Johann Strauss II Edition, Vol.50 (Christian Pollack/ Marilyn Hill Smith/ Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra) (Marco Polo: 8.223276)
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The Johann Strauss Edition
Edition : Volume 50
Johann Strauss II, the most famous and enduringly successfulof 19th-century light music composers, was born in Vienna on 25 October 1825. Building upon the firm musical foundations laid by his father, JohannStrauss I (1804-1849) and Joseph Lanner (1801-1843), the younger Johann (alongwith his brothers, Josef and Eduard) achieved so high a development of theclassical Viennese waltz that it became as much a feature of the concert hallas of the ballroom. For more than half a century Johann II captivated not only Viennabut also the whole of Europe and America with his abundantly tuneful waltzes,polkas, quadrilles and marches. The appeal of his music bridged all socialstrata, and his genius was revered by such masters as Verdi, Brahms and RichardStrauss. The thrice-married 'Waltz King' later turned his attention to thecomposition of operetta, and completed 16 stage works (among them DieFledermaus, Eine Nacht in Venedig and Der Zigeunerbaron) besidesmore than 500 orchestral compositions - including the most famous of allwaltzes, The Blue Danube (1867). Johann Strauss II died in Vienna on 3 June 1899.
The Marco Polo Strauss Edition is a milestone in recordinghistory, presenting, for the first time ever, the entire orchestral output ofthe 'Waltz King'. Despite their supremely high standard of musical invention,the majority of the compositions have never before been commercially recordedand have been painstakingly assembled from archives around the world. Allperformances featured in this series are complete and, wherever possible, theworks are played in their original instrumentation as conceived by the 'masterorchestrator' himself, Johann Strauss II.
 CSÁRDÁS AUS"DIE FLEDERMAUS"
(Csárdás from Die Fledermaus)
On Sunday 19 October 1873, the following notice appeared inthe Viennese Fremden-Blatt newspaper:
"Court Boll Music Director Johann Strauss is organisingan interesting concert on the 25th of this mouth in the [Golden] Hall ofthe Musikverein for the benefit of dependents of victims of the [cholera] epidemicin Hungary. The extensive programme will be substantiallyenriched by the participation of the Wiener Männergesang-Verein [ViennaMen's Choral Association], Fräulein Geistinger and Frau Rosa Csillig [real
name: Rosa Goldstein, 1832-92]. Under the personal direction of thecomposer Johann Strauss, the Wiener Männergesang-Verein will perform hisbrilliant waltz 'Bei und z'Haus'. Fräulein Geistinger will perform a newlycomposed csárdás by Strauss and Frau Csillig several vocal pieces. Naturallythe programme also includes the latest and most popular melodies by the WaltzKing."
Under the patronage of Countess Kathinka Andrássy (1830-96),wife of the Hungarian statesman count Gyula Andrássy (1823-90), the "ExtraordinaryVocal and Instrumental Concert" duly took place on the evening of Saturday 25 October 1873 - Strauss's 48th birthday. In place of the Strauss Orchestra,Johann conducted the German-based orchestra of Julius Langenbach (1823-86),which had been engaged to perform at the 1873 Vienna World Exhibition as theofficial 'World Exhibition Orchestra?é?í?é?ª. The printed programme listed elevenitems, including music by Weber (Overture to Oberon), Berlioz (Dansedes Sylphes from La Damnation de Faust), Verdi (Bolero from LesVêpres siciliennes) and Johann Herbeck (Mercenaries' Chorus), aswell as Strauss's own waltz Wiener Blut (op. 373, 1873) and hisevergreen collaboration with his brother Josef, the Pizzicato-Polka (o.op.,1869). The seventh item on the programme promised a complete novelty, beingannounced (in translation) as: "Csárdás for Voice (for the first lime)by Johann Strauss (Marie Geistinger)". The text for this 'vocalcsárdás' was the work of the versatile Richard Genée (1823-95), residentconductor at the Theater an der Wien, where the soprano Marie Geistinger(1836-1903) was a co-director.
The Graz-born diva's performance of 5trauss's new csardasseems to have excited no particular attention among the journalists attendingthe charity concert, for their reports merely mention the piece Five dayslater, however, the Fremdell-Blatt (30101873) carried the followingannouncement:
"Court Ball Music Director Johann Strauss iscurrently composing a new operetta for the Theater an der Wien, which is to beperformed there during the course of the month of January . Thecsárdás recently presented by Fräulein Geistinger in the Hall of theMusikverein comes from this new operetta".
As indicated by the newspaper, this 'vocal csárdás' was tofeature prominently in Act 2 of the new operetta, Die Fledermaus, sungby Marie Geistinger in the rôle of Rosalinde, disguised as an Hungariancountess. This vocally-taxing number has remained a staple of sopranorepertoire.
After the Waltz King's death in 1899 the autograph fullscore of his operetta masterpiece, Die Fledermaus, passed through manyhands - including confiscation by the Nazi authorities in March 1938 - beforeeventually being secured by the Wiener Stadt - und Landesbibliothek at auctionin Munich in May 1962. This manuscript score naturally includes Rosalinde's Csárdásfür Gesang und Orchester (Csárdás for Voice and Orchestra, Act 2, No. 10),as performed by Marie Geistinger at the charity concert in the Musikverein some19 weeks before the operetta's première at the Theater an der Wien on 5 April1874. However, in the autograph full score this vocal aria is followedimmediately by the score of a purely instrumental version of the same number,albeit differing from it in some details and entitled: Csárdás für Orchester(Csárdás for Orchestra). This was not published until 1968 when it wasincluded in the Eulenburg edition of the Die Fledermaus score, revisedby Hans Swarowsky (1899-1975).
The renowned conductor and teacher Hans Swarowsky, whonumbered Claudio Abbado and Zubin Mehta among his pupils and who collaboratedwith Clemens Krauss (1893-1954) on the libretto of Richard Strauss's opera Capriccio(1942), was also a highly-regarded musicologist. He surmised that, of thetwo versions, the purely orchestral arrangement of the csárdás should beaccorded priority. Professor Dr Fritz Racek (1911-75), State Archivist for theCity of Vienna and a leading Strauss authority, was of similar opinion. In his "Editor'sReport" for the Johann Strauss Gesamtausgabe [Johann StraussComplete Edition] - SerieII, Band 3: Die Fledermaus, publishedjointly in Vienna by Doblinger and Universal Edition in 1974, Racek noted: "Straussmay very well