REGISTER NOW AND GET
• 5 FREE tracks! • 101 tracks for $9.99
ClassicsOnline Home » STRAUSS I, J.: Edition - Vol. 9
Johann Strauss I Edition, Vol. 9
[Track 1] Gedanken-Striche Walzer, Op. 79 (Dash Waltz)
Dedicated to the Noble Inhabitants of Leipzig
On his return from Berlin Johann Strauss and his musicians played in Leipzig, Dresden and Prague, reaching Vienna on 14 December 1834. In Leipzig the famous Gewandhaus was put at the disposal of Strauss and his players. As the concert arranged on 28 November in these distinguished surroundings was particularly successful, Strauss was invited by the 'Tunnel' Society to give a further performance on 29 November. The reception of the Viennese musicians in Leipzig, and particularly by the members of the 'Tunnel' Society, was so warm that Johann Strauss dedicated his next composition 'to the noble inhabitants of Leipzig'. The waltz was first played in Vienna on 24 February 1835, and, of course, at the Strauss Ball at the Sperl. At this ball Strauss repeated the experiment that he had already attempted at the Sperl on 13 February 1833, by inviting the very large public present to decide on a title for the new work.
This time Strauss had more luck. Whereas in February 1833 he had had to accept the title 'The Devil Take It Waltz', on this occasion the title 'Dash Waltz' was chosen, which was slightly more suitable for a waltz, although it also had nothing to do with it. However, Strauss was able to compensate by dedicating the waltz to the Noble Inhabitants of Leipzig.
The short introduction, marked Moderato, starts in festive mood. The first waltz begins cheerfully with a pert skipping melody that is superseded in the second waltz by a smoother motif with a wider range; the comprehensive coda ends very effectively. That the Dash Waltz was received at the Sperl with tumultuous applause and had to be repeated, was de rigueur.
Since, in the Prussian capital, a counterpart to the waltz Souvenir of Berlin, Op. 78, had appeared with the same title, the publisher Tobias Haslinger printed the dates 15 January and 10 February on the first page of the edition of the Dash Waltz that was issued on 2 May 1835. This gave Haslinger the sole right to publish the compositions of Johann Strauss.
 Galop On motifs from Meyerbeer's opera Les Huguenots, Op. 93
After the Paris première of Les Huguenots the Viennese public was kept waiting for three years for the work to be staged at the Court Opera at the Kärntnertor, as the very strict censors demanded a revision of the libretto. The work was first performed at the Josefstadt Theatre under the changed title The Ghibellines in Pisa on 6 September 1839. Since Giacomo Meyerbeer's music was not altered, Strauss was able to make immediate use of several parts of it. In 1836 he wrote his instantly successful Huguenots Cotillon. The Huguenots Galop was based on motifs from the third and fifth act ballets of Les Huguenots, as well as on the minor-key section of the Gypsy Dance Trio.
The sharp and efficient publisher Tobias Haslinger provided for a prompt publication, which he had announced on 7 February 1837 in the Wiener Zeitung.
 Huldigungs-Walzer, Op. 80 (Tribute Waltz)
On 2 March 1835 it was announced throughout the Austrian Empire that the Emperor Franz I, born on 12 February 1768, had died in the night at about a quarter to one. This was not unexpected. Already at the end of February there had been prayers for the Emperor on the news of his illness. After his death the cultural life of the realm came to a halt. It was not until April 1835 that theatres reopened and concerts resumed.
Offical life, however, had to continue without interruption. On this occasion too it was said: 'The Emperor is dead, long live the Emperor!' The succession fell to the Emperor's eldest son, Ferdinand, born in 1793. Although Ferdinand was epileptic and could not rule effectively owing to his disability, the Emperor Franz had insisted that his eldest son must succeed him. He was of the opinion that the State Chancellor Metternich, together with several counsellors, would ensure the regular conduct of state business.
After the ceremonial burial of the deceased in the Capuchin Crypt there followed the installation of the new Emperor Ferdinand I. On 14 June 1835 an old almost forgotten custom was revived. From Klosterneuburg the 'Ducal Hat' was brought in ceremonial procession to Vienna, to serve as a symbol of hereditary homage of the Archdukedom of Lower Austria.
