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

Richard Wagner - Introduction

Rebel, pioneer, demagogue, revisionist, heretic. Anyone who, honorably or disparagingly, is offended by the German composer Richard Wagner cannot deny his genius. He proposed a different expression of opera, an expression that dominated the second half of the 19th century creating supporters and opponents, who apparently still have not solved their differences.

He called for the mix of music and drama to be in one, considering the ancient Greek reality, envisioned the whole of the musical drama going beyond the theoretical data, since it offered shaped the values for its realization. The art of opera transformed by Wagner yielded new fruits sufficiently differentiated from those folk music of bel canto. The dynamics of Wagner's opera evoke reflection rather than emotion, without, of course, aiming to detox from it.

The music of Richard Wagner, the main but not his only component of his lyrical dramas, rich in expressive power, with a strong descriptive capacity, has been completely consistent with the ideology of its creator. Its magnificence and volume are in the same way as the theme of the myths he himself elaborated. He didn't allow anyone to share the glory of his works. But he also took full responsibility for his work, even when he could not be sure of the happy ending of his musical experiments. The experiments succeeded and the music took a step forward.

(George Monemvasitis)