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

Anton Bruckner - Introduction

Josef Anton Bruckner

A "poor man of god" was Anton Bruckner, who worshipped just as much as the divine and the human, whether it is found in music, in nature, or in the view of the supreme being. Meek, thoughtful, modest and incomparably sincere, he expressed his introversion and insecurity by leaning more and more into his musical writings and constantly revising his already masterful inspirations. 

If he had been bolder, more determined, perhaps he would have occupied Wagner's place in the history of music - he has been his idol since he met him - since Bruckner composed music of "Wagnerian" quality before... Wagner himself.

An amazing virtuoso in the performance of the organ, he crushed the faithful audiences both in Leeds and Vienna, as well as in Paris - in 1869 he performed at Notre Dame - and in London. If he had recorded his astonishing - according to written testimonies - improvisations on the organ, he would have submitted work for this instrument perhaps comparable to that of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Bruckner preferred, however, to serve the symphonic music wisely and devotionly, developing what Beethoven and Schubert had destroyed with their "wills". Despite their often extensive developments, his Symphonies feature marvelous combinations of intelligence, melodic ingenuity and orchestral magnificence.

(George Monemvasitis)