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

Camille Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 (The Organ Symphony)

The symphony was commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society in England to commemorate its seventy-third anniversary. It was presented in London on May 19, 1886 at St James's Hall, conducted by the composer. It is the last composition of Camille Saint-Saëns for this instrument and the most popular. The composer dedicated the work to the memory of his friend Franz Liszt, whom he admired immensely.

The Symphony is also popularly known as the Organ Symphony, even though it is not a true symphony for organ, but simply an orchestral symphony where two sections out of four use the pipe organ. The composer inscribed it as: Symphonie No. 3 "avec orgue" (with organ).


I. Adagio - Allegro moderato

The serious beginning of Adagio - Allegro moderato is slow and hesitant - but the mood is brightened as more vivid material offered by the violins and drums, means the actual start of the symphony, where wide melodies of the wind instruments emerge and sink. After the opening section is repeated and enlarged, the music becomes quieter, preparing the serene, contrastingly slow part.

II. Poco adagio

With the launch of the Poco adagio, the organ is heard for the first time, but it initially has an accompanying role. With the exception of double bass, the strings play the expressive original melody, producing a rich, pulsating sound. Later, an elaborate variation of this theme is played by the violins. Finally, the original melody is heard for the last time with the instrument and the accompaniment of the strings' pizzicato.

III. Allegro moderato - Presto

The restless mood of the opening part returns to the inventive Allegro moderato - Presto. In the presto section, turbulent string designs release the wordy plays of wind instruments. This is where the piano first appears - its upward scales contribute to a sense of haste and excitement. In Presto's iteration, a distinctly new theme emerges from brass bass and deep strings - and a sense of competition between two orchestral elements prevails. But the calm gradually returns towards the end.

IV. Maestoso

A magnificent full chord in the organ announces the mighty Maestoso. The theme played on the piano and strings, is repeated on the instrument accompanied by the orchestra. The mood is joyful and triumphant. Towards the end of it, the pace accelerates causing excitement. The short final section with the processed shapes of the scales, leads the section to a glorifying conclusion.