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

Gioachino Rossini - Semiramide


Gioachino Rossini

This is Gioachino Rossini's most serious operatic work since William Tell. It is an opera in two acts and it was first presented at Venice's La Fenice Theatre on February 3, 1823. The libretto by Gaetano Rossi is based on Voltaire's tragedy Semiramis, which in turn was based on the legend of Semiramis of Assyria.

The originality of the Overture is that it incorporates music from the opera, which strengthens the bond between the instrumental composition of the beginning and the drama that follows. 

The Overture starts with drum rolls and the music moves from pianissimo (very quiet) to fortissimo (very loud) in less than half a minute. A brief pause leads to a quiet, flowing melody presented by horns and bassoons. The previous fortissimo returns and then repeats the melody of the horn for a second time, but now in the woodwinds accompanied by decorative pizzicatti in harmonic chords of strings.

A sudden dramatic chord interrupts and begins the main part of the introduction. After another pizzicato, the inaugural music returns, followed by a light, ethereal melody of violins, which is developed by the entire orchestra. A string pizzicatti brings a second melody, played by clarinets and bassoons. A small climax leads to a short, later segment and a repetition of the two previous themes, before moving to a final vigorous escalation.