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

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Introduction

He renounced the glory, confidence and adventure guaranteed by the career of the naval officer, Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov, and was thrown into the adventure of music without hesitation. As an amateur and self-taught musician, the aristocrat started from Tikhvin to settle down as a conscientious professional. He enjoyed every honor that any of his peers would dream of, becoming the most popular, after Tchaikovsky, composer of 19th century Russia.

A member of the famous group of "Five", Rimsky-Korsakov, after his first transcendence and the change of his professional course, had to fight with the academicism and lack of self-confidence that were alive nourished by the sense of non-existent musical education. When he overcame any inhibitions - his love for music helped him a lot - and gained the confidence of musical discourse, he was easily able to exploit his innate gifts.

A master of orchestration and an imaginative creator, he produced a rich musical work in which all the requested components of the place and the era were included.

Although he was a worthy and devoted servant of the Russian National Music School, he did not imprison his imagination in the narrow confines of the fatherland, but he complemented the color scale of the sonic traces with melodic sighs of the East ("Scheherazade") and with rhythmic rituals of the West ("Spanish Capricio").

However, he assimilated with exemplary delicacy every imported or domestic folk sound, so that every phrase of his music screams first the personality of the composer and then its national origin.

(George V. Monemvasitis)