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

Grieg - Introduction

A pioneer and a master of the national music school of his native Norway, Edvard Grieg, a composer with no forerunners and no continuators, invents charming and original ways to bring about the folk music tradition and the myths of the land that saw him born, with the formed classical European harmony.

His works are full of lyricism and romantic mood. The velvety melodies born of his fertile imagination are often intertwined with the masculine, rough rhythms of the dances of the Norwegian land, causing with contrast the emergence of highly seductive sonic grids.

Although he did not test his powers in the larger, massive forms of symphony and opera, he convinced with his musical testimony that he is a great craftsman, both symphonic and vocal writing. The poetry of his musical discourse is imbued with the drips of his love for Norwegian nature and Norwegian tradition. Throughout his life he has been a loyal and devoted lover of a land - no matter how many times he abandoned it soon turned to it - and a woman whom he never abandoned.

For this woman, the soprano Nina Hagerup, the companion of his life, he also composed his wonderful songs, exuberant in their tenderness, heartbreaking in their erotic dialectic. Unknown to many, these songs by Grieg benefited with memorable performances during 1993, the year of the 150th anniversary of his birth. These songs reveal spontaneity of inspiration and immense sensitivity, characteristics that are found in all the works of the composer.

(George Monemvasitis)