Johann Strauss II - Kaiser-Walzer (Emperor Waltz), Op. 437

Strauss often played in the glittering Imperial balls, conducting the orchestra and playing the first violin at the same time.   The majestic launch of this fascinating waltz presents the backdrop of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the hegemony of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph in 1888. Johann Strauss II was Music Director of the Dance Hesperides of the Imperial Court from 1863 to 1872 and composed on occasion for the celebration of an imperial anniversary. The ingenuity of the melody of the Emperor Waltz, which was originally orchestrated for a full orchestra, is such that it was easily adapted for the four or five instruments of a chamber ensemble by the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg in 1925. This waltz is a tender and somewhat melancholic work, which at times turns its gaze nostalgically to the old Vienna. The waltz praises the majesty and dignity of the old monarch, who was fully devoted to his people. It begins with a majestic, magnificent march, which soon re

Bedřich Smetana - Introduction

One only has to watch carefully the route of the Vltava River (Moldau), as it is described thoughtfully and spontaneously with the sounds of the homonymous symphonic poem by Bedřich Smetana, in order to understand the musical philosophy of the Bohemian composer, which was also a philosophy of life.

Smetana proposes with his work a seductive model of programmatic music, a fair model of nationalist opinion and a bright model of coupling words and traditional music at the same time.

Smetana's symphonic poem Vltava is certainly the most intimate example of the composer's musical writing, but it has condensed and concentrated all the structural characteristics that are detected in his works.

The rhythmic energy that emerges from every breath of his works is assisted by music gentle, emotional, witty. Rhythm and melody, having deep roots in the tradition of bohemian land, creatively stimulate the imagination and provoke the immediate emotion of the listener.

At a time when every inch of European land is looking for its national identity, the humble servant of music Bedřich Smetana is transformed into a sound-benefactor of his homeland, and establishes one of the most important national school.

Methodical, modest but also inventive at the same time, he will rid his country's music of the shackles of of Austro-German domination and cry out the right to free national musical meditation.

(George Monemvasitis)