsburg monarchy collapsed in the year 1918.
An open square resulted between the outer gate to the palace, built in 1824 by Emperor Franz I, and the historic palace complex which, according to the Emperor Franz Josephs orders, was named Heldenplatz (Heroes Square). Two equestrian statues were to dominate this square, namely, the monument to Archduke Karl (1771-1847), the victor of the battle at Aspern in the year 1809 against Napoleons troops, and the one to Prince Eugen of Savoy (1663-1736), the army commander in the wars against the Turks in the seventeenth century.
The erection of the monument to Archduke Karl took place in the year 1853; the base was built according to the plans of the famous architect Eduard van der Nüll (1812-1868), and the audacious equestrian statue was the work of the sculptor Anton von Fernkorn. The monument was to have been completed on the fiftieth anniversary of the battle at Aspern, that is, in the year 1859, but the unveiling had to be postponed for another year and finally was scheduled for 22nd May 1860.
On this occasion, a festive concert of the Strauss orchestra in the Volksgarten was scheduled, but the inclement weather neccessitated a postponement until 25th May 1860. On this day, Josef Strauss presented the two compositions he wrote for the unveiling of the monument to Archduke Karl at the Heldenplatz, the Archduke Karl March, Op. 86, and the waltz Helden-Gedichte. In the report on the festival in the Volksgarten, the première of both compositions was confirmed by the usual cliché "which enjoyed the most brilliant success." Years later, the waltz disappeared into the archives of the Strauss orchestra and was believed to be missing. Nevertheless, a copy of the score to be used as a master by the publisher, Haslinger, survived, which made a reconstruction of the instrumental parts and a new edition possible.
 Concordia. Polka française, Op. 257
For the Ball of the "Concordia" Journalists and Writers Association, held on 26th January 1869 in the Sofiensaal, all three Strauss brothers had written dedication works: Johann, the waltz Illustrationen, Op. 331; Eduard, the polka mazurka Vom Tage, Op. 46, and Josef, the smart polka française Concordia, which, according to the report on the ball in the Fremden-Blatt of 28th January 1869, "had been received favourably." The journalists had chosen a newspaper motif for the order of dances, featuring a ball bulletin entitled Concordia. In it were amusing quotations, supposedly of famous contemporaries. Jacques Offenbach, for instance, was credited with the short saying: "Plagiarism is ownership". Josef Strauss had no need to fear such an allusion. His polka française Concordia was a witty original.
 Vergissmeinnicht (Forget Me Not). Polka Mazurka, Op. 2
Josef Strauss started his series of compositions named after flowers in the year 1855, when the second of his compositions appeared in print. It is characteristic, however, of Pepi Strauss, who was shy and self-deprecating all his life, that he should have put that blue flower at the head of this group, whereas, while it is regarded as a symbol of faithful love, its name nevertheless expresses the anxious request "Forget Me Not!" (Incidentally, this is also the title of the piano edition.)
The première of the delicate and tender Polka Mazurka Vergissmeinnicht took place on 12th August 1855 at a Sunday concert at Ungers Casino in Hernals. At that time, Johann Strauss was in Bad Gastein for a cure. Just a short time before, the announcement appeared in all the Viennese newspapers that he had been invited to conduct the concerts in the Vauxhall in Pavlovsk, near St Petersburg, starting the following summer. Josef already knew by then that his brother would accept this prestigious engagement, and that he, Josef, would have to conduct the Strauss concerts in Vienna during that time as an equal partner. Now Josef Strauss could count on his compositions appearing in print. Consequently, he made sure thereafter that all novelties were mentioned in the press. Promptly, the Fremden-Blatt and the Morgen-Post announced the first performance of the Polka Mazurka Vergissmeinnicht. The piano edition of this work was published by C.A. Spina in January 1856.
 Neue Welt-Bürger (Neue Welt Citizens). Waltz, Op. 126
In July 1862, Josef Strauss, to his great surprise, was sent by his mother to Russia. He had to substitute for his brother Johann as the conductor of the concerts in Pavlovsk, near St Petersburg. Jean had taken ill and wanted to return to Vienna as soon as possible. Pepi did not believe that his brother was really sick, but he did not know that Jean wanted to go home primarily because he wanted to marry Jetty Treffz. However, as Josef mistrusted him, his mother told him not to quarrel.
Before his hasty departure, Josef Strauss conducted on 27th July 1862 the music for a park festival in the "Neue Welt", a rambling amusement park which belonged to Carl Schwenders in Hietzing. On this occasion, Josef Strauss performed his new waltz Neue Welt-Bürger for the first time. The work was in a certain sense his farewell gift to his large audience. The title page of the piano edition shows the ambience in which the visitors to the "Neue Welt" were able to move about on festive occasions in this establishment. An expansive garden surrounded by a group of splendid buildings was the backdrop for a daïs, from whence the music sounded, played by the big Strauss orchestra. The place was criss-crossed by promenades and offered enough space for seats and tables. The author of the title page even had a balloon ascending into the sky with a wagon, the product of his imagination, powered by a steam engine and with a group of joyful passengers gliding over the "Neue Welt".
