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 - Tzigane (Gypsy)

The hungarian violonist Jelly d'Aranyi

In 1922, Maurice Ravel was deeply impressed by the hungarian violonist Jelly d'Aranyi, when he heard him play the gypsy music of his homeland. The composer's interest in this style resulted in this workd for violin and piano - and later for orchestra - which he composed in 1924. The work contains many elements of gypsy music.

A long and complex solo segment on violin, begins this wonderful and unusual concerto rhapsody. The passionate play of the soloist, immediately takes us to old Hungary. The oriental scales with the strangeness for the western ear style, which so fascinated Ravel, dominate dearly here from the beginning.

Other features are the chords of the violin and a multitude of string techniques, which make up this wonderful concerto-style work.

A long trill leads to the second half of the play. At first we hear the harp that combines fiery grabs and glisanti with the violin trills. We alos hear the exotic string techniques. At one point, the soloist plays bows and pizzicati (with his left hand) at the same time.

The second half of the play is more "amiable", as the virtuoso part of the beginning is replaced by simpler melodies for the violin and the orchestra.