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

Claude Debussy - Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

Waslav Nijinsky and Flore Revalles in Afternoon of a Faun.

When this instrumental work was first presented in 1894, it provoked strong criticism, that it has no form and does not follow any known tradition. It has a dreamy quality, where the melodies meet in a perpetual, carefree movement.

This work is Debussy's first characteristic and important orchestral work. The inspiration was a poem by his fellow poet Stèphane Mallarmè which describes the atmosphere and the setting of a mythical faun that falls asleep and dreams in a clearing of the forest, on a warm, drowning summer afternoon.

It begins with a long solo of the flute, an instrument that Claude Debussy loved because for him it subjected the distant and lost mythical world. The inaugural melody of the flute or parts of it, revert throughout the play, played alternately by strings and wood wind instruments. The volume of music fluctuates without ever disturbing the basic mood of warmth and chastity.

Also listen to the short harmonic section that gently play the horns. This kind of composing distinguished Debussy as one of the most inspiring orchestrators. He mixes the tonal qualities of the various instruments, as the painter mixes the colors in his palette.