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

Beethoven - Egmont overture

The music in the Egmont overture is full of dynamism and melancholy, foremoing the story that will follow. This scene of the storm on Karl Anton Paul Lotz's painting "Horses in a Rainstorm" (1862) reflects the feelings depicted in the work.

Beethoven responded enthusiastically to the invitation of Vienna’s Burg Theatre to write the music of Egmont, a tragedy of the great German poet Goethe. He was pleased with this assignment for two reasons. First, because he deeply respected Goethe, and then the subject of the drama was very suited to the composer. In Goethe's story, Count Egmont - a 16th century nobleman -  of the Low Countries leads a revolution against Spanish rule to be defeated by the Duke of Alba, suppressor of the revolution. Beethoven's stage music, written in 1810, consists of an introduction, entr' actes (music that connects the acts of drama) and songs.

Beethoven's musical interpretation of Goethe's tragedy begins with a series of riveting chords that pre-release the mood of the drama. The music is ominous, echoing the tyranny of the Spanish dynasties in the 16th century and the tragic revolution of Count Egmont. Excerpts from the lyrical melody of wood wind and strings appear, but relief is minimal before the explosion of return to the original chords.

A softer part with repetitive chords of strings, leads to a more agitated music. Underlying anxiety is maintained where themes are reintroduced with various transformations. The music calms down before an orchestral sound leads to a rushing finale, sweeping the previous melancholy into a clear statement that goodwill ultimately dominates evil.