STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 40
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The Johann Strauss (1825-1899)
Edition, Volume 40
JohannStrauss II, the most famous and enduringly successful of 19th-century lightmusic composers, was born in Vienna on 25 October 1825. Building upon the firmmusical foundations laid by his father, Johann Strauss I (1804-1849) and JosephLanner (1801-1843), the younger Johann (along with his brothers, Joseph andEduard) achieved so high a development of the classical Viennese waltz that itbecame as much a feature of the concert hall as of the ballroom. For more thanhalf a century Johann II captivated not only Vienna but also the whole ofEurope and America with his abundantly tuneful waltzes, polkas, quadrilles andmarches. The thrice-married 'Waltz King' later turned his attention to thecomposition of operetta, and completed 16 stage works besides more than 500orchestral compositions - including the most famous of all waltzes, The BlueDanube (1867). Johann Strauss II died in Vienna 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. Heimaths-Kinder. Walzer (Children of the Homeland. Waltz) op. 85
OnSunday 15 September 1850, several Viennese newspapers carried announcements ofa remarkable event taking place the following evening, 16 September, at the'Sperl' dance hall in the suburb of Leopoldstadt. Presented as a "GrandNational Music Prize Festival with Ball as a Finale to this Year's SummerSeason, under the title THE RETURN TO THE RESIDENCES!", the festivitypromised the participation of three competing groups of musicians from theAustrian crownlands: for Austria, the Strauss Orchestra under Johann Strauss;for Hungary, the band of the Prince Gustav Wasa Infantry Regiment underbandmaster Franz Haniel; and for Bohemia, the Prague Civilian Corps ofSharpshooters directed by Kapellmeister Pergler. Additional details were given,for example, by Der Wanderer: "The prize is a silver cup decorated witha laurel wreath. Herr Rabensteiner will lead the dancing. In order to avoid anyunfairness, each guest will receive upon arrival a stamped slip of paper whichhe or she will fill in with the name of the musical director and place in anurn designated for this purpose. At the appointed time, the urn will be openedand the voting slips will be counted under supervision. The result will then beformally announced". Elsewhere it was stated that half of the netproceeds from the evening's entertainment would be donated to the poor ofLeopoldstadt.
Acrowd of all ages packed out the premises of the 'Sperl' for the "GrandNational Music Prize Festival": while the Strauss Orchestra played fordancing in the upper room, Franz Haniel conducted his band in the garden andthe Sharpshooters' Corps performed in the garden salon. On 18 September 1850the Wiener Allgerneine Theaterzeitung reported on the event, andannounced the result of the competition: "Herr Strauss won the cup witha majority of over 400 votes, which is the number of dancers who could notleave their Orpheus in the lurch. We grant him the prize wholeheartedly, forindeed his waltzes, namely 'Vaterländischen' and 'Johanniskäferln', were quitedelightful; [the effect] passed to the feet and the effect of the musicon many legs is such that one believes that pine trees, rocks, soup dishes andwash boilers are flying past one". Leaving aside the question of whatstrange substances the Theaterzeitung reviewer may have inhaled, hecontinued his report: "However, if we were publicly to declareour vote, as we cast it into the urn, then the prize belongs to Kapellmeister Hanel [!], whose band ofmusicians played with a virtuosity which we have met only rarely!".
Whilstthe waltz Johannis-Käferln (Glow-worms) is easily traceable as thatfirst performed by Strauss and his orchestra at a "Grand ViennesePublic Festival" at the Casino Zogernitz on 28 July 1850 andsubsequently published as the composer's opus 82 (see Volume 21 of this CDseries), the prize-winning Vaterländische-Walzer (Those of theFatherland) poses a question. No waltz by this name appears in Johann'scatalogue of published dance pieces, and yet neither Strauss nor his publisherwould have overlooked the potential afforded by such a high-profile saleslaunch as the prize competition. In all probability, the answer lies in anadvertisement placed in the Wiener Zeitung on 6 February 1851. Under theheadline "Latest Dance Music for Pianoforte by Johann Strauss", thepublisher Pietro Mechetti announces the issue of five new dance pieces by theyoung composer. At the top of this list is a waltz entitled Heimaths-Kinder op.
85 - yet no earlier reference to a waltz by this name appears in announcementsor reports of Johann's performances. This background detail, together with thesimilarity in the ideas conveyed by the titles of the two Strauss waltzes, Vaterländische(Those of the Fatherland) and Heimaths-Kinder (Children of theHomeland), lead one to surmise that the two works are one and the same.
Mechettiissued no orchestral parts for Heimaths-Kinder and no orchestralperforming material seems to have survived. For this present recording,therefore, Professor Ludwig Babinski has arranged the waltz from the publishedpiano edition.
Hochzeits-Praeludium (Wedding Prelude) op. 469
In1896 the Berlin publishing house of Bote & Bock issued the performingmaterial for a most unusual composition by Vienna's Waltz King. Entitled simplyHochzeits-Praeludium (Wedding Prelude), the work is scored for organ(harmonium), violin and harp, and bears the inscription: "Composed byJohann Strauss and dedicated to his beloved daughter Alice". As thisfirst edition also makes clear, the Hochzeits-Praeludium was played forthe first time in the historic Deutsche Ritterordenskirche (Church of theTeutonic Order of Knights), situated in Vienna's Singerstrasse, near StStephen's Cathedral, on 27 February 1896. On this day, Alice ElisabethKatharina Maria Strauss (1875-1945), Johann Strauss's stepdaughter and the onlychild of his third wife, Adèle (1856-1930), by her earlier marriage to AntonStrauss (1845-77), married the distinguished graphic artist and painter WilhelmJosef Franz, Marquis de Bayros (1866-1924). Bayros, who had made a name forhimself with a number of risqué pictures, provided the romanticised coverdesign for the Bote & Bock printing of the Hochzeits-Praeludium (depictingthe Deutsche Ritterordenskirche and an orchestra of cherubs serenading brideand groom) and later that year also created the cover illustration for JohannStrauss's Deutschmeister Jubiläums-Marsch op. 470.
Alicehad asked her stepfather's friend, Johannes Brahms, to be her supporter inchurch, and the German composer had initially agreed: however, as he confidedto Richard Heub