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

Vivaldi - “Summer” (from Four Seasons), Violin concerto in G minor, Op.8, No. 2

Poussin's painting of workers harvesting drips
Vivaldi's "Summer" is a time of drowning, tyrannical heat, with storm breaks.

I. Allegro non molto

"Under a hard season, fired up by the sun
Languishes man, languishes the flock and burns the pine
We hear the cuckoo’s voice;
then sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch are heard.
Soft breezes stir the air but threatening
the North Wind sweeps them suddenly aside.
The shepherd trembles,
fearing violent storms and his fate."

The first part, Allegro non moltosubmits a lazy mood under the scorching sun, with small phrases in the most thoughtful rolled key. This is followed by a more passionate intercalary, with birdsong stresses and more restless spots as the air rises.

II. Adagio 

"The fear of lightning and fierce thunder
Robs his tired limbs of rest
As gnats and flies buzz furiously around."

In central Adagio, the sleep of a young shepherd is upsetsed by lightning but also by swarms of wasp and flies!

III. Presto

"Alas, his fears were justified
The Heavens thunder and roar and with hail
Cut the head off the sheet and damages the grain."

The storm breaks out in the final Presto, torrential rain and hail lash the fields and bend the corn.