ClassicsOnline Home » ZIEHRER: Selected Dances and Marches, Vol. 3
Orchestral Works Volume 3
Freiherr von Schönfeld-Marsch, Op. 422 (Schönfeld March)
Ziehrers Freiherr von Schönfeld-Marsch has been an official regimental march of the Austrian Army since 1920 and is second in fame only to the Radetzky March of the older Johann Strauss. It often features as an encore in Austrian festival concerts and, like the Radetzky March, is accompanied by enthusiastic hand clapping from the audience. Almost every military band around the world has at some time or other included it in its repertoire. Ziehrer composed the march for Baron von Schönfeld, then Chief of the Austrian General Staff, almost as an afterthought. It seems that the Baron had submitted a request for a march to be dedicated to himself, as was often the case with eminent persons who wished to raise their self-esteem in this particular manner. When he enquired of Ziehrer after a prolonged silence what had become of the march, a colleague much later recollected that Ziehrer had exclaimed Lord, Ive completely forgotten about it. Sitting at his piano, it seems, in a stroke of inspiration, Ziehrer outlined the themes and asked him to go away and orchestrate the piece for military band - and that is how the march was born. It was practised in the barracks square by the Hoch-und Deutschmeister, and the first public performance took place in the Stahlehner in Vienna on 16th October 1890. It was probably this piece, and his spells as a military bandmaster that has misled some musicologists into labelling Ziehrer as primarily a composer of marches.
Auf hoher See, Op. 66 (On the High Seas Waltz)
The Auf hoher See Waltz is a good example of one of Ziehrers earliest waltzes composed just two years after his début, and was dedicated to an Austrian naval commander who had just won a major victory over the Italian Navy. The victory, however, was a hollow one, as Austria lost Venice. He introduced the waltz with his orchestra on 10th October 1866 at a grand summer concert at the Neue Welt which also featured other military bands.
Following an introduction reminiscent of the adagio from Mendelssohns Die Meeresstille (Calm Sea), the waltz introduces the rolling seas, rising to an appropriate climax. The present recording is the first to be made of this waltz. Descriptive waltz compositions of the sea were quite popular at the time, and examples include the younger Johann Strausss Wellen und Wogen, Op. 141, of 1853 and much later, his Nordseebilder Walz, Op. 390 (Marco Polo Johann Strauss Jr. Complete Orchestral Edition Volumes 6 and 7 respectively).
Cavallerie Polka française, Op. 454 (Cavalry French Polka)
The French polka Cavallerie was received with considerable enthusiasm at its première on 9th February 1893 at the famous Musikvereinsaal in Vienna, where Ziehrer, as bandmaster of the Hoch-und Deutschmeister Regiment, conducted a celebration concert for the Cavalry. The music clearly reflects the subject in this inevitably descriptive composition and was dedicated to the officer corps of the Austro-Hungarian Cavalry under the original title of Reiterei. The piece is introduced with the regimental call of Infantry Regiment No. 62. The first part of the trio is composed in a similar style to the Fehrbelliner Reitermarsch composed by Richard Henrion.
Ein Blick nach Ihr!, Op. 55, Polka schnell (A glance at her! Quick Polka)
During Ziehrers early years he was resident with his orchestra at the fabulous Horticultural Society Hall opened in 1865 in Vienna. At the inaugural concert he introduced his Blumegeister Waltz, Op. 33, (see O diese Husaren! waltz), where there were no less than four concert bands and three choirs. Ein Blick nach Ihr! was composed for a masked ball held on 8th February 1866, and revived eight years later at a concert sponsored by the Schiller Association, which depended heavily on Ziehrers orchestra, at the same magnificent venue. It is here offered in a recording for the first time.
Gebirgskinder Waltz, Op. 444 (Mountain Children Waltz)
The Gebirgskinder Waltz is one of Ziehrers better known waltzes, with a zither solo introduction that is reminiscent at first of Johann Strausss Tales from the Vienna Woods, Op. 325. These days in concert performances the harp usually replaces the zither to equal effect, as in this recording. In the 1800s the zither was a very popular instrument which had a popular following and Ziehrer himself was an Honorary member of the Zither Society that existed at the time. Many of his works were arranged for this instrument, often by the composer and arranger Franz Wagner, not to be confused with Josef Franz Wagner, the famous Austrian bandmaster and composer of the same period. Although first performed on 21st November 1892 at the Laxemburg Castle, the waltz was played in January 1893 in the Hofburg Palace at the wedding of Archduchess Margerethe Sophie to Duke Albert of Württemberg. It was one of the popular items that he included in his regular Academy concerts at the Ronacher. Gebirgskinder was also originally written for accompaniment by a humming male voice choir and includes a fine series of original waltz themes that rise to a rousing conclusion. It is not surprising that it has remained in Austrian waltz repertory.
