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

Niccolò Paganini - Introduction

A little the weak-mindedness of those who do not want to admit the exceptional, unusual abilities of others, a little his "mephistofelic" appearance, favored the development of the myth that the violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini "Faust" of music wanted. His virtuosity on the violin was truly transcendent, as no one listed collaboration with the devil.

Paganini's insurmountable technique had its morphological characteristics and exhibitionism at the time of public interpretation. Thus, the myth was well preserved. All the music centres in Europe enjoyed this theatrical artist, but he was unreal only on stage. In his daily life he was an ordinary man, a kind man, a man of virtues and weaknesses.

He not only developed the technique bequeathed to him by the virtuosos violonists of the 18th century, but he developed it unexpectedly by inventing tricks that gave him the right to be called a pioneer. The techniques of "staccato", "pizzicato", "harmonics" in the interpretation of stringed instruments with glory benefited from him, as much as from any earlier or later artist.

The awareness of the charm he exerted on his listeners and the need for the show, consumed his time in concerts and recitals. He had little time left to make use of his synthetic gifts.

There weren't many works he signed, and most of them were composed to serve his virtuosity. Thus, his compositions were probably underestimated by the musical analysts. The careful approach of his work, however, reveals a truly brilliant lyricist.

(George Monemvasitis)