Johann Strauss was quick off the mark, as always. He offered homage to the new ruler with a Tribute Waltz that was played for the first time (very promptly) on 15 June 1835 at The Golden Pear in the Landstrasse at the opening of a new ballroom. As the occasion demanded, the Tribute Waltz started with a drum roll and trumpet fanfare. After eleven festive bars a short intermezzo (Moderato) leads to the start of the waltz sequence. This begins cheerfully, as if to express the idea that one can and must show optimism about the future. In one important respect, for Vienna and the monarchy, this optimism was justified: Ferdinand had inherited musical ability from his forebears, for example Maria Theresia, and saw to it that music was performed frequently at the imperial court. It was Ferdinand too who in 1846 gave Johann Strauss the title of Court Ball Music Director, a post specially created for him.
It turned out that Johann Strauss's Tribute Waltz was received with enthusiasm at the celebration at The Golden Pear and that the optimism the work disseminated passed on to the public. When it was published by Haslinger on 7 August 1835 as Strauss's Opus 80, no one doubted that there was a good future ahead of the monarchy, a future in which the waltz had its rightful place.
 Indianer-Galopp, Op. 111 (Indian Galop)
The great Congress of Vienna of 1814/1815, which became legendary for its magnificent festivities and the peace it established, brought relatively limited knowledge of distant lands and their inhabitants. Naturally much was known of the arch-enemy, for example the Ottomans and their neighbours, the Persians. Only rarely, however, did news reach Vienna from India or even from Japan. There was more information about proceedings in North America, and the first books and writings on the fate of the Red Indians were read.
In the summer of 1839 there appeared for the first time in Emperor Ferdinand's realm a troupe of Indian dancers. A guest performance was arranged at the Theater an der Wien and presented to the public as Bayaderes and Their Partners. This was an undertaking that promised well, as the troupe had already had success in England and France and had been admired by large audiences in London and Paris.
In Vienna, though, it went badly. At the announcement that the Indians were coming to the Theater an der Wien, the Viennese reacted with the observation 'Fine, let the Red Indians come to us too for once!' Indian festivals were quickly arranged to bring the fullest possible enjoyment of the sensation in true Viennese style. Johann Strauss quickly and very carefully wrote an Indian Galop, but what could people in Vienna know of Indians and Red Indians? However, if Strauss's galop was neither 'Indian' nor 'in Indian style', it was an exquisitely exotic work, as was then to be found in contemporary ballets. And, of course, the 35-year-old music director Strauss's Indian Galop was a dashing piece that guaranteed it the success denied the Indian Bayaderes and their partners in the Theater an der Wien. Ultimately, as it turned out that neither Indians nor Red Indians had demonstrated their national dances, the public was disappointed and would have nothing to do with this production. The newspapers made fun of the visitors and the people, who had basically misled themselves, complained. Strauss fared somewhat better since his Galop, played for the first time at the Sperl on 12 August 1839, retained its place and was subsequently to be found on the desks of musicians at all masked balls. In masquerades it did not matter whether people danced through the ballroom dressed as Indians or American Indians. Either way they enjoyed it!
 Grazien-Tänze, Op. 81 (Dances for the Graces)
Dedicated in deepest respect to Her Serene Highness Melanie, Princess Metternich-Winneburg, née Countess Zichy-Ferraris
Johann Strauss demonstrated his skill in involving himself in the political, business and cultural situations of the time on many occasions. In 1835 he immediately realised the importance the powerful State Chancellor, Clemens, Prince Metternich-Winneburg, had for the monarchy. He did not dare, of course, to dedicate a composition to the State Chancellor, but he took the occasion of the Festival of the Graces that he had arranged for his benefit at the Casino Donmayer on 7 July 1835 to dedicate his new waltz Dances for the Graces to Metternich's wife Melanie, née Countess Zichy-Ferraris. Now the ample Princess was no Grace, as the Countess Zichy had been in 1814/1815 at the time of the Congress of Vienna, but the title was not be taken so literally. The Princess was still pretty, clever and charming. With her amusing and usually witty jokes she increased the good will people felt towards her.
