STRAUSS II, J.: 100 Most Famous Works, Vol. 6 (Alfred Walter/ Oliver Dohnanyi/ Polish State Philharmonic Orchestra (Katowice)/ Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/ Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra) (Naxos: 8.554522)
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Johann Strauss II(1825-1899)
100 Most Famous WorksVol. 6
Johann Strauss II, the most famous and enduringly successful nineteenthcentury light music composer, was born in Vienna on 25 October 1825. Buildingupon the firm musical foundations laid by his father, Johann Strauss I(1804-1849) and Joseph Lanner (1801-1843), the younger Johann (along with hisbrothers, Josef and Eduard) achieved so high a development of the classicalViennese waltz that it became as much a feature of the concert hall as of theballroom. For more than half a century Johann II captivated not only Vienna butalso 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 attentionto the composition 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 3June 1899.
The Marco Polo Strauss Edition, from which these recordings wereselected, is a milestone in recording history, presenting, for the first timeever, the entire orchestral output of the "Waltz King". Despite theirsupremely high standard of musical invention, the majority of the compositionshave never before been commercially recorded and have been painstakinglyassembled from archives around the world. All performances featured in thisseries are complete and, wherever possible, the works are played in theiroriginal instrumentation as conceived by the "master orchestrator"himself, Johann Strauss II.
 Die Gottin Der Vernunft (The Goddess of Reason) Overture
After the first performance at the Theater an der Wien on 6 April 1897,the overture to Die Gottin der Vernunft was only rarely heard outsidethe theatre.
By the time Johann eventually furnished the overture, the concert seasonfor Vienna's civilian and military bands had drawn to a close. For his part,Eduard Strauss conducted his last concert of the 1896/97 season with theStrauss Orchestra in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein on Sunday 28March 1897. He then gave two concerts in Graz before travelling with theorchestra to London to fulfil a three-month engagement at the ImperialInstitute in Kensington. Eduard had clearly hoped to perform the overture to DieGottin der Vernunft during his London season, for on 9 May 1897 he informedhis brother: "At your instigation Berte promised the overture in writing,but hasn't sent it!!! Dreadful!". In the event, no performance of theoverture can be traced in London during Eduard's visit. Indeed, not until 21November 1897, at Eduard's fifth Sunday concert of the 1897/98 season in theMusikverein, did the overture to Die Gottin der Vernunft appear on theprogramme of a concert by the Strauss Orchestra.
 Liebeslieder, Walzer (Love Song's, Waltz) Op. 114
It took the younger Johann Strauss around three years to establishhimself on Vienna's musical scene as a worthy successor to his father,following the latter's death in September 1849. During the 1852 Carnival he wassummoned for the first time to conduct at the Court- and Chamber-Balls, and anarticle in the Theaterzeitung, praising his talents, affirmed: "It nowturns out for certain that Strauss Father has been fully replaced by StraussSon".
Johann's Liebeslieder may be considered the first of thecomposer's 'master waltzes', demonstrating the young Waltz King'sindividuality, sometimes through daring developments in melody, harmony andrhythm. Originally announced under the title Liebesgedichte ('LovePoems'), and given its first performance by Johann in the Vienna Volksgarten on18 June 1852 under the title Liebesstandchen ('Love Serenade'), theenchanting Liebeslieder Walzer even won over the usually austere musiccritic, Eduard Hanslick. Writing in the Wiener Zeitung he observed:"Those bad-tempered, old-fashioned people, whose narrow-mindedness goes sofar as to call today's dance music contemptible, should be serenaded withashaming generosity by the 'Liebeslieder' of the young Strauss."
 Vom Donaustrande, Polka schnell
(From the Banks of the Danube, Quick polka) Op. 356
Johann Strauss chose to dub his second stage work, Der Carneval inRom [Premi?¿re: Theater an der Wien, Vienna. 1 March 1873], "my polkaopera" and from its score he crafted a total of five separate orchestralnumbers - a waltz (op. 357), a quadrille (op. 360) and three polkas (opp. 356,358 and 359). With one exception - the polka Nimm sie hin op. 358 - thetitles of these dances had no connection with the plot of the operetta butrather anticipated the Vienna World Exhibition which opened in the Prater on 1May 1873.
The polka Vom Donaustrande presents material from Acts 2 and 3 ofthe operetta, specifically; Theme 1A - Act 2 Duet (No. 9); Theme 1B - Act 3Finale (No. 16); Trio 2A - Act 2 Finale (No. 12); Trio 2B - Act 3 Ballet music(No.16 Finale).
 Cagliostro-Walzer Op.370
Cagliostro in Wien ('Cagliostroin Vienna'), the fourth of Johann Strauss's operettas, received its premi?¿re atVienna's Theater an der Wien on 27 February 1875, and was to mark the start ofthe composer's successful collaboration with Vienna's most famous team oflibrettists, F. Zell (the nom de plume of Camillo Walzel) and Richard Genee.
While the first-night reviewers identified many highlights in Strauss'sscore for Cagliostro in Wien, they were universally agreed on the sheerbeauty of the waltz duet "Konnt' ich mit Ihnen fiegen durchs Leben"
('Could I but fly with you through life'), splendidly sung in Act 2 byHenriette Wieser (as Frau Adami) and Alexander Girardi (as the servant,Blasoni). The Neues Fremden-Blatt (28.02.1875), for example, consideredthis waltz "one of the most enchanting and freshest which Johann Strausshas ever written; it provoked such all enthusiastic response that it had to besung three times". Ludwig Speidel, the reviewer for the Fremden-Blatt(3.03.1875), also noted the special quality of this waltz duet, "inwhich there breathes the dancing soul of Vienna". Speidel expanded further"When you imagine that Strauss has already played his best cards, he finallyproduces another waltz which 'out-trumps' everything". Strauss, too,recognised the worth of his creation in three-quarter-time, not only elevatingit to a principal position in his orchestral Cagliostro-Walzer, based onmelodies from the operetta, but later (1882 or 1883) jotting down its openingeight bars on a love note to Adele Strauss (nee Deutsch), the woman who was tobecome his third wife.
 Klipp klapp-Galopp, Schnell-Polka
(Click-clack, Galop, Quick polka) Op. 466
Waldmeister ('Woodruff')was Johann Strauss's penultimate original operetta, receiving its premi?¿re atthe Theater an der Wien, Vienna, on 4 December 1895. Despite its relativelybrief stage life, Waldmeister was, in many respects, the most successfulof the composer's later theatre works, and contained some delightful moments,such as a "Lawn-Tennis-Chorus" for the ladies! In his obituary noticefor Johann Strauss, written in Jun