The Johann Strauss Edition
JohannStrauss II, the most famous and enduringly successful of 19th-century lightmusic composers, was born in Vienna on 25 October 1825.
Building upon the firm musical foundations laid by his father, Johann Strauss I(1804-1849) and Joseph Lanner (1801-1843), the younger Johann (along with hisbrothers, Joseph 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 but also the whole of Europe and America with his abundantlytuneful waltzes, polkas, quadrilles and marches. The thrice-married 'WaltzKing' later turned his attention to the composition of operetta, and completed16 stage works besides more than 500 orchestral compositions - including themost famous of all waltzes, The Blue Danube (1867). Johann Strauss II died inVienna on 3 June 1899.
TheMarco Polo Strauss Edition is a milestone in recording history, presenting, forthe first time ever, the entire orchestral output of the 'Waltz King'. Despitetheir supremely high standard of musical invention, the majority of thecompositions have never before been commercially recorded and have beenpainstakingly assembled from archives around the world. All performancesfeatured in this series are complete and, wherever possible, the works areplayed in their original instrumentation as conceived by the masterorchestrator himself, Johann Strauss II.
Sachsen-Kürassier-Marsch(Saxony Cuirassier March) op. 113
Themost famous of the many works written by the composers of the Strauss familyfor the popular annual Name Day festivities of Saint Anna (26 July) isundoubtedly Johann II's Annen-Polka op. 117 (Volume 9 of this CD series). Thepiece was actually given its first performance on 24 July 1852, thus as aprelude to the actual red-letter day. The 26-year-old composer's musicalfecundity was such, however, that in 1852 he was also able to celebrate thetrue Name Day of St. Anna with a new composition - the jauntySachsen-Kürassier-Marsch.
Twofactors prompted the commercially-minded Strauss to compose hisSachsen-Kürassier-Marsch. One was the fact that the King of SaxonyImperial-Royal Cuirassier Regiment No. 3 was at that time quartered in thegarrison city of Vienna and their band had already played with the StraussOrchestra on a number of occasions under their bandmaster Ignaz Wanek. Theother, perhaps more marked, influence on Johann was the presence at Schönbrunn Palacein the Austrian capital of the visiting Queen Maria Anna of Saxony, the secondwife of King Friedrich August II of Saxony (1797-1854) who was the Austrianregiment's patron and honorary Colonel.
Inits edition of 25 July 1852 the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung announced thatJ. Vallentin, lessee of the gigantic Bierhalle premises situated in front ofthe Mariahilfer Linie (one of the gateways through the ancient fortificationsencircling Vienna), had organised for 26 July a "splendid festival in orderto demonstrate his respect for the many beautiful Annas which our capitalnumbers. Four large bands of musicians, lead by Strauss's orchestra, will takepart; fireworks, illuminations, ball etc. etc. will immediately submerge thevisitors in a sea of entertainment [and] behaviour will be without restraint,merry and jovial. In order to embellish the festival, Strauss has composed a'König Sachsen Kürassier-Marsch' [King of Saxony Cuirassier March], dedicatedto the worthy Imperial-Royal Officer Corps of the King of Saxony's CuirassierRegiment, which will be performed at nine o'clock by 150 musicians". Themusicians of the Strauss Orchestra and the Cuirassier Regiment were joined inthe first performance of Strauss's march by those of the Grand Duke Constantinof Russia Infantry Regiment No. 26 (bandmaster: Josef Liehmann) and anothermilitary band under bandmaster Ludwig Morelly, all performing under thedirection of Johann Strauss. The Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung reportedsignificantly on 28 July 1852: "If Strauss Father's 'Radetzky-March' werenot destined to be the first army march of the Austrian troops, the'Sachsen-Kürassier-Marsch' would certainly become so, for it brings togetherall the features of such a composition. One scarcely needs to say that Strausshad to repeat this march ... several times".
Present-daytravellers to Vienna hoping to visit the impressive Bierhalle will bedisappointed, for the building was demolished on 28 August 1882 and an officeblock now occupies the site in the capital's fifteenth district ofRudolfsheim-Fünfhaus. The Bierhalle had been built next to the Fünfhaus Breweryin 1839 and licensed to sell beer. It boasted the largest tavern garden inVienna - a claim challenged by Unger's Casino in Hernals - and the youngerStrauss's appearances there were following a musical tradition founded byJoseph Lanner (1801-43) who had been the first of Vienna's prominent musicdirectors to give concerts there and whose son, August (1834-55), had made hisdébut as composer and conductor in the Bierhalle on 19 March 1853.
Walzer (Little Bouquet. Waltz) op. 15
Inits review of a "Festival soirée" in the 'Sperl' dance hall on 5 July1845, at which the younger Johann Strauss had given the première of his waltz Jugend-Träume(op. 12), Der Wanderer (8.07.1845) made a general observation about thenewcomer's recent compositions: "Strauss [Father] and Lanner were alwaysthe heterogeneous elements of dance composition, exciting passion and fire inone, geniality, humour and tenderness in the other. Strauss Son, as the thirdin the group, here stands in the middle, reconciling and combining bothelements ... Strauss son has swiftly become a major power in the waltz".
Thepaper's judgement, which appeared less than eight months after Johann juniorhad made his landmark debut at Dommayer's Casino in Hietzing, was remarkablyperceptive, and its discernment was further borne out by the composition whichJohann unveiled in July 1845 at the first ball held in the renovated and newlydecorated 'Zum goldenen Strauss' ballroom in the buildings of the Theater inder Josefstadt. For the "Grand Opening Festival" of the room,scheduled for Tuesday 15 July but subsequently postponed until Sunday 20 July,Johann announced he would personally conduct a new waltz, especially composedfor the occasion, entitled Die Sträusschen. The title of the work manifestedStrauss's ready wit, for it referred not only to the venue, known colloquiallyas the 'Sträussl-Säle' (it comprised the large 'Zum goldenen Strauss' and twosmaller rooms), but also to the composer himself whose position in musicalVienna - where his father reigned supreme - was very much that of 'smallStrauss'!
Twodays after the "Grand Opening Festival" the reporter for Der Sammlerwrote of Die Sträusschen: "With this composition the young composer haspresented the public with a new, fragrant bouquet from his genius, and theextent to which this deserves approval was manifested by the tempestuousapplause which was not willing to end until Strauss Son had performed the waltzfi