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

Rimsky-Korsakov - The Flight of the Bumblebee

This short music piece of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was originally written as an add-on for the opera "The Tale of Tsar Saltan". The opera was first presented in Moscow in 1900 with a libretto based on a story by the great Russian poet Pushkin. The "Flight of the Bumblebee" accompanies a scene where the main character - a prince - transforms into a bumblebee.

The unusual nature and pure descriptive qualities of this piece, inspired other musicians to make their own adaptations, usually for solo instruments. The popularity of this piece is in contrast to the rest of the almost forgotten opera music.

A quick descending scale on the piano begins this perfect miniature portrait (in the adaptation for the piano). The opening measures o f the play serve not only as an introduction, but also set the stage - we hear the piano's attempts to mimic the buzz.

From this point, the piano paints a vivid picture of the insect that its flying reminds, as much as no other, of the days of summer.

In the orchestral version, as the play evolves, the melody emerges and sinks and returns to itself, growing in intensity as it moves to the upper limits of the string spectrum. Eventually, the melody climbs to scale, before plunging into a gentle closing pizzicato chord.