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

Ravel - Le Tombeau de Couperin

Ravel has been an expert in combination of new and old musical forms. In "Le Tombeau de Couperin" he perfects his technique for extremely personal reasons.

Maurice Ravel drew inspiration from the music of the past and from his childhood hearings. In Le Tombeau de Couperin (The Tomb of Couperin), he uses his talent to express his personal despair at the loss of many of his close friends during the Great War of 1914-18.

The composer had personally experienced the horrors of life in the trenches and realized that war had permanently changed the face of the world. In Le Tombeau de Couperin, which he composed between 1914-17, he returns to the happy moments of a permanently lost past.

The title refers honorably to the death of the French composer François Couperin (1668-1733), although Ravel clarified that the work was more of a general expression of respect for 18th-century French music. Some parts of the six-part work - each dedicated to a friend killed in the war - are written in the characteristic, polite style of the 18th century. In the orchestral variation, Ravel introduces a musette - a variation of the 18th-century ascaulus - into the project's Menuet, to enhance plausibility.

Cover of the first printed edition 
designed by Ravel himself
Looking to the future 

Le Tombeau de Couperin is not, however, a lament for the lost past. Several of the six parts of the project are vivid and looking to the future. In particular, Prelude and Menuet bring old dance forms to life, while the third, Forlane, is serene and bold.

The play, originally written for piano, was orchestrated by Ravel in 1919. The orchestral variation reinforces the emotions of the original work, with tender and moving dialogues between strings and wooden pnests.

Ravel himself described The Tomb of Couperin as a memorial for all the French lost in the Great War.