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

Mozart - Horn concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major, K417

At the time when Mozart was working as an independent musician in Vienna in the early 1780s, he composed his first horn concerto. It gave this instrument an advantageous position, placing it at the heart of a complete orchestra and thereby paved the way for the projection of the horn in other concertos of various composers.

The horn has a fairly limited range, but Mozart explores its possibilities, contrasting them against the background of a full orchestra. It is well known that he had a unique way of making one melody gush through the other, with an inexhaustible imagination.

Each melody is skillfully harmonized with the character of its instrument. This is particularly evident in the two contrasting melodies in the opening part of this concerto. The melody that expresses the specific character of the horn, is placed opposite that of the strings. The opening theme of the strings is unequivocal, direct and robust. When the horn introduces its own melody, it is distinctly cuter and more thoughtful, as it entices the rest of the orchestra to follow it into darker spheres.


I. Allegro maestoso

Strings begin Allegro maestoso with a wide melody leading to a second theme. The woodwinds can be heard clearly. The horn appears with a new melody which is decorated by the strings in the background. Here's another horn melody - this time the violins and the horn play it together. The result is the production of a rather unusual tone. The reassuring entrance of the entire orchestra leads to three long notes of the horn, which bring the music back to the opening themes.

II. Andante

A slow orchestral introduction starts Andante leading to the inaugural solo. Here the horn is in its most lyrical mood. The music is expressive, without ever exceeding the gentle tone, while the simple alternation of the two themes gives beauty to the piece.

III. Rondo

Rondo highlights a returning theme that is inters with other themes and interludies. The rhythm is bright and rocking. The orchestra repeats the melody of the opening horn, followed immediately by a second melody. The idea expands, the music stops and the first theme is played again. Repeated notes of the horn lead the orchestra to a darker place, but not for long. The music returns to the opening tune, while another interlude leads to a rather strange variation of the same melody. The melody hesitates and stops twice, but eventually the music accelerates and the inaugural melody is heard one last time.