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


The harpsichord has been sounding for about six hundred years. It's a keyboard instrument, but its strings are stimulated in a nocturnal way and not by hammering like on the piano. The sound produced is characteristic and easily recognized.

When the harpsichord first appeared, it immediately became beloved and its reputation spread throughout Europe. With the begining of the 16th century it became extremely popular and the composers used it in almost every organic combination. It served more as an accompaniment, providing the harmonious substrate, rather than as a solo instrument.

The body of the harpsichord has the shape of a wing. For each note there are two or more strings - the performer can choose how many are used at a time, allowing the instrument to produce loud and soft sounds. Some later instruments used a mechanism to change the volume, opening and closing some grilles on the body of the instrument, allowing the sound to strengthen. Usually the harpsichords have two, sometimes three, keyboards that each produce a different toss quality.

Around the end of the 18th century, the harpsichord began to lose its popularity as the piano developed. For about a hundred years it remained forgotten. In this century, however, the harpsichord knows a kind of rebirth.

How the harpsichord works

The operation of the keyboards is mechanical. When the performer presses a key, its opposite end (inside the instrument) lifts a pen attached to a thin elongated wood or plastic, the yoke, which hits the string.

An escape mechanism allows the yoke to return to its original position without re-strikeing the string. A mechanism also adapted to the yoke, moves a pillow dressed in felt, the silencer, which touches the string, interrupts its tone and stops the sound of the note.

The pen, originally made of feather or leather, is now made of plastic.