Looking at this title page, one can understand only too well why conductor Josef Strausss departure from this establishment in the middle of the summer season of 1862 had not been easy, but he did not let himself be influenced by his regret when he composed this farewell waltz, because a lively work resulted, which was just right for the joyful visitors to the "Neue Welt."
It would have been impossible for the guests who were present on 27th July 1862 in the Hietzing amusement park and who listened to the première of the waltz Neue Welt-Bürger, to imagine that this world, so full of pleasure and joy, would one day disappear completely from Viennas urban landscape, so that practically no stone or tree remained of it. Today, the only reminder of the "Neue Welt" is a small narrow alleyway in the 13th District, and some long-forgotten compositions by Josef and Eduard Strauss, as well as by Carl Michael Ziehrer, among them the waltz Neue Welt-Bürger.
 Fest-Marsch (Festive March), Op. 142
During the Autumn of 1863, the Agricultural Society of the Mödling community near Vienna organized an exhibition for the whole of Lower Austria, on the premises of the "Neue Welt" in Hietzing. In this show, the progress made in the area of agriculture since the liberation of the peasants in 1848 was evident. The interest of the visitors not only from the capital but also from the rural regions of Lower Austria was accordingly great. The exhibition received a record attendance. At the festive inauguration of the fair, which took place on 6th September 1863, the Strauss Orchestra played under Josefs baton. Pepi Strauss had brought with him a dedication piece, a lively march, which, under the simple title Fest-Marsch, appeared in print on the opening day.
NOTE: The work is a counterpart to the Liechtenstein-Marsch, Op. 36, composed in 1857 on the occasion of a smaller agricultural fair in Ungers Casino in Hernals, and dedicated by Josef Strauss to Prince August Liechtenstein, the President of the Society, which was then celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.
 Die Kokette (The Coquette). Polka française, Op. 70
The capricious polka Die Kokette belongs without a doubt to the series of works by Josef Strauss in which he sketches female characters. The title page of the first edition hints at that, featuring a female figure dressed in extravagant garb and with a mirror in her hand. The lively melody lines fit this picture exactly.
The première of the polka Die Kokette must have taken place during the Carnival season of 1859, but there is no hint as to for which occasion this work had been composed. The title is found for the first time in the announcement that appeared on 27th February 1859 in several Viennese newspapers, featuring an invitation to the Strauss charity ball on 28th February 1859 in the Sofiensaal, with the motto "Carnivals Perpetuum Mobile Non-stop Dancing." Two orchestras had been planned, one conducted by Johann, the other, by Josef, which played alternately. The programme promised new works: five compositions by Johann, and four by Josef. The polka française Die Kokette, labelled "new," appeared as the last one of the Josefs novelties. As one can see from the ball reports, this programme was indeed performed. The dancers let themselves be swept up into this "Carnivals Perpetuum Mobile" and probably also "tried out with their feet," as one would say in those times, the polka Die Kokette with vitality and zest. The polka française appeared in print as late as September 1859.
 Aus dem Wienerwald (From the Vienna Woods). Polka Mazurka, Op. 104
During the Summer of 1861, the Strauss orchestra performed again under Josefs baton in their original building, the Domeyer Casino in Hietzig, where Johann Strauss made his début in October 1844 as a conductor and composer. Since then, the character of the former suburb had changed a lot. New quarters sprang up, and the number of inhabitants had increased steadily in the environs of the imperial Schönbrunn palace. Whoever wanted to visit Hietzing now, approaching it from the inner city, no longer needed a Fiaker, a hackney carriage, and could forego his own light carriage, because the entrepreneur Karl Schwender had established a regular shuttle service. Hietzing was still a summer vacation spot, but a new, predominantly bourgeois public flocked to the once exclusive Domeyer Casino. For them Ferdinand Domeyer revived the tradition of the Rose Festivals, which had been common at the imperial court many years before. The tables, which almost seemed to collapse under the weight of the delicious food and drink, were surrounded by lush floral decorations. The Strauss orchestra had been engaged as the crowning touch of the festival; it was responsible for providing listening pleasure.
