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

Georges Bizet - L' Arlésienne (The Girl from Arles), Suite No. 2

Front of the piano transcription of Bizet's L' Arlésienne.

This second suite was created after the death of Georges Bizet by Ernest Guiraud, one of his collaborators. Guiraud used three pieces from Bizet's original, which includes the famous Farandole, but curiously added Menuet from his almost forgotten opera, "The Fair Maid of Perth". It is a wonderful work, particularly beloved by the concert audience, although it does not attribute the drama of rural life of Provence as depicted in the original.


I. Pastorale

Pastorale is scenography at its best. The thunderous rhythm of the music, submits the image of the villagers returning from the fields in the midday heat. But there is also lyricism, in the wonderful melody reminiscent of bird chirping and which is introduced just before the pastoral theme is heard again.

II. Intermezzo

In Intermezzo the main melody is rendered by saxophone and horn, accompanied by the strings. It's music is simple and emotional. In the play, this music precedes the scene where Frédéri agrees to forget Arlésienne and marry the girl who loves him long ago.

III. Minuet

Menuet is a loan from Bizet's opera 1866 opera "The Fair Maid of Perth". Full of kindness and grace it is very popular, although it seems a little out of place in the passionate context of the music that surrounds it.

IV. Farandole

The famous Farandole is based on an old melody from Provence. Here, it incorporates the theme of the March of the Kings once again of Suite No. 1 and which is later woven and combined with Farandole. This lively music, full of cheer and life, is an ideal ending to this excellent work.