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

Joseph Haydn - String Quartet No. 62 in C major, Op. 76, No. 3 "Emperor"

The lyrics in "Gott, erhalte den Kaiser!" ("God save the Emperor") were written by Lorenz Leopold Haschka. 

The winter of 1797-8 Joseph Haydn composed six String Quartets and dedicated them to the Hungarian count Joseph Georg von Erdődy.
The Quartet No. 62 in C major, Op. 76, No. 3, boasts the nickname Emperor (or Kaiser), because in the second movement is a set of variations on "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser" ("God save Emperor Francis"), an anthem he wrote for Emperor Francis II, which later, is the national anthem of Austria-Hungary. This same melody is known to modern listeners for its later use in the German national anthem, the Deutschlandlied, which is used since Austria-Hungary and the Nazi era, known today as "Deutschland uber alles".


Ι. Allegro

The first part, Allegro, although it begins with a pattern of just five notes, the rest of the part is developed from this simple phrase. As in the case of the "Surprise" Symphony, the opening part is repeated and then the development of the music begins. The development contains a very characteristic section, where two violins interpret some nily, almost dance groups accompanied by viola and cello, a reminder of Haydn's love for folk songs and dances. A coda leads to a few slower, more thoughtful musical measures to follow a vivid finish.

ΙΙ. Poco adagio, cantabile

The second part, Poco adagio, is a series of four variations of the melody composed by Haydn on the lyrics of the "Imperial Hymn", written for the Austrian Emperor in 1797. This is the part where the quartet's name is due. 

Variation I is a duet for the two violins, where the one plays the melody, while the other adds decorative shapes. 

In Variation II the cello plays the melody. 

In Variation III the melody is interpreted by the viola with some accompanying harmonies towards the end. 

Variation IV adds more harmonies to the melody, slightly changing its musical character.

ΙΙΙ. Menuetto: Allegro

The third part, Menuetto, includes a small hurried band that share the first violin and cello. The melody of the central "trio" section, played by the first violin, moves very effectively between the minor and major scale.

IV. Presto

The fourth part, Presto, begins with three strong chords in a minor scale, which are succeeded by a concise theme. Once again Haydn masterfully builds on this original material. The part remains mainly in the minor scale until just before the end, when the music returns to its starting point in tonality of C Major, thus sealing the work with a brilliant and categorical note.