Johann Strauss gave to understand, of course, that the waltz celebrated only the Graces. In the invitation to his festival at the Donmayer he wrote, among other things: 'The Graces are, according to ancient mythology, known as representatives and protectresses of all that is beautiful, lovely and pleasing. It seemed fitting to dedicate a special festival to those best endowed with these qualities as well as to their sisters of earlier times.'
A short introduction is followed by an elegant, graceful first waltz in the rare key of E major, providing the mood for the whole five-section work. Only the declamatory fifth waltz with its energetic second part falls a little outside this framework. A comprehensive coda in which, as was now usual, the waltz is quoted, brings the work to a close.
 Furioso-Galopp on motifs from Liszt, Op. 114
On 15 November 1839 Franz Liszt (1811-1886), who had been born at Raiding (Burgenland, then Doborjan, in the Kingdom of Hungary), came back to Vienna. He had studied there from 1823 to 1825 and in 1838 (after brief appearances in 1822 and 1823) had given a concert there. Now, as a famous virtuoso he returned from Italy to Vienna, giving five concerts at the Philharmonic Society and appearing in a 'concert spirituel' in the Imperial and Royal Redoutensaal. His unrivalled ability as a pianist caused a sensation as well as enthusiasm for his early compositions, above all his transcriptions, which, among other things, brought memories of Franz Schubert.
Liszt made use of the days between his celebrated concerts to get to know the music of the elder Johann Strauss, while Strauss occupied himself, with his usual thoroughness, with the compositions of the virtuoso. When on 8 December 1839 Liszt returned to the Sperl in Leopoldstadt, the Strauss orchestra played for him the Furioso Galop, the first part of which offers a very effective orchestral arrangement of the Grand Galop Chromatique for piano, written in 1838. The second trio also uses motifs from the works of Franz Liszt.
The first performance of the work, with which Liszt was taken by surprise, had already been given on 25 November 1839 at the Catherine Ball at the Sperl. 'There was enormous applause, on the one hand for the creator of these melodies, Liszt, on the other for Strauss, who had been able to vary them so skilfully and tastefully.'
The work remained in the Strauss orchestra repertoire and was also played by his sons.
 Philomelen-Walzer, Op. 82 (Philomel Waltz)
Dedicated with deepest respect to Her Royal Highness, the Most Serene Louise, Princess von Wasa, née Princess von Baden
Johann Strauss composed his Philomel Waltz in the summer of 1835 and it was first performed at the then much-frequented Golden Pear in the Vienna Landstrasse on 10 August by Strauss and his orchestra. Oddly enough this typical Viennese Biedermeier work did not immediately please a minority of the audience and it was not until the third, consecutive performance that the work received the usual unanimous applause of the public.
The Viennese immediately understood the title of the new waltz. The word 'Philomel' comes from Greek mythology concerning the transformation of a certain Philomela into a bird. Eventually it was agreed that the music was about a nightingale, and 'Philomel' became the poetic term for the shy songbird that could then be heard in the gardens and environs of the capital.
Bird-calls were imitated in many compositions in the heyday of Biedermeier romanticism. In the waltzes of Johann Strauss, the introduction of the flute imitates the call of the nightingale. There are several repetitions in the course of the Philomel Waltz and finally it is heard accompanied by two clarinets (cheeky sparrows, perhaps?) in the coda.
The dedication to Louise, Princess von Wasa, was no mere chance. The Princess, much loved in Viennese aristocratic society, was an excellent singer, with a clear, musical voice, who was sometimes designated the Nightingale from Baden, her home-town. (Later the opera-singer Anna Zerr, also from Baden, was given the same nickname.) For Johann Strauss Louise von Wasa was Philomel, the nightingale, and his waltz was dedicated to her.