Auf! Ins XX Jahrundert Marsch, Op. 501 (Into the Twentieth Century March)
The rousing Auf! Ins XX Jahrhundert Marsch was one of Ziehrers contributions to carnival in 1900 to mark the new century and was composed for the Concordia Ball on 19th February. It was first performed, however, as a vocal march at the Carnival Ball of the Vienna Male Voice Choir at the Sofiensaal on 23rd January. The verses, by Schier, were conveyed in pictorial form on the illustrated cover of the piano score and all related to technical progress that had been made. A balloon of the Vienna Airship Company, a train, and a plane are depicted. "Rapidly we move into the twentieth century, travel to Paris by balloon, there is affordable travel to China", and so on. The sketch, to a backdrop of the silhouette of Vienna, included telephone masts to demonstrate the advent of rapid communication. Although performed elsewhere, this first commercial recording has, appropriately, been made a hundred years later, as we enter the 21st Century. Among other composers who also contributed to the Concordia Ball were Josef Bayer, Karl Komzák, Wilhelm Wacek, and Eduard Strauss, the last of whom supplied his Klein Chronic, Op. 128, fast polka.
DKernmadln, Original Steierische Tänze op. 58 (DKernmadln Styrian Dance).
The description original Styrian dance comes from the ländler, the form from which the waltz was developed by Lanner and the older Johann Strauss. Early examples by Josef Lanner were his Steyrische Tänz, Op. 115, and s Hoamweh. Op. 202. These were inspired by the Styrian dances of singers from the Alps, who at that time wandered through the countryside. Lanner wrote some fifteen Ländler amongst his earlier compositions, and both Johann Strausses and Josef Strauss wrote many waltzes in ländler style. Ziehrer, wishing to establish his popularity quickly with the people of Vienna, was keen to compose a piece that would provide dancers with a regular pattern to dance to. DKernmadln, full of original melodies, must rank as one of the very best examples. The dance is in three parts, starting at a slow tempo, and concludes with a cadenza at a faster tempo. The changes in lifestyle and social order around 1848 saw the decline of the ländler and the rise of the waltz, with the close coupling of partners, a new and daring departure in social customs that came from Vienna, but there was still a significant amount of public nostalgia for the ländler and Ziehrer closed a masked ball on 8th February 1866 with this delightful composition.
Ballfieber polka française, Op. 406 (Ball-fever French Polka)
The Ballfieber Polka was introduced in a concert at the Sofiensaal for the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Vienna on 24th January 1889, along with a waltz by a Baron Lilienau, and a polka by Wilhem Wacek. The baron, an engineer and brewery owner, was a student at the time, but later became one of the influential academicians who bridged science and the arts, sponsoring many musical events in addition to publishing his own compositions. He was an excellent pianist and his firm favourites were the works of Josef Strauss and Ziehrer.
Ich Lach Walzer, Op. 554 (I Laugh Waltz)
Like many of Ziehrers more successful waltzes, his Ich lach Walzer was taken from an operetta, in this case Das dumme Herz (The Stupid Heart) that had its première at the Johann Strauss Theater in Vienna on 27th February 1914. The operetta starred Alexander Girardi, who appeared in each of the three acts as a different brother; a clock-maker, a parliamentary deputy and a judge. Recently reintroduced political censorship banned any civil servants from being ridiculed, which led to the postponement of the first performance while names were changed. Girardi was particularly pleased with this stage work as he did not continually have to act the fool, since there was much more substance to the leading rôle. The operetta was a great success, running for 129 performances, cut short only by the outbreak of the First World War. It was described as a refreshing departure from the norm, and praised as particularly captivating. Many of the melodies that Ziehrer used in the operetta were based on previous dance pieces that he had composed, and he managed to combine the themes to give the operetta a contemporary flavour. The waltz opens with the rhythmic refrains taken from the trio in the polka Schneidig!, Op. 387, written in 1887. The original refrain of Girardis entry song Für Herz und Seel ist Ruh nur gsund, ich lach (For heart and soul rest is wholesome - I laugh) gives the waltz its title. This is followed by a familiar waltz theme taken from the waltz Wie man im Himmel lebt, Op. 322, arranged from his 1881 operetta König Jérôme (see the Ziehrereien Waltz below), the theme also appearing in the overture. The final rousing waltz theme is based on the coda in the waltz Teuferln, Op. 485, written in 1898.
Wenn man geld hat, ist man fein ! Marsch Op. 539 (If one has money, one is great! March)
The rousing Wenn man Geld hat march is taken from Ziehrers 1908 operetta Liebeswalzer, his last major stage success. It demonstrates the quality of instrumentation that Ziehrer was capable of, and the melody contains counterpoint not always evident in similar works by his contemporaries. The melodies themselves will be known to those familiar with the operetta, which has been the subject of the only commercial recording of a Ziehrer operetta so far made. The operetta ran for over a hundred performances at the Raimundtheater but may have seen over five hundred performances altogether. After the première the critics described Ziehrer as the last of the old guard who had his roots in dance music and rose above it, and who should consider the work a great personal success. The operetta was performed all over the world, including Paris, and Milan where it was called Valzer di Amour, and in Broadway, in an Americanised form with Jerome Kern melodies added, under the title The Kiss Waltz.
