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 sound of the harp has an ethereal quality, which creates the mental image of a divine being playing wavy arppegios, seated in a silver cloud.

There is evidence that the harp has been known in Egypt and Mesopotamia since 3000 BC. In ancient times the harps were generally much smaller than today's. The instrument was then called "lyre". These small buckles rested on the corner of the bent arm. Today's harp is so large that it needs a track base to transport it.

The body of the modern harp is mainly made of maple and its speaker is made of pine. Some very expensive harps are covered with gold leaf and are richly decorated. The harp strings are made of intestines, while the longer strings are wrapped with very thin wire to be more durable. As with the piano, the longer a string is, the lower the note produced. In the harp, due to their apparent uniformity, the strings are painted in different colors depending on the height of the note, to facilitate the performer.

The harp was undoubtedly the most common instrument of voice accompaniment before the keyboards were deployed. The Celtic and Welsh harps have been known for their use in traditional music for centuries, while the contemporary has been a member of the symphony orchestra since the mid-19th century.

How the harp works
The harp is tuned in the key C-flat nd its pitch range extends to a width of about six octaves. The tonality is altered by a mechanism of seven pedals located at its base. At the touch of a pedal the performer can raise the strings by a halftone or a tone. Each pedal affects only one note of the scale, the entire extent of the instrument. In other words, by pressing the pedal of C-flat once, all C-flat strings are tuned C, while pressing it twice are tuned C-sharp.

When the player presses a pedal, a rubber mechanism rotates a series of discs with forks through which the string passes. The fork presses the string reducing its length and the tuning rises by a halftone. Each string goes through two discs and can therefore be raised by two halftones, one for each position of the pedal.