Josef Strauss painstakingly planned specially selected programmes for the evenings at Domeyers. Urban and rural productions were represented in a colourful sequence, and his polka mazurkas offered a special exclusive mix, the originally Polish dances, with their marked rhythms, giving way to an Austrian Ländler. This was also the case with the polka mazurka Aus dem Wienerwald, which Josef Strauss performed for the first time at the Rose Festival on 8th July 1861 at Domeyers. Unlike his brothers Johann and Eduard, who never saw the outside of a Fiaker their entire lives, Josef Strauss was fairly familiar with the Wienerwald, the magnificent greenbelt in the South, West, and North of the imperial city on the Danube. With his wife Caroline he took long walks in his scarce free time, until he fell ill, but his polka mazurka Aus dem Wienerwald is neither a description of nature nor a musical portrait of Viennas surroundings. Rather, it is an elegant dance composition between mazurka and Ländler, a small but sparkling gem.
 Kadi-Quadrille, Op. 25
After motifs from the opera Le caïd by Ambroise Thomas
On 29th August 1856, the opera Der Kadi by Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896) was performed for the first time in the Royal and Imperial Opera House located at the Kärntnertor. The leading Viennese theatre already had a work in its repertoire that had been first staged there on 3rd January 1847 under the title Le caïd. Josef Strauss was prepared for the Viennese première of the French opera, and as early as 9th August 1856 he presented his Kadi-Quadrille at Sperls Establishment, as recorded in the notes of Josef Strauss and the horn player Franz Sabay. In the concert announcements of the Strauss orchestra, however, the work appeared after the rather successful performance of the opera Der Kadi in the Theatre at the Kärntnertor, that is, in September 1856. First it had been announced for 10th September in the Volksgarten. Then the invitation to a charity concert of the Strauss Orchestra planned for 15th September in the Volksgarten appeared on 12th September in the Fremden-Blatt. Therefore, the artistic environment into which the Kadi-Quadrille was integrated was important. Josef Strauss announced that he would perform the "Prelude, Wedding Chorus and March from the opera Lohengrin by Richard Wagner" (the opera was then still unknown in Vienna), and, in order to "honour the presence of Dr Franz Liszt," his symphonic poem Mazeppa (which also had yet to be played). The newspaper Der Wanderer published this invitation for a second time on 14th September and added the sentences: "This very interesting music programme and the talented and prolific conductor Josef Strausss general popularity lead us to expect an extraordinary reception."
As can be seen from other reports, Franz Liszt did indeed attend this concert and spoke favourably about the performance by Strausss orchestra of his difficult symphonic poem. Since during this time there were no concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic, and the number of events at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna was reduced owing to renovations, Josef Strauss took the opportunity to include operatic and symphonic works in the repertoire of the orchestra led by him, winning a privileged position among the orchestras active in Vienna. His competitors Josef Gungl and Kéler Béla, could not keep up with him with their concerts during the summer of 1856. Neither musician was able to withstand the competition, and both became military bandleaders.
The Kadi-Quadrille, however, remained in the repertoire of the Strauss orchestra only for a short time, before it disappeared into the archives. When the skilled conductor Ernst Reiterer (1851-1923), some thirty years after Josef Strausss death, arranged the operetta Frühlingsluft (Spring Air) from compositions written by Strauss, he remembered the Kadi-Quadrille and transformed the second part of the finale by changing the rhythm to that of a fashionable dance imported from America at the turn of the century, a cakewalk.
 Zeitbilder, Walzer, Op. 51
Josef Strauss had composed the waltz Zeitbilder at the beginning of 1858. The work was mentioned for the first time in the Fremden-Blatt of 4th February of that year, as part of the invitation to the charity ball of the brothers Johann and Josef Strauss in the Sofiensaal. All the new compositions by Johann Strauss from this Carnival season were listed. This was followed by: "Also by Josef Strauss." Six novelties were mentioned, among which the waltz Zeitbilder was the last. The première of this waltz might have taken place during the second half of the Carnival season. In the report on the ball, which appeared on 12th February 1858 in the Theater-Zeitung trade paper, there was a paragraph about Josef Strausss new compositions. Among other things, it stated: "Josef Strauss performed six of his new dances, among which the very inspired Zeitbilder was very well received."
Evidently, Josef Strauss was not only concerned about offering smooth entertainment to his contemporaries, but he also wished to remind them not to overvalue material success. In the coda, he quoted the rondo of the very popular and well-known opera Robert le Diable by Giacomo Meyerbeer, with the text: "Yes, gold is only a chimera." The Theater-Zeitung ball reporter noticed this quotation, and he called the integration of this motif an inspired idea. The Wiener Musikzeitung reinforced this statement, emphasizing the fact that the Zeitbilder received an extremely warm reception. Eduard Strauss later remembered his already deceased brothers waltz, and occasionally included the work in the programmes of his concerts at the Musikverein.
Translated by: Dr. Luis de la Vega, Professional Translating Services, Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
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STRAUSS, Josef: Edition - Vol. 23