O diese Husaren W (Oh, these Hussars! Waltz)
Ziehrer had nothing but trouble from his 1911 operetta Manöverkinder, reworked into Der Husarengeneral for the following season, where it ran for some fifty performances at the Raimundtheater. Illness precluded his attendance at the première held at the summer theatre Venedig in Wien, in the Prater in Vienna on 22nd June 1912 (the theatre was later renamed the Kaisergarten). The weather was awful that summer, with many cancellations, and the owner and long time friend of Ziehrer, the well known theatre magnate Gabor Steiner, had to flee the country, bankrupt. Ziehrer had endless disputes with his librettists and his publisher Herzmansky, who refused to publish the operetta, so Ziehrer financed the publication of the work himself. The O diese Husaren waltz took themes from the operetta and the original published orchestration was by Martin Uhl. It seems that Ziehrer did not apply his usual thoroughness, only arranging this waltz and the Husarenstreiche March,Op. 553, for piano from the operettas. The waltz composition omitted the melody from the waltz song Alte Liebe neue Liebe that he wrote for Manöverkinder. In this first ever recording, for completeness, this melody has been included within the second waltz theme, orchestrated from the original operetta score by the conductor Christian Pollack. This gives the waltz a more rounded character. The principal melodies that make up this waltz were taken from two much earlier compositions. The first waltz theme comes from the song Das war der erste Walzer, which he took from the waltz song Der schani und die Fanny,Op. 328, No. 3, in turn a development based on the waltz theme of the Blumengeister Waltz, Op .33, written 46 years earlier. In the early 1880s Ziehrer wrote a series of songs for his future wife, the operetta singer Marienne Edelmann whom he had just met, and these became extremely popular at the time; this was one of them. The third waltz theme derives from a short piece entitled Weinachtsmärchen that he wrote for publication in the Neue Wiener Journal in 1904. The somewhat dreamy style of the completed waltz reflects the mood of his later composing years.
Wurf-Bouquet Polka Mazurka, Op. 426 (Throwing -bouquets polka mazurka)
The Wurf-Bouquet Polka Mazurka is a good example of Ziehrers ability to compose the gentler polka mazurka, an art form where he complemented Josef Strauss. It was written in 1890 at the height of his career, while he was bandmaster of the Hoch-und Deutschmeister regiment and he probably introduced the piece at one of his regular Concert Academy concerts at the Ronacher at the end of December for the forthcoming Carnival season. These concerts were put on weekly by Ziehrer and his orchestra over many years and became a regular feature of Viennas musical scene.
Ziehrereien Walzer, Op. 478 (Ziehrerish Waltz)
The Ziehrereien Walzer was also introduced by Ziehrer at one of his regular concerts at the Ronacher on 28th November 1897. He transposed original melodies taken from several previous compositions into a full waltz. These were, in sequence, the march introduction, Le petit Soldat, Op. 319/2, followed by waltz themes taken from Echt Wienerisch, Op. 381, Jérôme-Quadrille, Op. 320, Militär Marsch, Op. 321 and Verliebt, Op. 319/1. Echt Wienerisch has always been popular amongst Schrammel players; all the other pieces are from works written for his first real stage success König Jérôme, the score of which was destroyed in the tragic fire at the Ringtheater in Vienna in 1881, where the operetta was staged in 1878. It was fortunate that Ziehrer had already sent compositions, including the overture, to the publishers. It was common practice among the well-known composers to publish separate dances, marches and an overture, along with popular vocal numbers from their latest operetta. Occasionally performed at live concerts and also once on a television programme in Austria, this is the first commercial recording of the waltz.
Kulturbilder, Op. 564
Ziehrer was too ill to attend the performance of his last great waltz, Kulturbilder in 1920, written for the Concordia Ball of that year, although it was announced that he would be the guest conductor. The performance on this first ever recording is complete, unlike the original performance. Ziehrer had apologised for only being able to send the hand-written piano score and he had put a line through the third waltz theme. The Neue Wiener Journal never mentioned the musical side of the event at the Concordia, when this waltz was first performed, only the celebrities who attended. These included Robert Stolz, Fürtwangler, and others. The present orchestration, from the original piano score, was prepared by Professor Gustav Fischer, who performed it for the first time at his 75th. anniversary concert in Vienna in 1998. It is interesting to note that this work is the last but one waltz ever written by a Viennese composer from the Golden Age.