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STRAUSS, Josef: Edition - Vol. 26

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Josef Strauss (1827-1870)

Orchestral Works Vol. 26

[1] Bachanten-Quadrille (Bacchanalian Revellers, Quadrille), Op. 8

The Bachanten-Quadrille belonged to that group of earlier compositions by Josef Strauss which C.A. Spina published in February 1856. These works date from 1853 (Opus 1) until February 1856, with the majority having been composed in the summer of 1855. In a letter to his brother Johann, Josef Strauss hinted, as early as August 1855, at the fact that publisher C. A. Spina was prepared to publish several of his compositions. This remark was inserted in a thank you note to Spina, stating that Johann would have no objections to these arrangements. (Johann Strauss had a contract with Spina’s competitor, Carl Haslinger).

The publisher Spina must have chosen wisely from the collection of novelties which Josef Strauss had accumulated thus far, and acquired the most valuable works. It is possible that the Bachanten-Quadrille was first performed in the autumn of 1855, but most probably this took place at the beginning of the Carnival season of 1856 at one of the numerous balls (perhaps at Sperl’s establishment) where Josef conducted, either alternating with his brother Johann or alone. Joyful, exuberant, ‘bacchanalian’ dance festivals were then a speciality of Sperl’s establishment in Leopoldstadt. The quadrille, which appeared in print as Opus 8, must have been very successful, because it was included in the programmes of the Strauss orchestra during subsequent years.

[2] Tarantel-Polka (Tarantela, Polka), Op. 6

During the summer of 1855, Johann Strauss again took a prolonged convalescence holiday, and entrusted his brother Josef with the sole leadership of the orchestra. It was not yet sure if Pepi would stay and support him in the waltz ‘business’ or if he would return to his usual profession of engineer and architect, but while Jean was taking a cure in Bad Gastein, the decision was made for Josef. Johann Strauss decided to give guest performances in Russia during the following summers, having accepted the offer of the railway company in St Petersburg to conduct concerts in Pavlovsk from May to September. Thus, it was clear that Pepi had to lead the Strauss orchestra alone in Vienna, as long as Jean was performing in Russia under very advantageous financial conditions. Therefore, as of the autumn of 1855, Josef Strauss was no longer the interim conductor, but a musical director on an equal footing with Johann Strauss.

Since Josef now knew what course his life would take, he began to compete as a composer also with his brother Johann, and during the summer of 1855 he wrote a whole array of dance melodies and concert pieces. On 12th August of that year he presented two novelties to the public in Franz Unger’s casino in Hietzing: the emotional polka mazurka Vergissmeinnicht, Op. 2, and the lively Tarantel-Polka. It was the second time that the name tarantella (from the Italian word for "wolf spider") had been used in Viennese music. Josef Lanner had published a Tarantel-Galopp in 1838, which soon became famous and popular as a dance piece. Now Josef Strauss, who (besides Johann Strauss) had been called a ‘second Lanner’ by several aficionados, followed suit with his equally lively Tarantel-Polka. The piano edition of the work appeared in February 1856 at Spina’s. At present, no orchestral parts are known to exist.

[3]-[4] Mille fleurs-Polka (Mille fleurs, Polka), Op. 4

During the Summer of 1855, while Johann Strauss was away on holiday in Bad Gastein in Salzburg, his brother Josef had to substitute for him as conductor of the Strauss orchestra in Vienna. Since ‘Jean’ remained in Bad Gastein until far into September, the task of composing the generally expected dedications for the traditional Hernals church festival (celebrated on 26th and 27th August 1855 in Unger’s) fell to Josef, as it had before, during the summer of 1853. Josef chose the Garden Festival with Ball on 27th August 1855 for the première of these works: the waltz Flinserln, Op. 5, and the Mille fleurs-Polka. The ball began at 6:00 p.m. It is likely that the festival experienced weather disturbances, because the Morgen-Post of 28th August reported: "The thunderstorm last night was one of the most terrible in a long time. There were hailstones the size of hazelnuts."

On 1st September, the casino-owner Franz Unger announced a celebration for the following day. The Strauss orchestra and both novelties were again featured on the concert programme. On 5th September, the Theater-Zeitung printed a general critique of Josef Strauss’s activities during the summer season. About his compositions, including the Mille fleurs-Polka, it stated that each performance "received a thunderous and enthusiastic response". Furthermore, the journalist said, "It would be desirable if these new creations by Josef Strauss, which contain a plethora of piquant and original melodies, were published".

This wish was fulfilled in February 1856, when the first nine works by Josef Strauss appeared at C.A. Spina’s. Of the Mille fleurs-Polka, however, only the piano edition remains, the title page of which depicts a thousand flowers.

[5] Die Zeisserln, Walzer (The Siskins, Waltz), Op. 114

The waltz Die Zeisserln belongs to the group of compositions which Josef Strauss wrote for the balls held in Franz Unger’s casino on the occasion of the church festivals in Hernals, as his father and his brother Johann had done before him. In 1861 the feast day fell on 26 August, and the Strauss orchestra was ready. Josef had also contributed the expected dedication, namely, Die Zeisserln. There were almost certainly no siskins in the surroundings areas of Vienna, and so the audience was delighted to hear the strains of delicate birds coming from the Strauss orchestra.

Obviously, this melodious waltz was received and greeted most enthusiastically. The ball reporters, like the audience, were convinced that they had heard an "authentically Viennese composition." Staying true to the Strauss family tradition, it complemented corresponding waltzes by Strauss Snr., while nevertheless developing melodies and harmonies along modern lines. The enthusiasm of the public was such that Die Zeisserln remained on the orchestra’s programmes during the entire Summer of 1861. The piano edition was published by Haslinger’s in time for the 1862 Carnival season. To date, the orchestral parts of the waltz have not been found. Since the metal sheet which publisher Haslinger used to produce them has been conserved, reconstructing the original version was no problem.

[6] Galoppin-Polka (schnell) (Runners, Quick Polka), Op. 237

Amongst the numerous novelties which the brothers Josef and Eduard Strauss presented to the public in their charity event held on 13th February 1868 in the Blumensäle of the Garden Society at the Viennese Ringstrasse, is the quick polka Galoppin by Josef Strauss. At a time when many were interested in the stock exchange, everybody knew what was meant by Galoppin, a designation for young lads who transmitted messages and ran errands at high speed. The faster they worked, the higher the tip with which they were compensated for their services. The telephone did not yet exist, so that for many people it was important to be informed as soon as possible about the latest developments on the stock exchange. It was not long before the time of the galoppins was over, but in 1868 they rightfully deserved a musical dedication by Josef Strauss as a phenomenon of the times. The lively polka was receiv
Item number 8223679
Barcode 730099367929
Release date 02/02/2001
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Disc: 1
Das musikalische Osterreich, Potpourri
1 Bachanten-Quadrille, Op. 8
2 Tarantel-Polka, Op. 6
3 Mille fleurs, Polka francaise, Op. 4a
4 Mille fleurs, Polka mazur, Op. 4b
5 Die Zeisserln, Walzer, Op. 114
6 Gallopin, Polka schnell, Op. 237
7 Prinz Eugen-Marsch, Op. 186
8 Sturm-Polka, Op. 75
9 Das musikalische Osterreich, Potpourri
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