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

Gershwin - An American in Paris

In the 1920s Paris exerted great charm on many Americans, particularly writers, artists and musicians.

George Gershwin and his fellow songwriter Cole Porter didn't escape its charm. The latter wrote several songs praising the city, while Gershwin composed his most ambitious orchestral work for Paris - An American in Paris.

It was first presented at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1928, by the famous Walter Johannes Damrosch's direction.

Twenty years later the play inspired a great musical film, starring Gene Kelly.

A symphonic poem

This work is a "symphonic poem", which recalls images and sounds from Paris, according to Gershwin's personal experiences.

A small vivid melody played by violins, with subtle harmonies on the substrate, introduces the American visitor. The piercing sound of the old horns of the Parisian taxis intensifies the sense of the noise of the boulevards. A quiet, thoughtful section, with finer harmonies in wood instruments and strings, invokes a sense of the city, perhaps a night under the starry sky.

The music rediscovers the rhythm, before Gershwin introduces another of his delightful melodies. A polite rhythmic figure, played first by a trumpet solo, in an obvious blues style.

A new, carefree melody also played by a solo trumpet, eventually takes the music back to the lively opening theme and them to the apparent ending of the "sad note".