 Gibellinen-Galopp, Op. 117 (Ghibelline Galop)
In 1840 the popularity of the dashing galop in Viennese dance-halls came to an end. In his Ghibelline Galop Johann Strauss followed the custom for the last time, transforming motifs from current stage works into dances. The tuneful opera Les Huguenots by Giacomo Meyebeer offered such motifs in abundance. Already, after the first performance of the work in Paris on 29 February 1836, Strauss had created an instantly very popular piece, a Huguenots Galop from the ballet scenes, which was published as Opus 93. (Strauss also arranged a Huguenots Cotillon, Op. 92). The performance of the opera in its original form in Vienna was initially prevented by the censor. The Josefstadt Theatre was first able to present the work to its public under another title, The Ghibellines in Pisa and in a new version of the libretto on 6 September 1839, and then at the Court Opera at the Kärntnertor on 12 December 1839 with the title The Guelphs and Ghibellines. Strauss now took the opportunity of this first performance in Vienna by composing the Ghibelline Galop, with two trios. The first trio used the Rose Chorus from the wedding procession in the same way as Jacques Offenbach would later orchestrate his Can-Can in Orpheus in the Underworld; the second was part of the Gypsy Dance in a special instrumentation. This produced an effective new work for the dance-halls. The first performance, however, at the beginning of Carnival at the Sperl was not the sensation of the evening, as the magician Theodor Döbler handed out a little bouquet of hyacinths to each of the ladies, apparently from nowhere. That was more important than the Ghibelline Galop, whose time was very soon to be at an end. The dashing galop was to be succeeded in Viennese dance repertoire by the quieter polka.
 Merkurs-Flügel. Walzer, Op. 83 (Wings of Mercury Waltz)
Johann Strauss called his waltz after Mercury, the winged messenger of the gods, the god of traders, but also of thieves. It was first performed on 30 August 1835 at the summer festival Church-day on Olympus at the Sperl. (Only meteorologists knew much about the planet Mercury.) The festival was on a scale that at the time only Johann Strauss could offer. When the guests entered the Sperl gardens, they found themselves amid the gods of antiquity: in niches and small temples sat Apollo and Athena, Zeus and Hera, while palms, lemon-trees and oleander bushes conjured up a southern landscape. As background, skilful painters had represented the open sea with islands and rocks. In the middle of the display stood a maypole, as was, and still is, usual in villages.
At ten o'clock in the evening a peasant with Mercury wings climbed to the top of the maypole, emptied there a bottle of wine, lit a firework and sailed happily back to the ground. The heavenly news was best given by the author of the then very popular Hansjörgel Letters. In his report on the festival of 30 August 1835 he wrote: 'Mercury has become a curious fellow. He has wings on his head and on his feet and let it be known that because of his speed he was postman on Olympus. Often we wish that our postmen had the wings of Mercury.'
It cannot have been easy for Johann Strauss to surpass these attractions with his new waltz. All reports on the summer festival at the Sperl, however, say that he succeeded. A solemn introduction (Maestoso) is followed by a waltz whose melodies, with their many trills, guaranteed the good humour of the listener. This section of the new work enchanted the audience with its tingling rhythms, charming contrasts and dance tunes. Some months after its Viennese première, this music delighted people in many German towns, from Munich to Wiesbaden and Frankfurt am Main, and then, before returning to Vienna on 22 December 1835, in Regensburg and Passau too. The worldwide reputation of Viennese music had begun.
 Musikalischer Telegraph (Musical Telegraph), 5. Potpourri, Op. 106
It was the ambition of every music director to demonstrate to his public both the virtuosity of his players and his knowledge of the music of the day. This was best achieved through the arrangement of a medley, so as to bring together in a single, fascinating work excerpts from serious or comic operas.
Johann Strauss did this in the medley Musical Telegraph that he presented for the first time on 1 June 1837 to a knowledgeable public in Ferdinand Donmayer's elegant casino at Hietzing. His publisher Tobias Haslinger announced the work on 6 March 1839 in the Wiener Zeitung. Subsequently Strauss always performed his medleys in his tours outside Vienna, since he was sure of their success.
In the medley Musical Telegraph Strauss starts with quotations from Rossini's Overture to The Thieving Magpie, from the ballad from Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable, the romance from Bellini's La straniera, and the Tarantella from Auber's La muette de Portici, continuing with motifs from works by Hérold, Donizetti and Mozart. These are interspersed with parts of his own compositions (the Zampa Galop, Alexandra Waltz, Elisabeth Waltz, Ball-Night Galop and the waltz My Finest Day in Baden, among others). After a bass-melody from Robert le Diable Strauss ends with a stretta from Beethoven's 1814 opera Fidelio, thus paying tribute very successfully to the greatest master of this epoch.
English version by Keith Anderson
Last Albums Viewed
STRAUSS I, J.: Edition - Vol. 9